Culture and Globalization

When globalization is discussed, it is often economically based and the people that are involved in this process are invisible. It is clear that globalization has a great impact on the economy. The people that are involved also suffer great harm from the process. Globalization is great because there is a flow of ideas and information. Additionally, communication among people beyond international borders  is facilitated. However, there is a loss of identity and originality is African nations. Culture is very important to African nations and there has been a history of the importance of these traditions and cultures.

Culture:

The culture of Africa is vast as the continent is. Cultures are usually expressed in arts, crafts, music and much more. Just as Africa is vast in different peoples and culture, so are individual countries. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are many ethnic groups that have different cultures and traditions. However, the most common traditions are in greeting customs. A proper handshake is usually done by the right hand or 3 kisses on the cheek. Men share greetings by butting heads from right to left. The family is also very important in African Communities. Men hold the position to make important decisions. However, traditions are being demanded to the modern trend of society as globalization occurs. People even state that change customary traditions allow for the country to become more developed and globalized. “ If they remain stagnant, they actually hinder society’s development” (Kwame, 6). I do not agree with this statement because I don’t think that African nations should have to compromise their individuality in order to be advanced with the society. There are important things that African cultures can contribute to the global society that should not be undermined. “tapping on traditional medicine and knowledge systems to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS” (Kwame, 7). I think that having a one sided story of the West being the best solution is dangerous because we do not get to explore other traditions. There are inhumane cultural traditions such as gender mutilation or trokosi in Ghana. Cultures embedded in African nations are so unique and losing that uniqueness should not be traded for any sum of money. There is always this “white savior” complex that is perpetuated by Western countries. Believing that their ideas are “one size fits all” when it truly is not.  It is important for African nations to not lose their uniqueness and individuality in its rich culture.

Language:

An important component of African culture is its language. Language is important because it has been the way many people have been able to communicate. With the emergence of globalization, and the new flow of ideas and communications, African languages are lost in the mix. Additionally, as a result of colonialism, eurocentric languages such as English and French, Portuguese, were embedded in African societies. English in Africa has been equated to intelligence. A person who is fluent in English is more likely to hold a job than someone that doesn’t. These languages were made so that globalization would occur more easily. The loss of language can signify a loss of culture as language is a large component of culture.  The effect that development and globalization have on African nations is the denial of culture and heritage and acceptance of western values. When I was in the Congo, I saw both sides of this effect of globalization in the culture. When I was driving  down a tourist town in the neighborhood of Gombe, I stumbled upon a stop sign that was in English rather than French.  As a country that it national language is French, it was interesting and almost unsettling that the stop sign said “Stop” rather than “Arrete.” But then I had to remind myself that it was a tourist area. However, there was a different side of globalization and language that I noticed in my summer vacation in Congo. Chinese investors have been in the country and have attempted to learn the national language. Most of them communicated with their clients in poor French mixed with Lingala. It was interesting to view the role that globalization had on language. There was the side where English was romanticized while outsiders were attempting to learn the local and national languages.

Music:

Hip Hop and music has now flown into the African communities through the African diaspora of other African American artists. In Africa hip-hop has been awarded its popularity not due to only commercialization, but also due to its ability to express the realities of life in varying situations around the world” (Ntarangwi, 2010). The commercialization of globalization has contributed to the economy. Additionally, the stories told in hip-hop music perpetuates a way for the disadvantaged people as their voice. Hip Hop is often stated to emerge out of the Civil Rights movement ((Binfield, 2009, p. 175; Neal, 2008, p. 117).  The same way the marginalized people of America had a voice and knew how to use it properly and with style” Africans have used music as their voice. In Congo, the youth has taken it upon themselves to engage in pro-democracy through music. Although there has been a backlash from the government, music gave the youth of Eastern Congo a voice. “Yole! Africa” is a youth cultural center that attempts to create democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. How ironic is it that most countries with the word“ democratic” aren’t democracies.

