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Eureka: Why globalization is being rejected
by Jay Gutman
2017-01-24 09:35:15
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I’m part of a generation that has “international” written all over our degrees. International languages, international business, international economics, international relations. The schools I went to promised us we would be “world leaders.” Back then globalization was mainly “Americanization.”  

globe01_400_01For many globalization meant Americanization and those who were not American had trouble being hired by companies. For many companies globalization meant having a couple of lucky Americans seated at the entrance of the company watching YouTube videos on their computer screens while being paid decent salaries, just so those who visited the company could be under the impression that the corporation was embracing globalization. Those of us with Israeli or Algerian passports could not get those slackers’ dream jobs.

The good news is Globalization is alive and well, but people are starting to understand that globalization is not just Americanization. In 2005 when Shakira’s la tortura, sang entirely in Spanish, became a feature video on MTV, I was surprised a song not sang in English made it to the top of the charts. In 2017, it’s not uncommon for teenagers to have songs in dozens of languages, from artists from dozens of countries, with the new trend being to play instruments that no one knew existed a few years ago.

But it’s not just music. Restaurants, pubs, cafés and designer brands are competing. I see new brands every day, from countries I sometimes knew existed but knew little else about. I just saw a Korean company, with Koreans once reputed to shun hiring non-Koreans, entirely run by non-Koreans with the only Korean being the CEO. The company sells phone cards to non-Koreans living in Korea, and the niche is non-Koreans living in Korea whose families don’t have internet access and who have to use phone calls to call their families.

Let me be concise though. Yesterday’s globalization was one where English was the dominant language and where the American way of operating, be it in management techniques, technology or accounting was viewed as the best way to go about. American clothing brands were dominant, although some European brands were competing, then Japanese brands came along. American coffee houses and pizza places along with fast-food joints dominated the scenes. Today, the market is flooded with brands from all around, almost every country has its own fast-food joint, pizza place franchise or café brand.

In the Algerian street where I live you have a Tunisian-owned fashion brand shop, a cosmetics business owned by a Spanish couple and a construction site where workers are from Mali, Chad, Niger and even as far away as Cameroon are the construction workers. The brands represented are from all over, from China to Italy to elsewhere. The Algerian immigration services, once located at the airport, now operate at a distinct venue, and it’s always packed. Algeria’s not the dream immigration venue one would think, yet you now see foreigners everywhere.

To be very concise. Yesterday’s globalization meant a few big American, European, Japanese or Korean brands and a few exotic restaurants. Today’s globalization means brands from all over the world, international couples, the internationalization of the workplace and the internationalization of commerce.

Where do nation-states stand with all this? Look at Canada’s government. That could give you of few hints of what future governments may look like. Governments with many ministers born outside the country, where even more ministers had parents who were born outside the country.

So the next Eureka series articles will comment the trends I see in the new wave of globalization. The new management trends that are replacing the old American-style trends. The new language-learning trends. The new fashion trends, the new food trends, new production and distribution trends and so on. Stay tuned.   

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Emanuel Paparella2017-01-24 10:12:11
The necessary other side of the coin:

there is another glaring reason why globalization, American style or not, is being rejected by the new populism characterized by xenophobia and rabid nationalism passing as patriotism: that is the lack of distributive justice. The notion that Deamericanization will cure that discontent is an illusion within a delusion. Good luck.

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