What is globalization?

8 August 2016

Globalization, “refers to processes of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Since the 1980’s the impact of globalization has been on the rise. Western cultures are bringing about new ways of culture while indigenous people are modifying their traditional ways to western civilization. I will be discussing two non-western cultures and the effects of globalization. The two cultures that will be discussed are the Zimbabwean and Japanese cultures (Watson, 2006).

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McDonald’s began in 1954 in Los Angeles where it was known as just a cheap, clean, burger joint. Ray Kroc who was a salesperson wanted to expand this concept and signed a contract with the owners (Koetse, 2012). In 1971, McDonalds made its way to Japan where it began to introduce western fast food. Some of the challenges that they faced were the menu items, which rice was not offered as part of the menu (Koetse, 2012). The taste of the food was not of tradition for the Japanese and was considered a snack rather than a meal.

The “table manners at McDonald’s “was not of Japanese tradition. At McDonald’s people ate while standing instead of tradition of everyone sitting and eating together with chopsticks and not their hands. Sharing meals in the Japanese culture is a big part of their tradition as it brings a sense of togetherness. Hamburgers, bread and fries are hard items to share among a family (Koetse, 2012). Prior to the start of McDonald’s, Japan’s culture when it came to meals was sitting all together and eating with chopsticks.

In addition, having rice served at every meal was considered the main course while meat with meals was not something of tradition (Koetse, 2012) The Japanese used several decorative bowls to eat from instead of just one and made sure to hold them with both hands. The practice of obentos, which are lunches prepared by the mothers for their children to take to school and eat with their peers, was an important tradition of their culture (Watson, 2006). The influence of McDonald’s making its way to Japan was direct by expanding the corporation of a successful business all over the world.

Although, the start of McDonalds in Japan lead to some hesitation because it was looked upon as their culture was being changed to an American way it later became a hit (Koetse, 2012). McDonald’s eventually adapted their menu to meet more of the Japanese food traditions such as rice burgers and teriyaki burgers. In addition, for desert, a green tea ice cream was launched for their taste. The seating was adapted so everyone could sit together and enjoy their meal. With the changes McDonalds has made in Japan fast food is now looked at as something trendy, even teenagers go there to study and hangout with their friends.

Fast food is becoming a part of everyday life in Japan (Koetse, 2012) The second non-western culture that was impacted by globalization is the Zimbabwean culture in Africa. The changes with the economy and the liberalization of trade have affected this culture drastically (Muyale-Manenji, 1998). Prior to change, women in this culture were known as farmers and civil servants. Many of them had small businesses selling fruit and vegetables that were grown. Even young children would stay out late at night to help.

The impact of the globalization of trade has affected their agriculture production by putting in fertilizers and insecticides at reasonable prices (Muyale-Manenji, 1998). The market of produce is now going to businesspersons looking just to make a high profit for themselves and no credit to where it came from. The removal of boundaries has led to cross border trade and job searching which has increased crime and diseases in this African culture (Muyale-Manenji, 1998). Women are becoming prostitutes to make money, which they are, contracting diseases such as AIDS.

Rape cases have increased especially with young children because they are out of their parents’ supervision (Muyale-Manenji, 1998). Further, globalization has had a negative impact on the Zimbabwean’s language. They are no longer speaking there traditional language it was replaced with English. The Zimbabwean people that are speaking in English and not their local language are highly looked upon (Ting-Tooney, 1998). The English language is westernizing the Zimbabwean culture and becoming the way of communication.

Their local language is almost becoming a foreign language because of how little it is used (Ting-Tooney, 1998). Culture is “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Culture is what makes a group stand out from anyone else. Globalization can have a positive and negative affect on cultures. It allows other cultures to interact with each other and interchange new ideas on ways of life. With the Japanese culture, globalization had a positive affect however, the Zimbabwean culture it affected them in a negative way (Ting-Tooney, 1998).

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