 Thinking Face on Apple iOS 9.3

Through their songs, hip-hop artists at Yole call out the government’s corruption and ineptitude” (Lamb, 2015: 1). In a country where there is not free speech, music is their voice Through this, these youth also demand fair and free democratic elections in November 2016. It is interesting to see the effect that globalization had on influencing people through music. Youth in America uses Hip Hop as their voice to speak on topics such as police brutality while in the Congo, it is used to indicate the country’s corruption. Although through music, some African artist have lost authenticity, they have also found a way to voice their political opinions. Here is the video of the Congolese musicians. 

Works Cited

Binfield, Marnie-Ruth. “Bigger than Hip-hop : Music and Politics in the Hip-hop Generation.” Bigger than Hip-hop : Music and Politics in the Hip-hop Generation. N.p., 2009. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCufvkji7Wvo_4CHE5v47Dfg. “Uhaki “Justice” EP 2.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Kwame, Yeboah. “Globalization and Culture.” Winners and Losers in Globalization (n.d.): 166-76. University of Southern Denmark. University of Southern Denmark. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
Lamb, Kate. “In Congo, Hip-hop Gives Youth a Political Voice.” Congo Hip-Hop Politics. America Al Jazeera, 11 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Neal, Mark Anthony. “Sold out on Soul: The Corporate Annexation of Black Popular Music.” Academia.edu. N.p., 24 July 2008. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Ntarangwi, Mwenda. “University of Illinois Press.” UI Press. N.p., 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Rethinking Trade Policies in Africa

The Western article that I read for this blog post proposes evidence for my argument of the negative effects of globalization, with a tweak, however. In his article I was wrong. Free market trade policies hurt the poor, Byers proposes an alternative to trade liberation. He argues against the IMF and World Trade Organization policies because they provide for quick trade liberation that can harm the poor. However, he states that “trade with the objective of achieving development goals” (Byers, 2003: 1). This is an important alternative that should explore when exploring the developing and globalization project in developing countries. I was never an advocate for globalization and free trade policies, however, I am now aware there are success globalization projects in developing countries. Trade policies must be monitored. Being aware of trade policies not only benefit the poor but it also benefits the economy. Slow trade liberation would provide the economy time to adjust to the changes. Although I am not a strong advocate for trade liberation, I think that this article convinced me that if trade policies are monitored it could be beneficial.

Humanitarianism and Dependency

Humanitarian aid relief provides poor countries with a provision of food and medical supplies. As African nations tend to be in debt, they often tend to seek foreign aid and assistance from developing countries, it makes them dependent on the aid. This in return can also slow economy growth I believe. The goal of foreign aid is to decrease poverty in developing countries, however, it can cause harmful effects for the host country. Humanitarianism as part of the development and globalization can create conflict in the recipient countries. “humanitarian assistance provided by NGOs in Africa at times contributes to conflict rather than peace” (Smock, 6). The presences of a military in conflict-stricken places can exacerbate conflict because it can undermine state legitimacy. This might spark the emergence of an insurgency. Additionally, humanitarian aid causes dependency. Imagine this, NGOS go to a country, provide supplies, food, months go by and supplies are done. Now, what?

An alternative to humanitarian in African countries would perhaps be training and education. Additionally, opening African developing countries to the global market would precipitate economic growth. This would build a society that is capable of independence. Even though they would still be dependent due to globalization. Furthermore, this could legitimize the government.

For example, as seen in the Good Fortune documentary the aid received from the Kenyan government, only benefited the elites. “ “poor people in this country did not benefit from the inflow of foreign aid” (Lohani, 2004: 6). Aid has the potential to decrease poverty, however, the elites take advantage of this. How do we increase accountability in countries receiving aid?

