Monday, April 27, 2015

Globalisation: The Economist vs. The Communicationist

Globalisation affects individuals from all different walks of life. Anyone reading this article at any given moment has been touched in some fashion by the prowess of globalisation. Of course, as anything in this great, big, interconnected world we live in, globalisation is approached very differently by scholars from distinct disciplines. The manner in which these different disciplines regard this touchy topic through their selection of style and diction is itself very particular. Many of the flagship arguments for and against globalisation are economic factors and cultural factors; thus, to no surprise, we shall explore the mannerisms implored upon by an economist and a communicationist. Other factors are at play here, such as whether the authors of the articles believe that the rapid expansion of money, goods, and ideas is beneficial or detrimental to the global atmosphere, but we will focus here on how the research taken on by the overall study goes about exploring the ups and downs of globalisation.

The economist preaching the effects of globalisation focuses on the gap between the global rich and the global poor. This economist is Ash Amin, a professor at the University of Cambridge specialising in international political economy. His focus the last few years has been on the ethnography of the social economy in the United Kingdom with much emphasis on urban networks and racial integration. He views race and culture as working hand-in-hand through the development of biopolitics, a system of ideologies that assert that one’s biological background as well as their growing environment contribute greatly to one’s quality of life in a political landscape dominated by a majority. He ties these beliefs into his research found in the Transactions journal, under the article “Regulating economic globalization.” Here, as stated earlier, he explores how the global rich and global poor are linked together through the systematic disparity created by neo-liberalism. He points to an emerging global order with plans of reducing global poverty and inequality. Amin believes this rise in underrepresentation is due to international agreements geared to benefit Western nations and corporations which benefit greatly from exploiting nations and peoples past their core organization. Without hesitation, he seeks alternatives to this corrupt system of dealing with minorities and individuals whose voices are not heard among the globally powerful.

The economist, Amin, employs several distinct methods to deliver his point. His passive attacks on big corporations and massive economic expansion of global goods draws the conclusions that he is moderately against the growth of the free market. Going into talks of sexism and racism through the acts of globalisation, Amin makes the resounding observation that the global poor is typically made up of the very same group that allows a nation-state to continue living - the working class. The nations in which this occurs sees a great deal of social stratification where minorities are sent to live in slums only to lend more power to the more affluent majority. He cries out that the same can be seen in our own soil, the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom - but definitely not to the same degree as seen in developing countries. However, when we strafe toward the article drafted by the communicationist, we get a different tone in how globalisation affects international communities.

The second article in consideration for its stance on globalisation is that of Marwan M. Kraidy, a director for Advanced Research in Global Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on studies on global media and transnational communication and has commentated on massive international media outlets such as the National Public Radio and other major outlets in the United States and Middle East. He uses media to stress his point of cultural hybridisation where cultures fuse with each other to create a homogeneous, shared culture among global individuals exercising the benefits of globalisation, such as the exchange of goods and ideas. He touches on how hybridity has influenced theory, culture, and communication since the eighteenth century by exercising the vigour of imperialism through colonised peoples. Even today, in an era where the majority of nations do not occupy territories as colonies, hybridisation greatly occurs thanks to the mass expansion of corporations seeking to make a profit through localising their services; this is known as neo-colonial occurrences. Doing this creates a more local culture spawning from the host society; an example can be seen through McDonald’s implementation of local alimentation in their menu options for those same communities. Kraidy argues here that this systematic treatment of hybridity has allowed globalisation to become a large yet fragmented process.

The critiques for hybridity are all too obvious and Kraidy makes it clear to point them out. This homogenisation of cultures has led many to label these actions as a pervasive technique used by the globally privileged. In retrospect, power holders neutralise differences by hybridising their cultures with their subject’s. Altogether, this spells a corrupt network of culturally fuelled ideas intended solely for the gain of the imposer. This tends to create a “lure of the West” and changes once unique and distinguished societies into clones of Western capitalism. In totality, Kraidy manages to qualify hybridity in a conservative and victimised tone only to highlight the criticisms and pitfalls of such a systematic control over societies. He argues that more work needs to be accomplished as far as contextualising hybridity and labelling the inner workings of the transnational powers that allow for no-power zones to be found in cultural mixtures.

