Thursday, June 16, 2011

Traditionally Livelihoods Threatened by Globalization

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With the process of globalization today, the world is becoming more and more of a global marketplace. With the technological advances in transportation, resulting in possibility of traveling anywhere in the world in a matter of hours, and communication, people can instantly communicate all over the world through telecommunications and the internet. All of this results in constant expansion in every possible direction. Companies are expanding to opposite ends of the globe and individuals are traveling further and more often. In return, this causes intermingling of cultures, many times resulting in much animosity on the part of the natives.

This is not done only by big corporations, whom build huge factories in small villages, that are poverty stricken areas of the world. This is also done in subtle ways where the people may not notice that there is a problem at first. At first it may seem as a blessing, but only after the problem has been brewing for several weeks, months, or years, is when people start to notice it. These problems may cause tensions among the members of a community or between the two different groups of people. Many times when it involves a big corporation invading small communities with its big factories, it completely alters the natives’ way of life. The encroachment on one culture over the other isn’t always as direct. The globalization of the world also encourages drug trafficking and other illegal activities. This results in small, third world country communities changing their means of support to supply the demand of the of the modernized world.

The tribe in Africa that the class watched the film about, was a group of hunters and gatherers for hundreds of years. This group of people managed to survive for hundreds of years using only their own system of living. This group had no idea of the notion of money. There was no sense of individuality. The community worked and lived together as a whole; whatever one person had, they shared with the rest of the community. When a child was raised, it was raised by everybody. This is how they lived and were able to survive for hundreds of years, even with the land on which they lived was being dramatically reduced in size by the world. Nevertheless, with no other choice, the tribe gradually started adapting to the world around them.

As time progressed, a change in their way of life was noticeable. It is noticed that individuals started wearing button-down shirts and slacks as opposed to the pieces of cloth they used to wrap themselves in. This didn’t particularly cause a problem, but the simple horse did. In the beginning, the hunters of the group would set out on foot for days at a time to hunt down one giraffe. It was difficult and tiresome work. On occasions it would take days at a time just to track down a single giraffe. When they were introduced to the horse, it made hunting much easier than it was before. Hunting down a giraffe would take a much shorter period of time and would require fewer hunters to go out at one time, making life easier for them. The down side to this was that they were hunting so many giraffes now that it was a possibility that they were going to starve since all the giraffes in the area were being killed.

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As the world evolved, so did the tribe. Members of the group had to go out and find jobs to make money, so they could buy some of the essentials that they need, such as clothing. This caused tensions within the group. When the one girl was discovered by some photographers, she was considered to be very pretty. What started off as a few photographers coming to shoot a few pictures of this pretty woman, became a way of earning a living for this woman as more and more photographers came to take pictures of her. This caused a tremendous amount of controversy in the group, as the woman was being accused of being selfish, a great insult in this holistic community. She was accused of hiding food, clothing and, blankets from others when they are cold and hungry. As a result of this animosity towards her, it even went as far as accusing her daughter a “whore,” resulting in the possibility of not having the opportunity to get married.

A direct result of the expansion of multinational companies all over the globe in search of cheaper labor, is industrialization. These companies most often move to areas where farming is most of the peoples’ livelihood, as was in Taiwan. With the introduction of more and more companies into an agricultural state, their whole economy has changed. In a country such a Taiwan, the people’s livelihood mainly relied on agriculture and their own system of exchange. Individuals did not rely on money as a source of exchange. Barter was most often the method of exchange, where one farmer would ask a neighbor for services to help with something around the house. In exchange, the farmer may give the neighbor goods, such as livestock or other material possessions, or services.

Working in the fields was considered strenuous and unappealing by many. Working in factories became appealing compared to working in the fields. It was a chance to get away from home and find better work. More and more individuals moved on to work in the factories even though the conditions were not much better than they were before. Many were forced to work long hours with low pay and involved many physical dangers as well, such as deterioration of eyesight and exposure to toxic chemicals. With more and more individuals leaving the countryside to go work in factories, the system of cash exchange became the preferred method of exchange. With farmers not being able to survive with the new economy that was being instituted, they were forced to sell their farms and work in factories as well. With the steady flow of the young from rural areas, factories have an endless supply of cheap labor. With the labor being difficult and low paying, many strive to advance their wealth.

Nowadays, many Taiwanese have aspirations to move on and to own their own small business to gain some wealth. They may buy a truck to start a transport business, or own a small restaurant in hopes of becoming wealthy. The difficulties of the working class in Taiwan encourage hard work and growth.

The members of these industrialized states, not as much so the mighty executives and CEOs, have the ability to change the way of life for an individual on the other side of the globe. Every economy operates on the basis of supply and demand. When the demand for a product is high, there will always be individuals to supply that demand. This is where drug trafficking and other illegal activities begin. The high demand for cocaine in the United States pushes farmers in Bolivia to start farming coca, the plant used to make cocaine.

This has become one of the few exports that Bolivia has to offer, causing farmers to grow coca instead of papayas . Although, not everyone is able to farm coca. This causes much poverty in Bolivia and their crumbling economy. The farmers of these plants are not that well off either, they make just barely enough to get by. The ones who profit off of this are the organizations that smuggle the cocaine out off the country and into the United States. All the money made in this process is made outside of Bolivia. There is no internal market in Bolivia, every ounce of cocaine that is produced is shipped out, and the farmer makes an incredibly small portion of what it is worth on the streets in the U.S. Of a shipment that would make five to seven million dollars on the streets in the U.S., the farmer would only get about five hundred dollars.

If a farmer wanted something more respectable than growing coca, he could turn to logging. There is a demand for fine hardwood, such as mahogany, in the world today. It is legal to log these trees but only in the area that you are allowed to. Many farmers and companies go out of the designated area to log the expensive trees and leaving the cheaper ones. Many times companies will buy this expensive timber from small farmers saying they got it from their own forest ranges. All of this logging is damaging the ecosystem, but the laws and policies are not capable of being enforced. The logging industry is driven just as is the drug trafficking industry. The only way to stop these illegal activities from occurring would be to suppress the demand for these goods. Yet the demand for these goods in the world today will continue to encourage these activities.

With the encroachment of the industrializing world into the third world, people are forced to adapt to the changes that are taking place around them. In most cases this forces natives the find new means of survival. Many times this invasion is not welcomed, but it is necessary to modernize the world into a global marketplace. It is how well the peoples of a nation are able to adapt that determines how prosperous that nation and its people will be in the global marketplace.

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