 

Trade Policy

Trade has the potential to increase economic growth if it is monitored. Trade liberation should be monitored so that not only one group benefits from it. “, an increase in Africa’s share of world exports by just 1% could generate around £43bn – five times the total amount of aid received by African countries” (Byers, 2003: 2). Opening African countries to trade would increase growth. “When countries open up to trade, they generally benefit because they can sell more than they can buy more. And trade has a two-way gain” (Fernández De Córdoba,1). Globalization and trade liberation as the potential to decrease poverty and increase human development. “ It is estimated that the global annual welfare gains from trade liberalization would be in the order of $90 billion to $200 billion, of which two-thirds would accrue to developing countries” (Fernández De Córdoba,1). If African countries are able to export goods in return for capital, the combination of good governance and trade can alleviate poverty. Economic growth is strongly linked to globalization and development.

Limitations of the IMF and WTO

The IMF and Trade policies should be inclusive for not only developed countries but Developing countries as well. These two groups are key players in the globalization project that could shift the effect that globalization has on developing and developed countries. Trade liberation policies have been arranged to create a division between developed and developing world. It provides a way for developed countries to exploit developing countries and the labor market. Remember what happened when Americans were angered by taxation without representation during the 1750s and 1760s? Well, most developing countries are currently enduring this. “Many countries do not even have enough trade personnel to participate in all the negotiations or to even have a permanent representative at the WTO” (Exchange, 2) There needs to be an increase of involvement and participation of developing countries in the policy decision-making process. This would ensure the fair policies that would benefit the poor citizens in developing countries. The rich tend to have leverage when it comes to trade policies. A voice in the WTO would be crucial   Because the United Nations is the international governing body, it has the responsibility to review trade policies to ensure it is not discriminatory to on group. How would the world look like if everyone benefitted from globalization? Is this even feasible?

 

Concluding remarks

The more I explore the contemporary issues of globalization and development, I have come to the conclusion that there is potential for growth and economic equality. The problem is poor leadership and corruption. As you continue to read my blog posts, what other problems do you think arises with the globalization project in Africa?

 

Works Cited

Byers, Stephen. “Stephen Byers: I Was Wrong. Free Market Trade Policies Hurt the Poor.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 May 2003. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.

Exchange, Global. “Top Reasons to Oppose the WTO | Global Exchange.” Top Reasons to Oppose the WTO | Global Exchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.

Fernández De Córdoba, Santiago. “Trade and the MDGs: How Trade Can Help Developing Countries Eradicate Poverty | UN Chronicle.” Trade and the MDGs: How Trade Can Help Developing Countries Eradicate Poverty | UN Chronicle. UN Chronicle, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.

Lohani, Satish. Illinois Wesleyan University. N.p., 2004. Web. 7 Apr. 2016.

Smock, David R. Humanitarian Assistance and Conflict in Africa. Washington, DC (1550 M St. NW, Washington 20005): U.S. Institute of Peace, 1996. UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE. Feb. 1996. Web.

United Nations, Conference on Trade and Development. “Coping with Trade Reforms: A Developing-Country Perspective on the WTO Industrial Tariff Negotiations.” Center For Global Development. UNCTAD), 2006. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.

World, Bank. “Documents & Reports.” Global Economic Prospects 2004 : Realizing the Development Promise of the Doha Agenda (Chinese). Global Economic Prospects, Sept. 2003. Web. 07 Apr. 2016.

Globalization and Inequality

 

 

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“Benefits from globalization in booming times are not necessarily shared widely and equally in the global community” (Nissanke,& Thorbecke, 2007: 1), This policy brief comes from the United Nations University. The policy brief states that although globalization allows for the reduction of poverty and economic growth, it could also make growth stagnant because of its policies and structures. “World income distribution continues to be very unequal and many poor countries, particularly in Africa, are stagnating” (Nissanke,& Thorbecke, 2007: 1). As I attempt to demonstrate in my blog post, the policy brief helps me make my case as it bases its argument on the unequal income distribution that is caused by globalization, especially in the developing world. Interestingly enough, there is a causal chain that is mentioned in the policy brief. It posits that globalization leads to openness which leads to growth then inequality and finally poverty. (Nissanke,& Thorbecke, 2007: 2) It is important to acknowledge in this causal chain that globalization does cause growth, the problem arises with the way the growth and wealth are distributed among different social groups. The economic growth that emerges from globalization causes inequality because the elites see the growth and decide how to manage and distribute it so that they benefit more from it.

