Introduction

Globalization has a paramount influence on the
entire world in the present times. Globalization has had many good effects on
the various corners of the world. But, if one considers another perspective,
globalization is associated with a number of negative impacts as well. A close
introspection of the matter would make one understand the intricacies of the
negative effects of globalization. Apart from propagating unfair employment facilities,
globalization aims to spread homogeneity thereby thwarting the cultural
ambiance of the world due to constricted monetary benefits- something that can
be defined as the cultural imperialism of the modern times in human history. There
can be no dissent that the world society is constituted of various cultures and
communities that differ from one another greatly. While cultural exchange has
always been there, in the era of globalization, there seems to be a tendency to
exert the dominant force of the Western culture. Now, one needs to understand
that globalization is linked with capitalism. As such, exerting the influence
of a singular dominant culture would profit the capitalist economy of the
developed countries. So, the dominant Western culture goes on to undermine the
local cultures of the various communities. This goes on to make way for one
dominant culture that erases the cultural identity and ethnic difference of
huge number of people in this world society.

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Globalization and Its Effects

Also, one can point to the dominance of consumer
culture that is made more powerful with the advent of popular culture in the
society. Consumerism is one of the biggest tools of globalization that extend
the markets of the businesses all over the world. However, in the process of
spreading material culture through globalization, the human values and
immaterial things of life get overshadowed. Globalization has minimized the
geographical distances and cultural barriers on one hand, and has given rise to
discontent via consumerism on the other hand. Also, pop culture homogenizes the
distinctive cultural markers of a community with cultural expressions (songs,
films, novels, and so on) that exercise the dominance of the Western world.
Thus, the cultural differences are blurred in the world due to the influence of
globalization. Indeed, globalization has made way for outsourcing that provides
jobs to the people living in the underdeveloped or developing nations. The work
is outsourced from the developed nations. However, there is a huge disparity in
the pay and facilities given to the workers from the other countries where the
work is outsourced. While one can very well opine that globalization has made
way for job opportunities of people who previously struggled owing to the weak
economies of their home countries, it cannot be denied that globalization takes
the opportunity of the weak economies to extract profit for the businesses. The
workers in the other countries are not paid at par with people in the developed
nations. Thus, a cultural as well as economic dominance is established by the
dominant countries.

It needs to be noted that globalization leads
to the hegemonic influence of the developed nations on the developing or
underdeveloped regions of the globe. Globalization brings about a disparity in
power hierarchy as well. The most significant impact of globalization is the
process of cultural imperialism that goes on to undermine the different
cultures of the world so as to establish a monoculture. Now, it needs to be
noted by one and all that globalization is interlinked with capitalism.
Globalization has drastically enhanced the market of the capitalist economy. As
such, the businesses have come up with various consumer products. The dominant
Western culture goes on to undermine the diversities of other cultures so as to
popularize the Western cultural practices. This in turn aids the process of
popularizing the products of the capitalist economy. There is an endeavor to
homogenize the culture and the practices. Now, this is surely not a proper
thing to do. This kind of practice is only instrumental in spreading cultural
imperialism and establishing wider gap of power hierarchy among the various
communities and nations of the world. Globalization cannot take the liberty to
wipe out the cultural identity of people who hail from other parts of the
globe. It is imperative that people come to realize how the diversities of the
world and the people are getting undermined by the influence of globalization.
Instead of overshadowing other ethnicities, cultures, and practices,
globalization should aim to achieve a healthy cultural mesh all over the world
so as to enhance human unity in the international domain. However, the current
trend seems to be totally different. Awareness and action would enable the
neutralization of this phenomenon of cultural imperialism so as to bring in a
better future for the world.

Consumer Culture

As consumerism has come to encompass the
society and people, there is a surmounting desire among people to get hold of
the consumer products. These consumer products have come to become synonymous
with the concept of happiness among people of the society. The material culture
of the society has taken up a major part of the lives of people. The author goes
on to explicate stories of some people’s lives and how consumerism has added to
their discontents. The article explicates how the line between necessity and
luxury has been blurred in the present era of consumerism. Indeed, people’s
needs for acquiring and enjoying materialistic products are getting heightened
with time. However, the income of the people does not get enhanced as such in
synchrony with the enhancement of needs. As such, many people want to have more
consumer products, but are unable to acquire the same due to monetary reasons.
This, in turn, gives rise to discontent among the people of the society as they
have come to find consumerism to be synonymous with happiness in their lives.
The author puts forth the view against consumerism with utmost elaboration and
emphasis.

