Thursday, January 17, 2008

Living in a Global Village

Globalization was the topic for this week’s Awareness Course. Our fast developing communications technology means that it feels like the world is getting smaller. Increasingly your location on the globe becomes irrelevant as you can talk to anyone anywhere and have products transported from anywhere to your doorstep. Time doesn’t matter that much either out of season as fruit and vegetables are increasingly available. This has produced improvements in the quality of people’s lives especially in the West but at what cost?

Some of the effects that we discussed included how graduates in developing countries are likely to end up with careers in call centres, and how the vast majority of say our toys and shoes are made in China because labour is cheap there. But with raising fuel costs and increasing awareness of these conditions for how long can this keep prices down. Might the decline of farming and manufacturing in the West mean that we may not be in any position to compete?

The course argues that developing worlds perceive the influx of media technology (e.g. flat screen TVs, mobile phones, internet connections etc.) as a deliberate attempt by the West – especially by America – of exporting their culture. They see this as today’s imperialism or colonialism. New technology is resulting in a decline in respect for elders whose wisdom is becoming seen as dated. In a similar way they ask ‘Why should thousand year old civilizations be told what to do by a nation that is only a couple of hundred years old?’

On the other hand Westerners may feel invaded by the waves of immigration that have occurred in recent years. Whereas ethnic minorities to some extent may have retreated into ghettos we should remember that the Bible encourages us to be hospitable to aliens. We discussed how the Bible seems to affirm the idea of nations although it comes second to our citizenship of God’s kingdom and certainly should not be expressed at the expense of others. One interesting comment was that the sort of political correctness in local government that aimed to impose these minority cultures on the masses probably peaked about five years ago.

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