New Technology in Development

Globalization introduces a labor force of skilled workers, Although this benefits skilled workers, unskilled workers are left to fend for themselves. “Skilled workers (as proxied by education levels) benefited from globalization while unskilled  workers were adversely affected” (Nissanke,& Thorbecke, 2007:4) Now would the answers to income inequality caused by globalization be education? As the brief mentions, skilled workers benefit more than unskilled workers, if a government were to institutionalize reforms and ways for their citizens to gain skills, would everyone then benefit from globalization? What do YOU think? As globalization occurs, there are new demands for skilled workers because of the new technology.

Poor Governance

Although educating citizens would be a great idea to get everyone in the workforce as the policy brief suggests (Nissanke,& Thorbecke, 2007: 6) and earning an equal income, the poor governance and corruption in the continent of Africa would undermine efforts to decrease income inequality. “the impact of globalization on the poor is mediated by domestic political economy structures and institutions such as social polarization, oligarchic structures” (Nissanke,& Thorbecke, 2007: 7) So then should the question be, how do we get rid of corruption? Because of Africa’s long history of enslavement, colonization and poor leadership, “A government can gain political support through implementing reform policies” (“globalization”, 2013: 4). However, there should also be an effective law enforcement tool for reform policies to be successful and constructive.

Resiliency

As we discuss resiliency in class, people in developing countries are unable to adapt to the new changes of technology. However, this could be attributed to the government’s inability to provide services of higher education to improve their skills. I think that some governments in developing a country that illustrates factors of non-resiliency. Developing countries are unable to adapt and be resilient to the fast changes of technology that is introduced by globalization. As a nation, it should be their role to fully engage their citizens in the new global economy. Developing countries’ inability to compete with the rapid change of technology demonstrate that resiliency is not always feasible. Although resiliency might seem like a good idea, in theory, it is not always easy in practice.

MNC and Gold Mining in Eastern Congo

Globalization, which is the openness of trade globally has had a negative impact on my home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a country rich in natural resources, gold mining in Eastern Congo as a result of globalization is something that we fail to discuss. Multinational Corporations are shaping the global economy in response to market opportunities (Spence, 2009). However, Multinational corporations have been taking advantage of the natural resources in the nation. This has contributed to the violent conflict and mass rape that has taken over the eastern part of the country. The government enjoys benefits from the investment of MNCs in gold mining while women have to endure rape and violence as a result of conflict minerals. Although the emergence of Multinational Corporations benefits the economy, the citizens of the country do not benefit from it. It even further widens the inequality gap between the rich and poor. Workers have to work in poor condition with low wages. The government should be responsible for ensuring that MNCs are not exploiting the citizens of their country.

Last Thoughts

Although the policy brief did a great job at presenting an overlook at the negative impact of globalization, I would have loved for the brief to have a gender perspective on women. Women, as seen in the Poto Mitan documentary, are the pillars of society. As globalization occurs, women might benefit less because their jobs are being taken away and a creation of jobs in construction, for example, is mainly geared towards men. Although the poor do not benefit much from globalization, women are also at the bottom and it needs to be spoken about. Again, this policy brief demonstrates the invisibility of women in the international development topic.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog. Until then, watch this video on gold mining and its effects in the Congo.

Conflict Minerals

Works Cited
“Globalization & the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Public Administration. N.p., 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.
Nissanke, Machiko, and Erik Thorbecke. Linking Globalization to Poverty. Helsinki: United Nations U (UNU). World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), 2007. United Nations University. UNU-Wider, 2 Nov. 2007. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
Spence, A. Michael. “The Impact of Globalization on Income and Employment.” Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 01 July 2011. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.