Now, the technological developments have come
to make life much easier in the present times. As such, people aim to acquire
the materialistic products so as to make their lives more comfortable and easy.
There is nothing wrong in desiring to make life better in every possible way.
Also, it needs to be noted that necessity and luxury are relative terms as it
has no set parameter in the society among the people. While one might feel that
a product is a luxury, it might actually be a necessity for other people. While
on one hand capitalism is criticized by many, it needs to be comprehended that
it is due to the consumer culture propagated by capitalism that common people
get the chance to own items that would make their sustenance much better. As
such, a mono-dimensional biased approach against consumerism would surely be
flawed in the present day scenario.

Indeed the phenomenon of consumerism and
happiness having become synonymous, the parameters of getting happy have seen a
transformation with time where people require more and more materialistic items
to feel happy. In this way, the concept of happiness has shifted from emotional
happiness from relationships and arts and aesthetics to materialism and owning
consumer products. Now, it has to be reckoned that consumerism is omnipresent
in the present day world. There is no way one can deny its presence, but there
has been debate over its utility and negative impact on the society and the
people. After going through the two articles in favor and against consumerism
respectively, one can very well comprehend that consumerism does provide the
option for the common man to acquire materialistic things that would make life
easier and more comfortable. It is the basic desire of every human to make his
or her life better. As such, it is highly imperative that every man gets the
choice and opportunity to gain these consumer products that surely have the
potential to transform lives in an immense manner. While there can be
discontent among people about not being able to acquire their desired consumer
goods, nonetheless, it is true that they believe that having those goods would
make life better. In an economic system that aims to satiate the needs of one
and all, and in the age of globalization, consumerism would only enhance its
surmounting effect with time.

Late Capitalism and Global Impact

Thus, the
society has undergone a shift in paradigm since the 1970s. This paradigmatic
shift has left the traditional ways of activism obsolete, and has catapulted
new forms to hog the limelight in the societal dynamics. Hardt and Negri in
their seminal work, Empire, opine that this shift is very important for
the society, and it needs to be understood from a correct perspective. The
shift has occurred from the omnipotence of the Imperialist power to Imperial
power. The sovereignty of the nation has been replaced by the control society
of the world market. The shift that is mentioned in the context of societal
dynamics is also represented by the shift from modernism to postmodernism. Thus
the world has seen a transformation from an industrial economy to an
informationalized economy. A significant change is noticed in the workforce of
the world in the Information Age. People who used to work in realms that currently
function on automated systems have to hunt for work in sectors that are not
highly penetrated by automation. Another significant transformation is the
widening of the arena of resources. Workers have to survive in the global job
market as the geographical boundaries are not barriers anymore. Computers are
being used in a bid to replace human labor owing to the greater efficiency and
accuracy of the device.

One of the cons of information age lies in the fact that workers
like data processors, assembly line workers, foremen and supervisors have
drastically diminished in number in the recent times. Automation and
outsourcing have come up to replace them. The Information Age gives importance
to “mind workers”; the contemporary times make the less educated people settle
for lower wages or go for low-skill jobs. There is a stark contrast in the
condition of the production workers and service workers in the industrialized
nations and the developing nations. The people in the industrialized nations
often lose their jobs as their work is outsourced to other nations, so that the
company can save on the expenses. The process of outsourcing is possible due to
the omnipotence of internet connectivity all over the globe. A company that has
its headquarters in the United States of America
may depend on workers who are stationed in India for the production. Thus, one
central office controls the functioning of several secondary offices that are
spread all over the globe.

From this mode of functioning emerges globalization that has taken
the world by storm. Globalization in the age of Late Capitalism has on one side
thwarted the dream of a unified class struggle as envisaged by the Communists,
while on the other side innumerable people get the opportunity to work in companies
across the national boundaries owing to the nullification of geographical
barriers. It has to be comprehended that the economic fate of workers does not
depend on the condition of the national economies anymore. For example, a
worker in the United States of America
was once well-paid in comparison to a worker in India. However, in the era of Late
Capitalism, the communication systems have improved greatly and workers get the
opportunity to compete in the global job market. Their wages are very less dependent
on the condition of the individual economies of the countries they reside in.
What is most striking is the level of connectivity of the people in a company.
While the people work together even after being distributed across a vast
stretch of geographical territory, they are primarily unconnected to each other
physically. A company that has a distributed workforce utilizes networking
infrastructure to connect the workforce. The workers use a shared software
approach called SaaS (software as a service) so that the team members can work
in unison sharing the databases of the company.

