Posted by: globalmusings | November 26, 2007

…Unmade everywhere else

In our last post, we touched on the social responsibility of big business.  We addressed concerns that, although outsourcing jobs overseas hurts a portion of the American workforce, it benefits the country to trade new ideas and innovations with other cultures.  We even touched on how many lives are affected by struggles and tensions that result between the corporations and individual workers.  However, we left something out, something vital.  The sheer, disturbing fact is that social responsibility is simply not cost effective.  Many people want to argue that we need a business with a conscience.  To them, businesses should stay “at home” so to speak and bring American jobs to American workers.  However, no one wants to pay the extra 20 cents to give these companies support.  Take this example, excerpted from “Limits to the Social Responsibility of Business”:

“The Stride Rite Corporation, a shoe company, was known for a number of years for its policy of locating plants and distribution facilities in some of America’s most depressed inner cities and rural communities to revitalize them and provide secure, well- paying jobs for minorities. Arnold Hiatt, Stride Rite’s CEO, had a strong personal commitment to this policy. In 1984 competitive pressures caused the company to experience a 68 percent drop in income, its first drop in thirteen years. Over Hiatt’s strong objection, the board decided that the company could remain competitive only by contracting out production abroad to low wage countries—as their competitors were doing. The board reasoned, probably correctly, that if they did not move production abroad, the company would be subject to a hostile takeover by a buyer who saw an opportunity to reap significant profits by taking that step. Hiatt resigned and production was moved to China.”

This is just one example.  There are hundreds more, and the number will only increase as companies become more competitive.  Of course, some may take this post as some form of twisted defense of globalization.  “Well, the companies have to go overseas. They can’t survive here.”  That is, in no way, what we are saying.  What we are saying is that, to all who want business to stay at home, to take responsibility for society and the environment, and to maintain high quality, you should be prepared to pay the extra costs.  What we do not want is for people to say that everything in life is business’ fault and, as such, the companies mess to clean up.  We want people to take personal responsibility for whom they purchase from and actually work for all those changes they want.  Do not demand that business step up if you are not willing to do the same.  This hypocrisy only causes more jobs to be lost, more companies to go under and more outsourcing.

References

“Limits to the Social Responsibility of Business” by David C. Korten

<http://www.pcdf.org/1996/19korten.htm&gt;

Posted by: globalmusings | November 12, 2007

Made In America

In my quest for an entry this week, I decided to revisit our adopted slogan: Think Globally, Act Locally. And I mulled over it and mulled over it and mulled over it. For whatever reason, when I think of truly acting locally in the U.S. of A., I immediately think of those people who boycott non-American products. Personally, I don’t know how these people make it through a day alive and clothed, but I wanted to examine their reasons.

Economy, right? It’s the most patriotic way to support our economy. Giving moneyamerican_flag_2.jpg to Americans from Americans. Picture perfect, squeaky clean, lovely. And, personally, I give a lot of kudos to those who can follow a fully American lifestyle. It must be hard to check labels everywhere you go. But is this action completely positive?After all, trading, importing, and exporting promote interaction between cultures, which leads to ideas and innovations and just all-around good living. So, who’s really in the right here? American-only buyers or “who cares?” buyers?

And if only buying American products isn’t so amazing, then what can you say to defend those “who cares where it came from?” buyers, when the product may very well come from the hands of a five-year-old sweat shop baby?

And one more thing I think we should touch on: the Writer’s Strike. This massively controversial strike is intended to earn writers more compensation for their hard work. However, confrontationists against the writers point out the recent lay-offs of the stagehands and behind-the-scenes workers on the television shows, already numbering to over 100 lost jobs. Suddenly, I began wondering what kind of clothes the anti-Writer’s Strike people were wearing. After all, outsourcing jobs is one of the biggest causes of unemployment. Seems like we don’t always mean what we say.

So, I ask you, Reader. Do you consider someone who buys only American products to be closed-minded, or simply patriotic? Mull it over. I know I did.

Image

University of Houston <http://www.uh.edu/~dsocs3/contact/&gt;

Posted by: globalmusings | November 5, 2007

I mean no disrespect, but how much is that prophet??

In our last post, we touched upon the danger of only seeing situations from one perspective. We said that the only way to grow and understand our neighbors is to at least be aware of their philosophies and what is important to them. However, this is not enough. It rarely is. On that note, we are forced to take yet another shot at globalization. To us, globalization is a mostly financial movement. New ideas and innovations, no pun intended, are transported from one nation to all others in a mutually beneficial system. This seems to be a perfect system. Nevertheless, it is important to ask whether or not most Americans actually stop to consider what they are learning. Does anyone actually understand the significance of the new ideas presented? We think not.

