The Two Faces of Globalization

Topics: Globalization, Arundhati Roy, First World Pages: 21 (8087 words) Published: August 22, 2013
Table of Contents:

Abstract ………………………………………………………………………………………..... 2 Introduction: The Two Faces of Globalization ...…………………………………………….. 2 Destruction of Local Economies, Corporate Takeover of People’s Land and Resources, Ecological Degradation and Limited Wars ...………………………………………………… 4 Divide and Rule and the Role of the Left ……………………………………………………... 7 Commodification of Art, Culture and Education ...………………………………………… 12 Conclusion: Art as a Form of Resistance and Creative Maladjustment ..………………… 15 Literature ……………………………………………………………………………………… 17

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to emphasize the importance of the role of contemporary literature in understanding the neocolonialist and imperialist aspects of globalization by exploring the depiction of globalization in Arundhati Roy’s novel “The God of Small Things” and Steve Tesich’s play “On the Open Road.” Although both of these works criticize corporate globalization as a profit-driven enterprise controlled by and catering to the interests of economic, political and intellectual elites, they also express hope in the possibility of a different kind of globalization, which would be based on a genuine struggle for equality and justice for everyone.

Introduction: The Two Faces of Globalization

Is globalization a process which enables greater freedoms in the movement of money, knowledge and people across state borders and is thus beneficial for people across the globe, or is it a process which enables Western powers to exploit other parts of the world in a relatively new way and is thus merely the latest stage of Western imperialism? This question lies at the core of the ongoing disputes between proponents and opponents of globalization. Proponents of globalization insist that the former is the case, while the opponents argue it is actually the latter. In the article titled “Globalization: Threat or Opportunity?” published in 2000 by the International Monetary Fund staff, economic globalization is defined as “a historical process, the result of human innovation and technological progress. It refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through trade and financial flows.” The article further explains, “The term [globalization] sometimes also refers to the movement of people (labor) and knowledge (technology) across international borders. There are also broader cultural, political and environmental dimensions of globalization that are not covered here.” (International Monetary Fund, 2000) For the sake of briefly defining those broader dimension as well, it is useful to borrow words from Manfred B. Steger’s “Globalization: A Very Short Introduction,” in which he defines cultural globalization as “the intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe,” (Steger, 2003 , pp. 69) political globalization as “the intensification and expansion of political interrelations across the globe,” (Steger, 2003, pp. 56) and, finally, environmental globalization as the aspect of globalization which deals with the issue of global environmental degradation through phenomena such as the loss of biodiversity, hazardous waste, industrial accidents, global warming and climate change. (Steger, 2003, pp. 87) On the other hand, Vandana Shiva’s definition of globalization can be read as a negation of the above-cited definitions. In her essay “Ecological Balance in an Era of Globalization,” Shiva states that “Globalization is not a natural, evolutionary, or inevitable phenomenon, as is often argued. Globalization is a political process that has been forced on the weak by the powerful. Globalization in not the cross-cultural interaction of diverse societies. It is the imposition of a particular culture on all others. Nor is globalization the search for ecological balance on a planetary scale. It is the predation of one class, one race, and often one gender of a single specie on all others. ‘Global’ in the dominant discourse is the political...
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