Term Paper: Impact of Globalization

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¶ … Globalization

The intent of this analysis is to evaluate how economic globalization is affecting and influencing local cultures while also exploring why urban geographers are increasingly analyzing the world's cities for influences of globalization as well. The city of Los Angeles, California is included as an example of a city that is analyzed according to its urban layout, socio-culture influence, economic specialization, and role in globalization throughout the Southern California region in addition to the Pacific Rim. This paper concludes with an critical analysis of globalization based on the results reported.

Effects of Globalization on Local Cultures

Much has been written about the effects of globalization becoming increasingly synonymous with the westernization of cultures. In fact the globalization of cultures is reciprocal on each other, especially when rapid global growth of companies quickly forces two cultures together rapidly. The research of Geert Hofstede (1983) provides a useful framework for evaluating the impact of globalization on local cultures. Hofstede devised a framework for five cultural dimensions that quantify the differences between cultures on the indices of the Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV), Masculinity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), and Long-Term Orientation (LTO). Hofstede's methodology and resulting analysis is accessible on his website at http://www.geert-hofstede.com/and provides a quantifiable measure of how rapid globalization through economic growth forces cultures together rapidly, often having to compensate for the specific differences in each of the five dimensions shown in the index. Using the Cultural Dimensions Index (CDI) the impact of globalization can clearly be seen with variations in each of the five values that comprise this metric. Hofstede contends that the level of trust attainable between cultures is in large part due to a congruence or consistency across the specific values in the index. It has been argued that Geert Hofstede (1983) is the authoritative research for defining differences in cultures, and as a result, the CDI is often used by organizations planning their global expansion strategies to evaluate risks of expanding into entirely new countries and regions.

Thomas Friedman, author of the World is Flat (2005) and the Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999) is a noted authority on globalizations' impact on cultures. In the latter book Friedman describes globalization as follows:

The inexorable integration of markets, nation-states, and technologies to a degree never witnessed before-in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before.... The spread of free-market capitalism to virtually every country in the world " (T.L. Friedman, the Lexus and the Olive Tree, 1999, p. 7-8).

Economic globalization is creating a reciprocal sharing of cultures, and in comparing the variations between the work of Hofstede relative to the writings of Freidman, the foundational elements of how cultural interchanges are seen from both a behavioral as well as a cultural one are evident. Hofstede's analysis shows the predisposition of cultures to either co-exist and galvanize together or naturally retract from one another. Friedman's books and analyses show that economic necessity and the inexorable pressures of price reductions and time-to-market in commoditized forces globalization. The key insight gained from looking at each of these two different researchers is that the impact of globalization on cultures can be seen from both a short-run and longer-term perspective. Each of their writings show that globalizations' influence, while initially not welcomed, can over time benefit the economic health of regions while at the same time being accepted on the terms of the host country. Time and again the influence of globalization on local cultures in Friedman's books shows that 3rd word nations work to assimilate into western cultural values and norms while western cultures are much more selective and even anti-immigration on certain aspects of globalization. In reality neither the host country nor the in-bound culture win; each interchange and interaction actually creates an entirely different set of cultural norms and values over time. Assimilation of cultures is not initially welcomed with enthusiasm yet over time, in each region, there is a unique set of attributes globalization illustrates based on the unique needs, norms and values of each affected culture.

Urban geographers are specifically interested in the study of how globalization influences and affects the growth, progression and maturity of cities as well. The work of Hall (2005) specifically illustrates how urban geographers are increasingly relying on the use of statistical and demographic analysis of immigration and emigration data to ascertain the influence of globalization on specific regions of the country. Included in their analysis is an assessment of migration trending relative to the growth of globalization. In addition, urban geographers look to create models that specifically define the determinants of globalization in regions of the world that show a high influx of migration. The impact of educational spending, high levels of spending in infrastructure, and the growth of free-market economies have tended to create emerging globalization globally, as evidenced by the growth of India for example as a globalization where these three factors contributed to ascent of this nation to being a globalization influence in outsourcing for example. Urban geographers also look for trending and early indicators of sociological and demographic shifts in regions' or nations' populations that signal a significant change in values and potential conflict. The riots of 2007 in Paris had been predicted by urban geographers who increasingly viewed the residents of interior Paris as excluding Muslims in addition to lower-income, non-French born immigrants. The result was that over time the Muslims and lower-income, non-French born immigrants increasingly began to rebel, erupting eventually into widespread violence and rioting. The use of urban geography to alleviate these potential types of conflicts within the U.S. is an area of constant study, particularly in those cities with the highest influx of immigrants. Los Angeles, with a net influx of 3.1 million people in any given year, is a city that is often studied by urban geographers specifically due to the high level of immigrant and emigration that occurs in this metro area.

Los Angeles, not strategically located as globalization center in the last century due to the lack of deep-water harbors and overshadowed by San Francisco's rapid growth as a commerce and banking center, has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies increasingly reliant on globalization. The urban layout, initially designed to support an agricultural economy, quickly began growing into adjoining valleys and cities due to the arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century, and the rapid urban growth throughout the early 20th century. Industries including entertainment, manufacturing, and aerospace and defense created the foundations of globalization through the mid 20th century (Takahashi, 2000). Globalizations' influence however was not as evident until the last two decades of the 20th century until the significant influx of both Asian and Latin American immigrants began to significantly change the demographic and socio0-economic landscape of many of Los Angeles' cities. Backlash to globalization in all forms resulted, from such diverse neighborhoods as Baldwin Park to Compton and Long Beach (Hall 2005) where the initial influx of immigration was met with resistance. Despite periodic earthquakes and the reputation that Los Angeles has for natural disasters including fires and landslides, globalization continues at a rapid pace, with 36.4% of all residents having immigrated to the city, primarily from Mexico, followed by Asia (Whitelegg 2000). Despite the ethnocentric-leaning approaches and perspectives of residents, the strongest forces of globalization have come from the development of significant economic banking operations on the part of Asian banks and financial institutions (Konvitz 1994). The role of Los Angeles today in globalization is multitudinous and complex. It is at the same time a cultural gateway for Latin Americans, Asians and increasing Indians looking to establish themselves in the U.S., while at the same time becoming an increasingly important financial… [END OF PREVIEW]

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