By: Alex Graham
The most interesting thing about the world today is the simple fact that it seems to be getting smaller and smaller every day. People from far flung and remote locations are becoming more and more connected and plugged in, while those of us who were already starting the process of incorporation in the world identity feel like the differences between all of us lessen every day. Food companies use ingredients literally from all over the globe, and they sell their products everywhere that has people.
Music, television, food, clothing, all of these things are starting to become such ubiquitous products that a person from the United Arab Emirates is literally indistinguishable from a person from Long Island, New York. What does this mean not only for our culture, but also for our world? Globalization is a popular topic for discussion among academics and students alike, but what will the world look like when this is all over?
First off, it must be remembered that we are already about four decades into the process. This seems silly to say, since the internet and most international corporations didn’t really start taking off globally until the nineties. This is partially true, but products and culture have been crossing borders since the invention of the telegraph. Television and movie studios have been broadcasting for generations now, and to ignore the cumulative effects of these early pangs of globalization is naïve at best.
We have gone through in the last two decades one of the most dramatic periods of change in human history. Information is now widely, democratically available through a variety of fast, cheap and instantaneous means. Products circle the globe daily, alleviating poverty and hunger thousands of miles from their point of origin. People are being remotely subjugated and sold to, killed and videotaped, in a way unimaginable just a few years ago.
Can the global consciousness catch up to this? Can it pertcieve these changes? Consider this; twenty years ago, no state in the Union allowed same sex marriage. Now, only 41 actually bar the process. And the United States is one of the last “Western” nations to prohibit this practice. Twenty years ago, computers were glorified calculators, basically only good for mathematical or rudimentary functions. Now, computers do all of that, as well as surf and interconnected system of information, watch videos, listen to music, and make phone calls. We call these computers “smart phones,” and the desktop computer we found ourselves so familiar with might not even exist within the next fifteen years.
We as a people, and as a species have shown an incredible ability to adapt to really any situation that has presented itself. This massive connection between all of us, the massive exploitation of indigenous populaces for natural resources notwithstanding, will lead to new and interesting places for us all. Will we like where we end up? Only if we pay attention.