Saturday, February 15, 2014

Globalization: A threat to Indian culture?

Globalization, as talked about today is essentially an economic phenomenon with an impact on all human institutions. It has transformed the world dramatically from a multitude of loosely connected nations to a globally knit community, linked together by rapid means of transportation and instantaneous media of communication. It is a process of unification, unity and uniformity. Globalization is threatening to destroy diversity but seeks to establish more firmly, differences in privileges based upon economic factors. Globalization is neo-colonialism, the expansion and enthronement of Western culture throughout the world.
 
There is a great fear of Indian civilization , which since ancient times has been  a melting-pot of races and cultures, will get redefined in terms of 'consumer culture', 'mediaized culture' and  'global culture'. Such fears are warranted as over the years economic liberalization has resulted in only some sections of society flourishing, make profits, and the rest finding  themselves helpless and unemployed. Citizens all over the world worry about the loss of control over their own collective destiny that globalization seems to entail.
 
What price do we pay for globalization? Young people, mesmerized by popular television programs like "Baywatch" or "The Bold and the Beautiful," have taken to emulating program characters. Indian teens are also increasingly obsessed with going to the gym or jogging in name brand sneakers -- Reeboks or Nikes -- like their American peers. America's influence has turned Indian values on sex and marriage upside down. Credit fever has infected Indians.
  
The goals of Indian economy have evolved from failed concepts of Socialist rhetoric, mixed economy and self reliance to a new catchword ie. ‘Globalization’. This has lead us
to being a part of the World Trade Organization which on one hand talks of free trade and on the other imposes anti dumping tariffs. Or simply speaking , globalization has produced greed among the developed nations to exploit the economies of the under developed Countries by removing their  protective barriers.
 
With the inherent India fascination for foreign goods , opening our markets to multinationals will result in indigenous manufacturers  losing out   simply because they cannot withstand the onslaught of the big, foreign companies as far as the quality of the products and financial muscle are concerned. Globalization will give the Indian consumer freedom of choice but is such `luxury' of choice feasible, given the intense poverty which still stalks rural India.
 
Today, even globalization’s advocates accept that its benefits are not unalloyed. Yes, foreign investment has increased sevenfold since 1999, but nearly 70 per cent of it is going from one rich country to another, with another 20 per cent going to just eight developing countries. The economic paradise promised by unlimited, uninhibited and inescapable global free trade has proved illusory.
 

The anti-globalization protests need to be taken seriously. Rather than demonizing them, the issues raised by them must be addressed. Globalization is inherently not bad. But its benefits are unevenly shared and its costs unfairly distributed. What India needs is compassionate globalization based on the principle of justice and equity and not serfdom. The developing world is not looking for charity, but equal opportunity. The challenge of modernity is learning to live with globalization without losing one’s sense of identity.

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