Monday, November 08, 2004

11 5

Dilip 11 5

Optional presentation about how globalization affects my workplace for next two combined classes; it is not for credit, but will help prepare for final assignment.

Third paper is due by the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

What were the issues of this election? Why did Bush win? How does the election relate to globalization?

Most of the rest of the world favored Kerry. Bush favors more intervention than Kerry, Bush is a greater promoter of American culture. The election may have been decided on moral issues; if it was, then this was an Olive Tree election. How do we define the Olive Tree in this election? It is made up of three moral issues: stem-cell research, gay marriage, and abortion. Gay marriage was the hottest of these issues; Ohio’s counties with the highest unemployment went to Bush. 80% of people who go to church regularly voted for Bush, and 80% who don’t attend church voted for Kerry. Faith = Olive Tree, Intelligence = Lexus; 80% of people whose priority was faith voted for Bush, 80% whose priority was a secular, scientific intelligence voted for Kerry. Our Olive Tree resembles the Middle Eastern Olive Tree the most; gay marriage and abortion aren’t important issues in Europe, but it is in Saudi Arabia. In traditional societies, religion informs political and cultural life; modernity has de-emphasized the influence of religion on daily life.

This election reveals that religion is more important in the U.S. than in Europe. In India, secular leadership de-emphasized religion after independence, but it has since come back like it has in the U.S. People who tried to motivate people through secular means were not as successful as Gandhi, who used religious language; Nehru, Gandhi’s successor, had a secular emphasis because of the division between Hindus and Muslims. Hinduism does not mobilize people to oppose abortion politically; religion in the U.S. is a positive force, motivating people to political ends. Religion advises secular decision-making, and scripture is used to justify political positions. American Olive Tree has a peculiar take on religion and morality; morality in the U.S. is not a private matter. The definition of a “good life” in the U.S. is influenced by religion; to fundamentalists, one can’t live a good life if one is indifferent to issues of abortion. Liberals believe that justice comes through fairness, equality of opportunity; the least-advantaged, most vulnerable group can get help from the government in the U.S. The debate continues about who is least-advantaged. Kerry said that his own opinion was irrelevant regarding abortion and stem cell research, Bush had a clear vision of how to act on these issues; Kerry was seen as flip-flopping because he was unwilling to promote an image of “the good life” in America. The battle for the Olive Tree is happening…culturally, this is alien to Europeans (England’s Daily Mirror’s headline suggested that the millions who voted for Bush are “dumb”). Pat Robertson/Benny Hinn’s sightings of the “Man in White” followed by requests for money or book pitches would disconcert Eurpoeans; the possibility of ambiguous connections to God makes advice on secular issues including the election through guys like Pat Robertson who claim to speak to God, possible in the U.S. In the heart of the most modern country in the world, this olive tree issue is distinct to the U.S. Bush can say he prays when he makes a decision, Kerry doesn’t say he prays, but only says he is a practicing Catholic. In Christianity, an inconsistency can be forgiven by asking God; liberals don’t forgive inconsistency. Europe and U.S. may not be going in the same direction; their destinies may not be joined. U.S. is the sole superpower, so this divergence may be cause for concern; there are no counterweights to American hegemony.

The other issue in this election has been technology; Howard Dean was able to reach people and raise more money than Kerry by Jan. 1 through the internet. Bloggers were active, they debunked the false documents presented by 60 minutes/Rather. In Philippines, cell phones were used to overthrow a President.

Appadurai – Ethnoscape is the movement of bodies; Ideascape is the movement of ideas, how they change as they move.

Technoscape – how technology moves – technology moved because it was useful to others, Zero is an example of an idea that was carried by Arabs to Europe. The invention of the Zero was revolutionary. Technology moves in modern times because it is part of the landscape of competition; labor, materials and technology are the factors of production; better technology makes a company more competitive. The difference between the advanced and less advanced is technological lag. Countries competitive with each other can trade the technology instead of the finished product; but the seller of the technology can sell them outdated machinery, and therefore keep those with the most up to date technology at an advantage. Of course, the competition in the technology business may lead others to sell up to date technology to everyone. In globalization, technology transfer is becoming smoother. India kicked IBM out because it refused to sell the latest technology to India, dumped old technology there; they now outsource and have opened boutique research labs in India. Technology transfer has changed, there are few examples of lag (Weapons technology may be the exception for nat’l security reasons).

Financescape – money moves on many tracks, two unofficial tracks worth noting – Pan-Chinese track, and the underground hevela system, which is globally supported.

Mediascape – the movement of images – the general impression is that Western countries, especially the U.S., control the world’s media. Hollywood is also an influence, as are particular products like MTV. There are also many regional centers from which images travel; Bollywood cinema is powerful in Senegal as well as India, though they are not translated from Hindi. In Afghanistan, Bollywood is also influential. Hong Kong has emerged as a powerful influence, the fight scenes in The Matrix are kung fu, weapons are less important in these scenes.

As a result, is the world becoming similar or more different? Is this leading to a homogeneous or heterogeneous world? Is diversity disappearing? Appadurai claims that globalization produces as much difference as similarity. Why does this happen? People will maintain their culture as they move; a peculiar combination of melting pot and traditional cultures is the result. America is divided into 5 groups, Indians, Asian, Hispanic, Black, and White, but there is a mixed-race category, which could include most people. Food, cultural products sold here but produced elsewhere are examples of heterogeneity resulting from globalization. Australia, U.S. looks to Asia for its future. Deterritorialization comes from a move and attempt to establish oneself in a foreign country; reterritorialization is the building of an imaginary world in a foreign country. A lack of contact with the home country can strengthen the reality of the imaginary world; imaginary world can become fossilized, a negative consequence of the imaginary world is that they become more radical, jingoistic than people in the home country; IRA is supported from overseas (Boston), other radical groups, whose actions do not effect expatriots, find support from overseas. People in the home country are more realistic, suffer the consequences of support from diasporic communities. Diasporic communities did not blend totally.

Harvey – Time-Space Compression

Our experience of time and space has been compressed. Space can be traversed quickly; people have a sense of time through breathing. Experience of time passing is different if you travel by train, which has a relaxing rhythm, and plane, which is non-stop rush. Travel by plane mirrors what is happening in the world; pace of change in life is accelerated, concerns about the future, frequent job change/retraining compresses time. Formal pleasure, doing activity for pleasure over time, is only possible with time; poets enjoy formal pleasure. In compression of time, the formal principle is gone; some moonlight to gain it, or work to support their sources of formal pleasure. People can relax on an unexpected drive or break from work.

Since 1900, agriculture went from 80% of the workforce, to 2%; today 75% in service, 22% industrial. In this society, clothing has replaced industrial goods as status symbols; one dresses to keep up with the Joneses rather than buy a toaster; durable goods don’t have the ephemeral quality of fashion. Clothes could last as long as durable goods, but fashion demands turning one’s wardrobe often. Fashion rather than function dictates the useful life of clothing. The modern economy survives on selling shirts rather than toasters, selling a lifestyle. Technology and fashion makes the lifecycle of a product or service depend on mental impressions of what they represent. Hallmark holidays have been successfully exported; France celebrates Halloween, India Valentine’s Day. Products no longer carry a life-narrative, they are acquired and disposed of too quickly. No material entity represents periods of modern life as they used to, i.e. old raincoats. When everything becomes ephemeral, people look desperately for something more firm; authorities are sought, religious revivals occur, a transcendental experience can add meaning to a modern time-compressed life.


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