Depending on who you ask, globalization can either serve as a solution to the world’s problems or as a catalyst for its inevitable downfall.
According to the latter group, globalization will pollute many nations’ unique way of life by imposing relics of the dominant culture (read: First World/American) onto non-dominant ones (read: Third World). This group of naysayers maintains that Coca-Cola and cable television will degrade the indigenous peoples of the world by replacing what these groups have used and valued for centuries with what comes cheaply and easily to those of the First World. They further reason that as globalization facilitates the consumption of high-carbonated soft drinks and Friends reruns by cultures that had previously gone without, non-dominant cultures’ authentic traditions and practices will become compromised. And worse of all, of course, stands the potential for the dominant culture to completely absorb non-dominant cultures. As a terrifying result, only one mass culture emerges, forged ahead largely by those of the First World, while those of the Third World realize that their unique customs and beliefs have become antiquated and abandoned.
However, others-which includes us here at Global Women Artisans–stand in staunch opposition to these fears. We believe that globalization has the potential to significantly improve life for some of the world’s most destitute citizens. The technology that has made globalization possible enables people in countries of relative privilege to understand the experience of debilitating poverty that far too many suffer. We hope this understanding will ignite the appetites of those who can accomplish change to actually demand it. We hope that knowing that 884 million people in the world lack access to clean water; that nearly half of the world’s children live without adequate shelter; and that two-thirds of the world’s population are illiterate will encourage the masses to work so that everyone’s basic needs are met. We believe that globalization can benefit the world’s citizens, and we hope to facilitate the connection of different corners of the world for the common good.