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The Greatest Flaw of Globalisation

Posted by on April 30, 2008

One of things that I’ve noticed a lot when travelling the world is how cultural globalisation has affected each country. I imagine that one of the most fascinating aspects of travelling the world in the past would have been the ability to really catch not just a glimpse but an experience of each locality’s culture. The biggest problem I’ve seen with globalisation is the sense of sameness all over the world. Apart from at traditional events (for example, weddings), national dress seems to be a thing of the past in a good portion of the world. Fashion seems to be accepted across the globe. Culture and traditions seem to have become a giant mesh. Cuisine is quite possibly the least affected cultural aspect in the globalisation bid, though it has taken a rather opposite path as everything else in that cuisine has spread all over the world through restaurants.

The emphasis of the world today seems to be about creating sameness, rather than appreciating the value of different cultures and societies. While we in the Western World tend to put a lot of focus on democracy (even in countries with monarchies), who are we to judge what works for someone else? Even in Australia where our culture might be seen as largely derived from Britain, we used to have more of our own identity before globalisation sucked it up and we decided we needed to be able to produce things for the global market, rather than sticking to targeting our own people and interests. I notice this most in the film industry, but of course the industry in Australia is not so much to blame as globalisation itself, for encouraging the population to see the big Hollywood films over films they can relate to.

However, despite this, I am less concerned about the changes globalisation has made to Australian culture, where at least the majority of our fashion and cuisine, amongst other cultural aspects, has been modelled after Britain, and far more concerned with the likes of European, Asian and South American countries. Admittedly as an English speaker, it makes travelling to distant lands far easier to understand, what with English being the most widely used second language in the world, but sometimes part of the fun of travelling to another country is not being able to understand. Is the next victim of globalisation liable to be language? I mean, how many languages in the world have we already lost due to other more domineering languages?

For once I’d like to travel to another country and actually feel like I’ve left the one I started in. I don’t want to just see small differences in the culture, such as perhaps occasional different architecture or restaurants or signs in other languages. I want to see different fashion, go to an artistic performance such as a play and not understand the performance, see differing architectural styles everywhere I look, and really need to learn the language spoken by the country I’m travelling to in order to understand it. And I want it all to be genuine, not just a tourist trap.

But then again, maybe I’m not travelling to the right countries, or the right cities of those countries, or the right towns.

Please, though, people of the world – and especially America – I plead with you. Let us appreciate the artistic talents of the world, rather than dumbing everything down because you don’t think the people in your country will understand them. Stop remaking television shows from other countries in a way that you think your country will understand it better. Maybe they would be better off learning and appreciating the humour from those countries instead. Look how widely popular Monty Python was – and still is. Doesn’t that tell you that Americans can appreciate British humour without having to remake The Office (as an example)?

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Dominica has a strong interest in exploring diversity in media, seeing people subverting corporate control of creativity through crowdfunding and indie publishing, and spending as much time as she can travelling the world and discovering culture. This is what she most regularly blogs about. In her spare time, Dominica is primarily focused on long-form improv theatre, and writing and publishing speculative fiction. You can find links to some of her free and published stories and screenplays on her writing page, or check out her pirate time-travel novel Adrift. Though born and raised in Australia to American parents, Dominica lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2008-2014, until she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She also has a background in web programming, filmmaking, and stand-up comedy. For more information, check out her about page, or any of the specific pages about her various creative pursuits in the links at the top of the page.

One Response to The Greatest Flaw of Globalisation

  1. Mr Bean

    Hey Dom,

    I skim-read your article and I will read it properly later and leave a decent comment, but I just wanted to know if you’ve read this article before:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199203/barber

    It’s pretty good, especially considering it was written way back in 1992 🙂

    Chris

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