Topic 1- Globalization
Growing up in twentieth century, the subject of globalization has drawn numerous supporters and opponents alike. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the core pillars of globalization are movements in trade, capital investments flow, human resources and information knowledge transferred across geographic boundaries. (IMF, 2000) While some view this process as beneficial and needful, others regard it with hostility and even fear.
In Ladakh, “Little Tibet”
Observing first-hand the effects of globalization on local communities is Helena Norberg, founder of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC). Under the leadership of the Indian government, Ladakh was propelled into the global arena in 1975- as the world raced for rapid economic growth and development.
Over the next 2 decades, Little Tibet saw economic success like never before. Highlighting this achievement is the tourism industry which contributed up to 50% of the nation’s Gross National Product (GNP) due to the steady influx of foreign tourists- from a mere few hundred to an estimated of 15,000 annually. (Alex G., 2008) As such, globalization brought about an increase in wealth for the Ladakhis community as a whole.
On the hind side, Helena and many others witness the pernicious repercussions of this phenomenon. In particular, “globalization created a sense of inadequacy and inferiority primarily amongst youth” as they compared their simple agriculture-centred way of life against the affluent, pleasure seeking lifestyle of urban tourists. (Helena N., 2010).
Caving into the psychological pressures, the Ladakhis readily despise their traditional values and norms and are quick to embrace whatever is seen as modern. Case in point, Prem Singh Jina, author of Ladakh Tradition and Culture, reveal increasing numbers of youths exchanging the traditional Kos and Intenbu for the Leather jacket, T-shirt and Tight Jeans, reflecting the rapid homogenization of the western culture. (Jina)
Living closely together with the Ladakhis, it is no wonder why Helena was against globalization as she saw how it brought about amongst the new generation a spirit of discontentment and incompetency, consuming the smiles and laughter of this once simple community as they strive to attain the urban reflection- in terms of quality of life, dressing, material goods, monetary income, education, and etc.
4600 Kilometres away in Singapore, as a youth myself, I attest to the superiority effect of the western culture and lifestyle stifling domestic cultures.
Globalization at its Best and Worst
Nonetheless, the psychological stress caused pales in comparison to the environmental woes; which in my opinion is the worst repercussion of globalisation.
A classic example would be the extreme levels of environment degradation caused by nefarious corporations operating in China [especially Beijing]. Quoting Linda Greer, a health director at Natural Resource Defence Council...