Hardt and Negri opine that a new form of empire has emerged in the
age of postmodernization that conforms to the new global structure and logic of
governmentality in the globalized world. The transformation of the world as a
global marketplace with the global circulations make the dynamics among the
nations and the populations intertwined with one another. The noveau form of
governmentality is, in fact, quite an anonymous structure sans any central
point of political and economic sustenance. Rather, there exists a network of mechanisms that saturates such reorganizations and
redistributions of powers. Thus, a new form of sovereignty comes into play. One
has to understand that this new form of global dynamics has two flip-sides to
it. On one hand, Drucker opines that this form of intertwined engagement works
in favour of productivity that in turn impedes the path of social revolutions.
Not only that, the globalization of work also opens up multiple avenues for the
population of the developing or underdeveloped nations. This opens up modes of
employment for the people, and adds to the continuous process of global
advancement in terms of well-being and economy.

On the other hand, according to the opinion
of Hardt and Negri, the functionality of Late Capitalism has been able to
incorporate and subjugate social resistance under its own development and
expansion. The omnipotence of power is not exposed as it used to be in the previous
times. Rather, power becomes a phenomenon that remains immanent to the
production of knowledge itself. Thus, power only shows itself in an indirect
way, thus nullifying the visibility of labor oppression, if any. At this
juncture of discussion, a definition of labor rights is necessary. The
entitlements that are related to the role of being a worker are known as labor
rights. While a number of these rights are exercised individually, the other
ones come into play collectively. These rights include protection of privacy,
protection from arbitrary and unjustified dismissal, a right to fair working
conditions and a right to be represented by a trade union. All the employees of
any particular organization, irrespective of being full-time or casual workers,
have the right to get an employment agreement in written form. Also, there are
minimum terms and conditions which are provided by law that are needed to be
provided to the employee by the employer.

In the Information Age, the
employer-employee dynamics have changed to a large extent. While the previous
times have seen labor agitations against the employer, the global culture of
work nearly nullifies the possibility of labor unification and agitation. This
is good in the perspective of Capitalism as the impediments in the path of
production are quite less owing to the geographical spread of the workforce. It
is difficult for the workers to unite physically to raise their voice against
anything that might be unfavourable for them. The flip side of the matter is
that the workers are on the receiving end as they cannot fight for their rights
in unison. The latent agenda of Late Capitalism is to extract the services out
of the workers of the lesser developed nations for the benefit of the
bourgeoisie. Thus, in the present age, when the nations are intertwined for
economic growth, the mode of exploitation by bourgeoisie has drastically
transformed. Global value chain comes into play for the purpose of generating
the maximum profit for the investors. The proletariat class can also be seen as
the information workers of the present era who work day in and day out for
employers they might not have seen physically in their course of employment.

Conclusion

People should wish for a global and
absolute democracy that can counter the ills of global capitalism. There are
three major ways to nullify the ill-effects of global capitalism according to
the economist duo. There should be proper thought for the purpose of achieving
global citizenship that would end the systems whereby markets and capital are
free while people are segmented, striated and bounded to territories. Secondly,
a social wage and guaranteed income for all, extending the social welfare of
the global rich to all global citizens, ensuring that no one will starve or die
of easily treatable diseases, is something that is highly needed in the present
era. Thirdly, there has to be a right to re-appropriation. The present
scenarios of materialistic inequalities perpetuate the hierarchies born of
capitalist exploitation and the legacy of imperialism and colonialism. Thus,
Late Capitalism is using its arsenal with all the subtlety. It is necessary to
identify the pros and cons of the realm of economic existence of the global
population. The method of counterpoising the ill-effects have to be equally
advanced and well-chalked out, so that there can be holistic growth in the
ambiance of Capitalism that has arguably reached the level of perfection.
Workers of the world are united by the internet connectivity, but they need to
‘unite’ in the truest sense of the word. As Derrida opines, to comprehend and
transform a system, the constituents of that very system need to be utilized. Human
unity can be reached using the arsenal of Late Capitalism itself by utilizing
the internet and telephonic connectivity to raise the awareness about the
rights of peopl