Globalization is Challenging the Preservation of Local Culture

Are we willing to accept a global society by sacrificing our local customs?

By Megan Harris, Staff Writer

As we progress farther into the 21st century, so lengthens our path down the road of globalization. The world’s cultures and economies have become more and more intertwined, and a debate has grown as to whether or not this is a good thing. Some argue that globalization is good because it means more trade between countries, therefore leading to lower prices and more economic growth. It provides greater investment opportunities–like, multi-national corporations investing in smaller companies.

Supporters of globalization also counter that it creates more jobs in developing countries – though critics disagree with this, and say that industrialization in smaller countries by larger ones puts those small nations at the larger nations’ mercy. Another viewpoint here is that although jobs are being created in developing countries, this outsourcing results in a loss of jobs in the local economies of developed countries. A prime example of this is the amount of products Canadians use that are made by outsourcing labour in other countries.

In the past, these goods were made in Canadian factories, by Canadian workers, but now this is not always the case. Companies like outsourcing production to developing countries, because for them it cuts down on labour costs, and that often means less stringent requirements for working conditions. This is seen by many as a clear injustice and a downfall to globalization.

To others, increased global trade means that people, especially in Canada and the rest of the Western world, have easy access to products that are off-season or not produced in their home country. Fruits such as kiwis, pineapples, and bananas can be found in most Canadian grocery stores year-round. Arguably, is this positive because it enhances the lifestyle of people in the Western world, as well as creating jobs for people who produce these fruits (and other foreign-made products), or is it negative because it controls and regulates what these smaller nations are able to do?

Alongside the issues and debate over industry and trade in relation to globalization, we should now turn our discussion to the cultural impact of globalization. Which is better – working towards improving the already ever-present globalization, or preserving local cultures?

A huge example of the cultural effect of globalization is the “Americanization” of the world–the North American culture finding its way into societies across the world–societies that have previously been independent and culturally unique. This is not to say that globalization has replaced local culture, but the debate around these issues lies in the fact that the two things are increasingly at odds.

Does it take away from the culture of a small European city when American restaurants (such as McDonalds) can be found in those cities, and food from those places (such as Italian food) can now be found in many places worldwide? Or is this a positive thing because it connects people from these small cities in Europe to people in the West and other parts of the world, making them seem closer?

Another example is holiday traditions. In the 1980s, Chinese people didn’t really celebrate Christmas in their home country, however, now an increasing number of people in China, especially younger generations, are recognizing and celebrating this holiday. Does this undermine traditional Chinese culture? Should we work to preserve Chinese culture, or should supporters of Christmas in the West celebrate that more people are embracing their traditions?

Show more