One of the biggest effects of globalisation is that it has led to a loss of local cultures and traditions in a considerable number of countries across the world. A consequence has been that it has encouraged the spread of foreign culture, which is facilitated by advancements in transportation as well as technology. The latter have made it possible for people across the world to interact in such a way that there is not only cultural exchange, but also cultural influence. The loss of culture that has come about as a result has taken place at an unprecedented rate, with members of the younger generation seeking to adopt foreign cultures that they believe are better than their own. This paper argues that because globalisation has brought about the spread of the dominant western culture across the world, it has led to a situation where it is a danger to local cultures.
One of the biggest effects of globalisation is that it has led to brands such as McDonald’s and Starbucks having a dominant position in the consumer market. A result has been that these corporations have ended up presiding over the standardisation of products in the market to such an extent that products sold in one part of the world are much the same as others. It has also led to a considerable reduction in cultural diversity to such an extent that a culture riding on the back of multinational corporations have been taking an active part in the erosion of local cultures (Tomlinson, 2003). Thus, culinary culture, for example, has been negatively affected because in situations where there are restaurants that serve local foods, they tend to eventually have to shut down because of the advent of multinational fast food chains that make their way into the domestic market. Countries across the world are increasingly becoming essentially the same when it comes to dress, food, and likes; a sign that globalisation has eroded cultural values that ensured diversity (Kipnis, Broderick, & Demangeot, 2014). In addition, globalisation, which has been promoted by big brands, has ensured that there is the adoption of the western culture in place of local ones. These cultures are increasingly being discarded, especially by individuals of the younger generation because of the belief that they are not compatible with the modern, globalised way of life. The rapid change that is taking place to local cultures has ensured that they have essentially become diluted; leading to the loss of what made them unique.
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The commercialisation of culture has also had a disturbing effect on the lives of people. Those aspects of local culture that were considered unique and were an integral part of the way that individuals identified themselves has become commercialised because of globalisation. These cultural practices, rather than remaining unique and being made to suit the way of life of the people that they represent, have suddenly become integrated into the global economy; essentially leading to the loss of meaning (O’Connor, 2002). Through the advancement of global commercial interests, people across the world are increasingly being bombarded with new images, new values, and new music, among others, in a bid to sell these products. Advertising campaigns have ensured that these products come to be perceived as cool, and have caused the loss of culture because individuals have tended to adopt these foreign elements while at the same time discarding their own cultural values (Sinclair, 2015). Therefore, while changes have often taken place in local cultures over the centuries, the advent of globalisation has caused serious concern that local cultures might end up dying out because they are not considered to be of value to the global market. Members of a lot of local cultures in the world are increasingly at a loss concerning how they can be able to cope in a globalised world, because many of them do not have the values that are capable of coping with it. In the end, it is likely that local cultures will die out because they do not have the same capacity to influence others as western culture.
An aspect of globalised culture is that it encourages a situation where the ideal of one size fits all becomes the norm. It is a culture that idealises the middle-class family based on the American model and it does so in an attempt to ensure that consumerism is adopted across the world. A consequence is that the world has seen an unprecedented level of cultural homogenisation, where individuals seek to ensure that they achieve the same lifestyle as the characters of their favourite soap operas or television programmes (Kearney, 1995). There is a failure to consider that such lifestyles are unrealistic and that to achieve them, it is essential to have a high level of education as well as economic opportunities to make it possible. The dream of having a better life, especially in the developing world, has led to many individuals moving from rural to urban areas. The vision of the urban area is one that is associated with success and many individuals feel that merely living in the city will provide them with the means to ensure that they improve their lives (Lin, 2014). However, this turns out not to be the case because in addition to abandoning their own cultural practices when they move to the cities, individuals from poor countries across the world find out that urban life is not what they anticipated. They are forced to live in overcrowded conditions and a majority end up living in slums, where they encounter poverty, misery, and pollution, which further erodes their cultures.
The cultural uniqueness, which was an important aspect in the lives of individuals and made them special, is being eroded by globalisation. A consequence is that there has been a considerable loss of identity for many individuals in the world, especially those living in situations where their cultures are not considered relevant (Ang, Chiok, & Low, 2015). Many people, because of globalisation, have been forced to move away from their native lands in order to seek better employment opportunities. Most of these attempts have involved having to live away from their home countries, where they have become victims of cultural alienation. Since the western world is a favoured destination for economic immigrants, it has become essential for them to adopt western culture in order to fit in. A result has been that they have ended up having to abandon their own cultures and this to an extent where they do not transmit them to the next generation (Evans, 2013). Therefore, even though in most instances, individuals still consider themselves to be a part of their respective local cultures, these cultures have been so eroded by globalisation that they have ended up not being able to fulfil the needs that their adherents had for them. Instead, cultural alienation has become the norm in the globalised world, with many individuals seeking to adopt the globalised western culture in order to attain the economic opportunities that it brings with it. Holding on to one’s culture has become a disadvantage rather than a matter of pride in a world that is ever becoming integrated culturally.
Globalisation has had a corrosive impact on the way that people see their values. It has led to a situation where there have been considerable changes in the way that they look upon their cultures, values, as well as their wants. Spiritual values and faith traditions have either been radically attacked or changed in a bid to suit the globalised culture; leading to a situation where there has been a considerable loss of the values that are meant to ensure that cultures remain strong (Pieterse, 1994). Cultural identity has essentially become meaningless to such an extent that it has only come to have symbolic value rather than being a tangible set of values that bind people together (Hall, 1997). The adoption of the globalised culture has created considerable problems when it comes social solidarity, because the ties that bound nations, society, and families have increasingly become frayed, especially considering that the globalised culture encourages considerable individualism. The individualistic way of life fails to consider that individuals need one another in order to become whole, and that local cultural values are essential in the establishment of a basis upon which society is founded. The consumer culture that has come with globalisation has led to instances where individuals end up seeking to enhance their lifestyles, all at the expense of communal solidarity that is an essential aspect of local cultures.
In conclusion, globalisation is a danger to local cultures because it erodes the cultural practices that have been a way of life for centuries. It encourages a consumer culture that is devoid of any emotional attachment between individuals within a community; instead seeking to ensure that there is the advancement of a level of sameness across the world that disregards the value of uniqueness. Local cultures often have a hard time competing against the globalised culture because they do not have the competitive values that could enable them to do so. A consequence is that local cultures are increasingly being killed off by the advent of globalisation.
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