It seems to us that most people absorb enough information about foreign cultures to get through the day, or the current business deal, but do not approach the ideas with the proper amount of respect. In this country we have stores like Smiling Buddha Tattoos, and no one says anything. A “Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret” cd has songs titled “Assoholic” and “Once a killer” and no one finds this offensive. However, one of us might be horrified to discover Jesus flakes being sold in an Asian market. jesus cereal Of course, the tagline would have to be “For that truly sanctified taste.” Thus is the problem with globalization: its levels of understanding and tolerance are superficial at best. This intolerance has the potential to lead to a serious misunderstanding between peoples. Imagine a foreign dignitary coming to tour the United States and seeing a blasphemous image of a religious figure. The ambassador may misconstrue this commercialism as a slap in the face of his/her culture. Imagine the negative feelings that could create. Imagine the trade relationships that may suffer when one nation feels wronged or disrespected.

A line has to be drawn somewhere. Everything can not be reduced to an all consuming drive for money. That’s the problem. Globalization has no limits. Nothing is sacred as long as there is some money to be had. Despite what globalization implies, there isn’t enough money in the world to heal a bruised ego, a damaged relationship or a violation of trust. smiling

References

<http://www.amazon.com/Smilin-Buddha-Cabaret-54-40/dp/B00003IQHM&gt;

Images taken from

<http://www.savannahtours.com/links.html

<http://www.thekarmacompany.com/viewalltees.html&gt;

Posted by: globalmusings | October 30, 2007

Do As The Motto Says, And No One Gets Hurt

Let’s elaborate a bit, shall we? Within the contents of this blog, we have attempted to show methods and reasoning behind thinking locally, not always thinking globally. Additionally, however, we have made arguments for remembering to stay conscious of the world around our lovely United States. So, now, let’s combine our thinking. Let’s learn ways to think globally and act locally simultaneously.

Recently, I have learned about Al Jazeera. In case you haven’t stayed current in the news or turned on a 260px-al_jazeera_logo.jpgtelevision lately, Al Jazeera is an Arabic news station produced by the people, for the people. The station has been wildly influential for its independent spin. The station has also become wildly popular with its audience, so much so that the company has expanded. On November 16, 2006, Al Jazeera launched Al Jazeera English, a station which offers the similar Arabic views of its sister station while capitalizing on the influence of the English language. The news is delivered in English by English-speaking reporters from all over the country. This is truly a breakthrough of its kind. This is an opportunity for Americans to understand current affairs from an Arabic perspective, not an entirely American one. The station allows us to see the Arabic side of things and how those in Arabic countries view Americans.

The step is a powerful one.

However, this is a step that has been met with criticism, and no major American providers will air Al Jazeera English. Curious to see it? Yeah, you’ll likely have to go online for that. Accuracy in Media, Inc., a conservative media group, campaigns against the showing of Al Jazeera English. A representative from that group, Cliff Kincaid, says that Al Jazeera is a “mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden,” and this is why Americans need not be exposed to it. But I have to wonder, if we don’t ever hear these viewpoints, will we ever learn anything? After all, we can’t just sweep Al Jazeera under the floor and pretend it doesn’t exist.

The truth is Al Jazeera is extremely influential to Arabs, and we need to stay connected to that. DAvid Marash, an American reporter formerly of Nightline who now works for Al Jazeera, explains, “America has never been perceived as more isolated and less influential. I think that probably we’re pursuing that angle harder than our colleagues are, and it’s not that we want to undermine America’s position. It’s because the reality is America’s position is undermined and no one needs to understand that more than Americans.”

But really, when you truly think about it, Al Jazeera English is the perfect example of thinking globally and acting locally. The station’s producers have taken global thinking and given Americans an outlet to which we can apply our knowledge.

As an American military officer sums up the blocking of Al Jazeera English: “I think it’s ludicrous. … It’s another outlet. … It’s a disservice to Americans, who, unfortunately I’m seeing, are becoming more and more insulated, more and more insular.”

So apply yourselves, Americans.

For more information, I highly recommend viewing Frontline’s “War of Ideas.” The quotations featured in this post are extracted from this excellent broadcast.

Posted by: globalmusings | October 23, 2007

It is Inevitable

It seems like, every day, there is talk of a new conflict between foreign powers.  Some one claims a particular plot of land as their own and this causes other nations to threaten war.  This is nothing new.  After all, there have been wars longer than there has been a written history.  However, with each generation, the idea and scope of war become more and more frightening.  We live in an age where communication is instantaneous.  People click on an icon and a message appears.  Processes that took several months just a generation ago can now be accomplished in weeks.  Obviously, this is progress at work.  However, something vital is lost when communication is limited to a 30-second sound byte.  Forethought. 

