Living in Jordan, it seems as though many of the common people see globalization as a conspiracy against Arabs and culture; and how the “West” is trying to take over. Although I am a proud Arab myself, I do not see such a phenomenon as a conspiracy, nor a godsent miracle sent to save us from extremism, but rather a tool; a global-scale phenomenon at one’s disposal.
For those not keeping up with every news update, globalization would be a shock, since people usually – and naturally – fear that which they do not understand. In this time, even those not following up know about the existing technologies that have already led to globalization. However, new communication media, which were made possible through the internet, are still unattainable for many of Jordan’s people; thus, many still do not quite grasp the reality of globalization. That misunderstanding of the subject at hand could indeed turn that lack of knowledge into a passed-on reputation of a brainwashing tool and “Western Media”. Just like we have rumors about where the 7th circle’s sculpture goes, and not enough people read reliable news, but would rather listen to what others tell them is going on; because we trust that person to tell us the truth, even if they happened to have no credibility nor source to go by. Mind you, this includes people whose “source” is one of those news outlets that only copy news from somewhere else; not questioning what they’re publishing, and not realizing what they’re saying, nor its impact.
Is journalism dying? Aye, it is. But I digress…
Proof of this bad image of globalization is the fact that so many adults tell their children and others’ to not “copy the western style”. I personally experienced many of those comments due to having long hair, and I was asked why the youth imitates the west, this of course followed by “are you Jordanian?”. Such situations show the image in many people’s mind: globalization is corrupting our youth. This is now much less of a deal than a few years ago, the comments that you get for having long hair as a dude have become nothing but stares and smirks. But the truth is, while some people may take the negative from globalization, it actually comes down to people’s deeper, more personal traits that could affect the way an individual’s thoughts/actions. Yes, they can be impacted by the things they see on TV (especially if the parents are not even bothered to spend time with their kids), but the extent of negativity is based on education, and the level of respect and value a person has for the traditions that are (in this case) being tossed aside. If this “youth” understood why the traditions were so important, and why they are even done, they would think twice before ditching it and copying the “west”.
Then again, when this tool is understood by people, it is an asset; businesses utilize globalization quite often. Logically speaking, what better marketing tool is there than a cheap, popular, and easy method which pretty much has the ability to cover a vast area and provide a gargantuan scale of exposure? It isn’t as personal as having a direct relation to the business and some of its workers, but this also has been addressed by some companies. Mainly by them consistently appearing on the news feed of some pages by uploading pictures that make their “followers” respond to their presence. This increases exposure to the company, and increases people’s familiarity with what they do. That more secure feeling you get when you deal with someone you know is what companies go for when they get exposure and likes. This, however, could be seen as a negative or positive thing, depends on what side you’re on really. If you own a business and this helps you, this is great. But some people would go to say that this is pathetic and is just bum-kissing people so you can bring yourself more money.
Globalization ha even affected the ease of which someone can share their own ideas and see others’ (hello, blog). It has even led to the birth of the Jordanian website 7iber.org, which pretty much gives an opportunity for anyone with an internet connection to discuss anything entertaining, political, miserable, or controversial with the choice of remaining anonymous to allow for a less pressuring atmosphere of expression.
Another idea that shows the the versatile use of globalization is exploration. While we, in Jordan, do indeed have censorship and social barriers that (for some) could hinder creativity and maybe communication, the internet allows a self-paced gain of information which lets people widen their horizon. A big example of this would be the music that used to be “banned” from being sold in Jordan.
All that being said, globalization, in my humble opinion, rids the world of localization to an extent. If you knew how someone dealt with something, the knowledge could very much lead your creativity into a comfort zone or a single path that would forever be your origin of thinking when tackling a subject; pretty much discontinuing the mind’s ability to wonder along on its own trying to reinvent the wheel into a new more local method. In housing, for example, concrete is the norm, despite the fact that tents are way more sustainable for a desert climate, even mud & stone houses are better at insulating and working with our climate, but we automatically start designing a house by thinking of what this structure would be, and how it would be massed according to the concrete’s ability. Give a child a piece of paper, and tell them to draw a house, and they will create something completely different than what we are used to. Granted it would be a huge discomfort without the technical knowledge, but the fact that we become so comfortable in knowing, discontinues creativity, unlike the child who explores creativity, and then lets his parents dumb the design down to a workable form.
Can you blame people for being against western culture? Not really, because it is not ours. But the same exact people who are against it, would probably be huge fans of Autostrad and Jadal; despite the fact that they are “western” (e.g. rock), they are localized to fit our culture. The same should be done to everything else. We must stop following, and start adapting and thinking.
Why do I feel like I ranted about this before? Oh, well… I think that made sense.