 

Globalization good or bad?

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As globalization, which is the integration of economy, society, and politics, it is evident that some countries benefit while others do not. In “The Impact of Globalization on Africa”, author Alhaji Ahmadu Ibrahim, a professor at a university in Nigeria, states that Africa has been negatively impacted by trade liberalization. What was interesting about his article was the fact that he described globalization as what I interpreted as integration. He stated that “ Globalization has turned the world into the big village” (Ibrahim, 2008:86). Villages are usually integrated communities, living together. It is interested because, in villages, there is a social hierarchy. Similarly to globalization, there is hierarchy are rich countries that benefit and those that do not.

Usually, when we discuss globalization, the economy is usually the main topic of the discussions. However, we tend to forget the impact globalization has citizens of the nations. (Ibrahim, 2008: 88). As globalization occurs, language also changes. Most importantly, African countries are affected by globalization as cultural identities shifts. The free flow of ideas allows for that. It is important to explore not only how globalization affects the economy of African nations, but also how it affects the continent socially. Because of the flow of information across international borders, African nations end up borrowing from other nations, losing cultural identity. For example, I was in a the DRC, a francophone country, however, I noticed that most of the traffic signs were in English. It is interesting because the national language is French, however globalization allowed for the shift in culture and language. It was interesting to see how globalization played out in an African country directly.

Just as important, the main theme in the scholarly article on globalization was the effect of the colonial history that African nations endured until the early 1960s. Colonization serves as a pretext for why many African countries do not benefit from globalization. This statement is relevant as colonization led to exploitation of goods and natural resources. Additionally, it created conflicts by polarizing ethnic groups and makes it unable for them to work collaboratively. Interestingly enough, globalization led to instability and the rise of authoritarian regimes which prevents the economic growth of African nations.
The article stated that there are positive effects of globalization. One of them is the increase of transparency for accountability it provides. It is interesting that the article states that weak leaderships causes the inequality and marginalization in society, yet globalization increases transparency for accountability. “Managing globalization effectively to benefit the African people, especially the poor, calls for new attitudes and leadership.” (Ibrahim, 2008: 90). If this is the case, weak leadership should be held accountable for widening the inequality gap. A solution for the weak leadership as suggested by the author is to improve the democratization process (Ibrahim, 2008:89). This statement is valid because democracy and economic development are correlated. A research I conducted on the topic of democracy and economic development stated that there is a statistically significant relationship between democratic regimes and economic development. Although democratization of countries might seem like the solution to economic inequality, it is worth mentioning that transition to democracy is not stable and might result in more poverty and instability.

Lastly, an important solution provided by the author in improving globalization and its negative effects is “African leaders should, therefore, concentrate their efforts on educating their people,” (Ibrahim, 2008: 91). This calls for a phenomenon called “welfare states.” A welfare state is a system in which the government provides people with the social services to improve human development. Africa is such a natural resource rich country that it can use its resource rent as a way to create a welfare state similarly to Saudi Arabia. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, has $24 trillion in mineral wealth but is still poor, why is that? (Warrah, 2009: 1). Although they are exporting these resources, the citizens of the country are negatively impacted as they’re not benefitting from it. Additionally, some of the natural resources are illegally imported which undermines the economic prosperity resources can bring. The inability to control natural resources in African nations is all caused by extremely corrupt weak leaders. Another positive impact of globalization that is stated in the reading is the availability of information that is provided to the people (Ibrahim, 2008: 89). People, therefore, could use the information they acquire for self-determination and figure out what government would work best for them. However, this could pose problems, so there is a concluding question for you all, how do we get rid of weak leaders and still maintain security and stability?