Before, messages took ages to write and distribute.  By necessity, people had to think carefully about what they wanted to say and how they wanted to say it.  This quiet period of reflection gave them time to weigh options before making final decisions.  Now, however, inspiring a nation to go to war is as simple as posting a note on Facebook.  We at Globalmusings fear what will happen when globalization runs its full course and several nations act as one completely connected entity.  In that scenario, who will act as the voice of reason?  Who will stop and ask questions before charging in?  As the lines that divide nations continue to blur, we should always remember that differences are not necessarily bad.  Uniqueness is not inherently evil.  Sometimes, a new perspective is vital to making decisions and coming up with ideas.  If we all hold the same values and expectations however, the well of ideas will eventually run dry. 

            During the Cold War era, people were frightened that someone in charge would press the wrong button and end the world.  What is worrisome is that the weapons and technology that our parents and grandparents feared is old to us now.  We have much newer and faster ways to destroy ourselves.  As fast as we are progressing, we must never forget the history of the World Wars and other such conflicts.  We have not evolved to the point where war is no longer an option.  We have merely made war move faster than before. 

Reference

“Globalization” Wikipedia.org <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization&gt;

Posted by: globalmusings | October 16, 2007

And Understanding Thy Neighbor

Interestingly, thinking globally can indeed help you act locally. Now, we don’t want to appear completely consumed with being all-American thinking all of the time. Life just doesn’t work like that, and we understand this. We must all think globally to make the equation (and the phrase) valid.

MulticulturalismLast week, we discussed hate crimes. To clarify, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, a hate crime, “also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.” So, these crimes are committed against a group of people which the attacker likely does not understand.

Hate crimes are composed of blindness. And this is why thinking globally becomes so important. We need to read up, learn, understand, and appreciate all of the beautiful countries of the world.

Keep in mind that, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book 2007, only 82% of Americans speak English. That’s an enormous chunk of individuals left over who reside in the US and with whom we need to learn to communicate.

So, open a book, a web browser, and your mind to learn something today about someone who’s likely sitting near you. After all, what did a little global thinking ever do to anybody?

Resources

“The World Factbook.” The Central Intelligence Agency. 16 October 2007 <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/&gt;.

“Hate Crime.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation. 16 October 2007 <http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/hate_crime/index.htmll&gt;.

Image courtesy:

“Canada Celebrates Multiculturalism.” The Salvation Army in Canada. 27 June 2006. 16 October 2007 <http://www.salvationarmy.ca/2006/06/27/canada-celebrates-multiculturalism/&gt;.

Posted by: globalmusings | October 9, 2007

Love Thy Neighbor

In our previous post, we touched on the idea of helping people thousands of miles away while simultaneously ignoring the plight of those standing right next to us. This entry takes the problem even further.

In 2005, police reported 7,163 hate crimes nationwide. This was down from 2004’s 7,649. According to World Net Daily,

Race-based criminal activity accounted for 54.7 percent of hate crimes last year [2005], up slightly from 52.9 percent in 2004, the FBI found.

Another 17 percent of hate crimes in 2005 targeted victims for their religious beliefs, and 14.2 percent for their sexual orientation.

Victims were assaulted in more than half – 50.7 percent – of the hate crime cases against people. Six people were murdered and another three were raped in reported hate crimes last year [2005]. The rest of the victims, or 48.9 percent, were intimidated, the report shows. The FBI also looked at hate crime incidents that targeted property, with 81.3 percent of cases resulting in damage, destruction or vandalism. “

We are not discussing some third world country with no telephones or access to the internet. This is America, one of the greatest and most developed nations on the planet. In America, we still have to deal with over 7,000 hate crimes per year. And, keep in mind, these are only the cases that the police reported. This may not cover the full extent of the problem.

A lot of the trouble with hatred and unity begin when people start asking about what is considered prejudice. To illustrate, the website mentioned above goes on to say, in different articles, that Mexican gangs are a threat to American civilization and that race is not a significant factor in most hate crimes when, clearly, the statistics they presented say that this is not true. Is this site prejudiced or merely stating one side of the argument?

This is the bulk of the problem.

It is 2007 and people still aren’t sure about the nature of a hate crime. What makes one, who does it and why are they still open for debate. The following questions sums the obstruction to co-existence up: How can people hope to accept the views and values of other cultures when there is so much turbulence in their own?

How can we honestly say that they are willing to form relationships, business or otherwise, with the global community when our own communities are tearing at each other everyday? The idea that, somehow, we can accept people so different from us that everything they do is considered foreign makes absolutely no sense when weighed with the fact that we can’t even deal with what our brothers do domestically.