As evidenced, both these articles present the tough and altering outcomes of globalisation. With it, both authors also present how globalisation has helped move the global mindset forward while maintaining localised ideals intact. However, both go about this procedure very differently. The economist viewpoint comes more from a political and “money centred” perspective, whereas the communication viewpoint focuses more on the history and “cultural aspects” of globalisation. Amin’s article indulges itself with the disparity between the socioeconomic classes of societies affected by globalisation while Kraidy’s article seeks to define hybridity as a concept to subject minorities into becoming one with the larger, more powerful culture. In totality, both articles go about their arguments very differently and the rhetoric imposed upon each to deliver these arguments vary vastly.

This excerpt from the economist article gives a lending hand as to how this argument wishes to appeal to the audience: “...a shameful catalogue of woe marked by escalating early mortality, child labour, prostitution, disease and malnutrition.” Pathos, an appeal to evoke pity for those affected by these conditions. Amin implements such language throughout his whole article, never truly failing at making his audience see just how many atrocities can be done against the underrepresented in the name of wealth and gluttony. At another point of his article, Amin gives globalisation a human face, literally, by outlining how social liberalism allows for the social responsibility to protect those falling under the weight of other’s expansionist agendas. In this section, he gives high praise to these social reforms in the market as he argues, alongside a colleague, that a new order must be set to give way for “people’s equal moral worth, their active agency and what is required for their autonomy and development.” Amin makes great use of ethos in this section of his article as well as he gives a clear cut and ethical solution to the outstanding problem. The interaction of these two appeals allows for the economist’s argument to intensify the disparity and need of action between the global rich and global poor.

Where the economist uses pathos, the communicationist uses logos to quantify the data behind hybridisation among cultural globalisation. Kraidy discusses possible racism behind the Hollywood box office as producers attempt to project international revenue based on cold calculations, he finds that racism is rampant as the majority of “Star Power” and high ratings are given to white actors and actresses. This comes to show that hybridity becomes a dealing of corporate multiculturalism as soon as it falls in the hands of greed and discriminatory action. This appeal to logos is undeniably discomforting, but the ethos that grows upon the critiques of hybridisation follows suit. “The use of hybridity is that it is a form of self-indulgence by diasporic intellectuals who have the cultural and economic resources that allow them to spend time and effort theorizing,” this implies that too much dwelling over hybridisation leads to more global stratification. Truly, once you gain too much hybridity, these researchers leave all the old problems of social inequality, racism, and discrimination all together unsolved. The ethos behind this is simple - there is no clear point to dwell on the unresolved when no one is taking actual action to resolve it. I admire Kraidy’s use of this as it shows that he is not afraid to point out the flaws in communication.

Going back to the economist’s argument, we see how the article is rightfully centred on the flow of money throughout the world. However, it paints an easy solution for the regulation of microeconomics as a tool to regulate the larger corporations, in turn, macroeconomics. By nit-picking the tools of how corporations can “[hide] the inscriptions of small things and embodied conventions,” Amin manages to pull together the point that the global poor can be aided through exposing all the atrocities committed by the global rich and making sure to regulate from the bottom-up. This, of course, goes against what the communicationist’s argument begs to accomplish: study and shape hybridisation to fit in the local sense rather than imposing the grander, Western sense. Hence, in Kraidy’s case, regulate the spread of globalisation top-down to ensure the safe-keeping of the cultures which hybridisation effects. I personally see both methods as having their benefits, each paying great tribute to the disciplines they respectively hail from. However, it must be noted that to harbour healthy living in areas stricken by pervasive globalisation, the societies imposing themselves - that is, the West - must reach out with swifter strides to truly accomplish change.

The rhetorical devices utilised throughout these articles allow for a synchronisation of information from the discipline, to the researcher, and finally, to the audience. The two disciplines studied, economy and communication, utilise powerful techniques in efforts to deliver the main idea. One stresses that globalisation fosters great disparity among the social classes while the other argues that hybridisation has homogenised cultures to become like subjects. Both articles sum up to arguing that globalisation has deteriorated global cultures and economies, and something must be done about that.
Works Cited

Amin, Ash. "Regulating Economic Globalization." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 29.2 (2004): 217-233. Web.

Kraidy, Marwan M. "Hybridity in Cultural Globalization." Communication Theory 12.3 (2002): 316-339. Web.

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