Works Cited
Ibrahim, Alhaji. “The Impact of Globalization on Africa.” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science (2008): n. pag. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.
Warrah, Rasna. “RASNA WARAH: Blood Mobile Phones Fan DRC’s Murderous Conflict.” Daily Nation. DailyNation, 15 Mar. 2009. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Globalization in Africa Introduction Post

african-exploitation

I am interested in globalization in Africa because I was born and raised in an African Country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Growing up, I did not notice most things that I would notice now after years of school and experience. Last summer, I recently went to visit the Congo after being away for 8 years and I noticed many changes, some positive, some negative. Although I have seen how globalization has impacted my home country, I would like to widen and better understand the impact of globalization on the whole continent. I would like to research how globalization has affected different countries and the factors that led to it; economic, political leadership, etc.

In one of the scholarly article I have chosen to utilize for my blog post, the author states that “Globalization has turned the world into the big village” (Ibrahim, 2009:86). I thought that this is an accurate definition of globalization that depicts the realities of globalization. Usually, when globalization is defined, it is often described as the integration of the world politically, economically and socially. The definition by the author of the article I chose provides a visualizing image of globalization. In a village, there is often social hierarchy. There are the village king or chief, his entourage then the regular habitants of the village. Similarly, in globalization, there is social hierarchy, there are countries that benefit and those that do not benefit from globalization. This inequality is what I attempt to explore in my blog posts. 

The continent of Africa has undergone many different changes that could contribute to its decision to globalize in the last century. Many African Nations were enslaved and were able to gain independence in the late 1950s to early 1960s. In addition to that, these newly industrialized countries suffer from weak leadership. The leaders of many African nations are corrupt and want to benefit from the natural resources these nations possess. The decision of African nations to globalize has impacted Africa culturally and economically and politically. The rise of democracies in Africa could be credited to the Globalization Project (Shaka, 2013). With globalization, there is also the emergence of the struggle for survival. This disrupts the social, traditional and cultural dynamics of communities. Which is interesting because globalization is meant to increase economic growth, of course this is not applicable to everyone.  As I explore this theme, I would like to learn more about the inequality that is created by globalization. It is unfair that some members benefit while others don’t because of development.

Using the Google Scholar, I found an article from the (International Journal of Humanities and Social Science) titled The Impact of Globalization on Africa. I then proceeded to the United Nations University website, where I found a Policy Brief titled Linking Globalization to Poverty.I also researched a local newspaper from the region of my choice. I found a South-African newspaper called the Financial Mail. In this newspaper, I found an article on globalization titled Boardroom Tails: We really must grow up. Lastly, I found a Western newspaper article from the Guardian titled I was wrong. Free market trade policies hurt the poor. In addition to that, I also found an interview video about the impact of globalization on Africa by Kingsley Moghalu Africa has become a playground for globalization.

Drawing from these different research sources, I hope to gain a better understanding of the impact of globalization on the region of Africa. These sources will also guide my readers understand the individual, state, and international level of analysis of the issue.

Discussion Question:

What is your opinion on globalization?

Watch Who wins from globalization? it might help form an opinion on this vast topic.

Works Cited

Anderson, Mark, and Claudine Spera. “Kingsley Moghalu: ‘Africa Has Become a Playground for Globalisation’ – Video.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 4 Aug. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
Byers, Stephen. “Stephen Byers: I Was Wrong. Free Market Trade Policies Hurt the Poor.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 May 2003. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
Crotty, Ann. “Boardroom Tails: We Really Must Grow up.” Financial Mail. Financial Mail, 10 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
Ibrahim, Alhaji A. “Neoliberalism, and Globalization in Africa.” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science (2008): n. pag. Center for Promoting Ideas. Center for Promoting Ideas, 15 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
Muyale-Manenji, Fridah. “The Effects of Globalization on Culture in Africa in the Eyes of an African Woman – World Council of Churches.” The Effects of Globalization on Culture in Africa in the Eyes of an African Woman – World Council of Churches. World Council of Churches, 01 Jan. 1998. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
Nissanke, Machiko, and Erik Thorbecke. Linking Globalization to Poverty.
Helsinki: United Nations U (UNU). World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), 2007. United Nations University. UNU-Wider, 2007. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.