“American Jews top hate-crime targets: Outnumber Muslim victims by 7-1 ratio, FBI stats show.” WorldNetDaily 23 Oct.2006. 08 Oct. 2007 <http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52568&gt;

Posted by: globalmusings | October 2, 2007

Homelessness, Bums, and Ways to Make It All Better

So, I begin this post with a few very wise words from an unlikely source:

We’re in one of the richest countries in the world, but the minimum wage is lower than it was thirty five years ago. There are homeless people everywhere. People love to judge homeless guys. Like if you give them money they’re just going to waste it. Well, he lives in a box, what do you want him to do? Save it up and buy a wall unit? Take a little run to the store for a throw rug and a CD rack? He’s homeless. I walked behind this guy the other day. A homeless guy asked him for money. He looks right at the homeless guy and says; “Why don’t you go get a job, you bum?” People always say that to homeless guys, like it’s so easy. This homeless guy was wearing his underwear outside his pants. Outside his pants. I’m guessing his resume ain’t all up to date. I’m predicting some problems during the interview process. I’m pretty sure even McDonald’s has an “underwear goes inside the pants” policy. Not that they enforce it very strictly, but technically I’m sure it’s on the books. — from Underwear Goes Inside the Pants by Lazyboy

Sure, the lyrics are from an angry rap composition from a white male with a smoker’s voice, but he makes a few very excellent points. The truth is, with many more companies finding the profit by outsourcing their labor, many Americans will have to face this idea of poverty and/or homelessness in the future.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless:

Not only have wages stagnated or declined over the last two decades, but also job stability and job security have deteriorated. The share of workers in “long Homelessnessterm jobs” (those lasting at least 10 years) fell sharply between 1979 and 1996, with the worst deterioration taking place since the end of the 1980s (qtd. in National Coalition for the Homeless). Another measure of job stability, involuntary job loss, has increased in recent years. Displaced workers face difficulty finding new employment; when they do find work, their new jobs pay, on average, about 13% less than the jobs they lost. And more than one-fourth of those who had health insurance on their old jobs don’t have it at their new ones (qtd. in National Coalition for the Homeless).

A little more frightening than you thought it was, right? So why is it that we’re so worried about globalizating our nation? Sure, sure. It’s important to stay up to date with what other countries are doing, but human life and health shouldn’t be less important than a global race to see who has the most awesome technology. C’mon, America. Where are your priorities?

RESOURCES

“Employment and Homelessness.” The National Coalitition for the Homeless. May 2007. 01 October 2007 <http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/employment.html&gt;.

Lazyboy. “Underwear Goes Inside the Pants.” Lazyboy TV. Asylum, 2004.

Posted by: globalmusings | September 13, 2007

First Impressions…

Globalization-

1) Noun-growth to a global or worldwide scale; “the globalization of the communication industry”

2) Noun-The tendency of investment funds and businesses to move beyond domestic and national markets to other markets around the globe, thereby increasing the interconnectedness of different markets.

In the modern world, many people hail globalization as the end all, be all of creation. They claim that globalization is the only way to ensure that every nation will have a chance to compete equally with the rest of the world. The only downside present is the fact that many nations are lagging behind industrially. That matters not. Eventually, they will catch up to the rest of the world. We at GlobalMusings are not of this mindset. We worry every day that, while nations are waiting to industrialize, people are being forgotten, at home and abroad. We worry about a world where it is easier to contact a man thousands of miles away than to start a conversation with a neighbor.

Indeed, we fear that neighbors are never mentioned within the globalization debate. Mostly, people focus on the national increase in wealth without addressing the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. These people focus on the benefits of globalization on a global scale without discussing what happens at home. Who eats, who does not eat; who is employed, who is unemployed; who gets brushed aside and how in the world is a poor family supposed to participate in this new global marketplace where everyone is supposedly equal?

Please do not misunderstand. We are certain that globalization has both its advantages and disadvantages, just like any other idea in life. In fact, we intend to discuss both of these sides in the coming months. We in no way believe that globalization is the devil’s spawn. However, when people act as though a computer and a bank account will end all world problems, we are forced to grant Lucifer some parental rights. We feel that, given the social and religious history of the United States, the little guy (the poor and disenfranchised) is worth remembering, worth focusing on. Business owners have a voice. They have always had a voice. The weak, on the other hand, have historically not been heard. As such, we have decided to give the weak the spotlight. Granted, others will be present on stage, but the weak will definitely be at the center.

 

 

“globalization.” WordNet® 3.0. Princeton University. 19 Sep. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/globalization>.

“globalization.” Investopedia.com. Investopedia Inc. 19 Sep. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/globalization>.

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