Globalization versus Global Modernization

Junto By Junto, 25th Apr 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

An essay about the difference between globalization and global modernization, with a look at specific instances of both and their ramifications.

Globalization vs Global Modernization

There is always a mass of confusion surrounding the difference between modernization and globalization. However, the difference is a simple concept when properly explained. Modernization is a choice made by a less-advanced group of people to take advantage of their choice of modern technology, medicine, transportation, and communication, and to integrate it into their lives. Globalization is a choice made by governments and businesses to take advantage of under-developed peoples or regions as new and exclusive business markets in an attempt to gain an advantage over other companies or countries.

Modernization is beneficial to the communities that choose to accept it. Basic diseases that have all but died out in the modern world, such as mumps, measles, polio, and smallpox are defeated through vaccinations. Infections that could lead to amputations or death are properly sanitized and treated with antibiotics. People who would die from simple farming accidents are able to live and support their families.

Modern sanitation also cuts down on disease, sweeping bacteria-ridden filth away from common water sources and other easily contaminated areas. Running water not only provides people with sanitary lifestyles, it provides for irrigation, which can be essential in many parts of Asia and Africa where sanitary water systems barely exist and a yearly cycle of famine kills a fair number of the local population, mostly children, each year.

Proper use of modern education, such as reading, writing, and basic mathematics provides cultures with basic tools for self-improvement as well. The general population may be made up of people with specific skills and trades, such as farmers and smiths. Basic education creates a common base of practical knowledge and a record of that knowledge for use by later generations.

Modernization has been abused by many governments as a way of instating globalization into a given area. They market products that people do not need and introduce the ideas of wealth and poverty into areas where most people lived on an equal level with one another since they began living there. This destroys indigenous areas and often leads to an imbalance of technology and money.

Many places in Africa still have feudal governments and tribal warfare. Those styles of government have been all but extinct for the past three hundred years, but a rapid modernization and abuse of many regions by various European empires has only sufficed to introduce an elevated concept of wealth and modern military weapons. This imbalance is a major cause of tribal warfare that leaves many people devastated and desperately poor in its wake.
James Dunnigan makes a point about modern groups and their continuing influence on African culture.

Africa has the largest number of active tribes on the planet, over 500 at last count. The nations of Africa are artificial creations, put together by European colonial powers in the late 19th century. In the 1950s and 60s, most of these colonies were given their freedom.
These new nations still had their tribes, plus poverty and weak legal systems. The colonial powers enforced peace, often with guns, but also with thousands of bureaucrats imported from Europe. After independence, most of these bureaucrats went home.

The avenues taken for modern globalization by countries and companies are based on the concepts of free trade, laissez-faire, and extremely low wages for third world employees. These paths enable the least amount of outside interference in the production, marketing, and shipping of products manufactured in areas that were once rural, often with indigenous populations. These populations are hired on by the factories and marketed to by the smaller businesses that move into the area, such as fast food chains, oil companies, and automobile manufacturers. The people in the area often have little choice about whether or not they would like the factory to be built there.

The most famous example of corporate abuse of a formerly indigenous region is the Nike factory in Indonesia. Workers there, before all of the media focus, were typical of a third-world corporate factory. They were supplied with a barely or completely unlivable wage, children worked full shifts, and factory accidents only led to the victim being fired. Jason Mark suggests that it doesn’t help Nike’s case that the factory employs 100,000 local workers and isn’t required to keep health and safety records (2).

For a practical example of the situation, look at Ladakh, covered extensively in Helena Norbert-Hodge’s article “The Pressure to Modernise”. In 1962 the Indian Army built a road through the region. The locals had little choice in the construction of the road. Norbert-Hodge goes on to blame the road, and the influx of modern tourists it brought with it, for the Ladakhis perceiving themselves as poor, and their lives seeming “primitive, silly, and inefficient” (Norbert-Hodge, 5).

The citizens of Ladakh had to accept the road, but they had a choice to accept the whole of modern India on their doorstep. There is little evidence, if any, in the article that the locals refused to give up any part of their traditional family property so that a store or gas station could be built. There is also a lack of evidence that they refused tourist interaction or made any number of other choices to keep to themselves.

These choices can’t be impossible. Even in the United States, the Amish willingly choose not to modernize and have done so, despite the advantages, for hundreds of years as the country experiences technological booms all around them. Ladakhis are loosing their population, especially teenage males, who yearn to leave and find modern jobs that make money. On the other end of the spectrum, the speed at which people have been leaving Amish communities has steadily decreased in the twentieth century (Donnermeyer and Cooksey 6). With a less advanced culture thriving right in the middle of so much Western influence, it becomes clear that a conscious choice, rather than a reaction, concerning the level of acceptance of an outside culture is something that many cultures overlook at their own loss.

Another group similar to the Amish is the Baduy tribe from Indonesia. Most of them absolutely do not interact with the outside world, even in emergency situations. They live in a country that’s being flooded by factories for global corporations and a rise in Western influence and yet they still live on in a very practical, simple jungle existence.
Some people don’t see any advantage to the choice to accept some aspects of modern culture, while retaining cultural integrity and tradition. Any interference is seen as abhorrent and destructive, even the introduction of medicine. If a culture has access to modern medicine it vastly improves their quality of life and their survivability in small farm accidents. Denying that this is an improvement to their culture is an apathetic point of view that disregards the emotional and social problems of loosing a family member or provider, a role which is phenomenally more important in rural and indigenous cultures than in most of Western Society.

With such beautiful cultures existing unchanged through hundreds of years, even with the option, or pressure to change and adapt, “Western Culture” is hard to blame for being the sole destroyer of one group after another. The indigenous groups, if given the choice without governmental or corporate force, should be able to find a peaceful balance with the outside world. With a conscious choice, rather than a reaction to outside influences, cultures can flourish and prosper, carrying on their traditions for generations to come.

Works Cited
- Donnermeyer, Joseph F, and Elizabeth C. Cooksey. The Demographic Foundations of Amish Society. Rural Sociological Society, Aug. 11-15, 2004

- Dunnigan, James. “Tribal Violence” 24 Sept. 2001 <>

- Mark, Jason. “Nike & Labor Rights.” Global Exchange Aug. 2002

- Norbert-Hodge, Helena. “The Pressure to Modernise.” The Future Of Progress 1992


Globalization, India, Ladakh, Modernise, Modernization, Modernize, Tribal, Tribe, Tribes

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author avatar Junto
I'm a college student from Oregon. I've always had a knack for writing and I currently focus on analytical, argumentative, and general essay-based writing. I'm experimenting with fiction, dialogue, and screenplay writing as well. I am active as a mil...(more)

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author avatar qiwoman
25th Apr 2010 (#)

I loved your article that is why I am a great Advocate for GNH or Gross National Happiness..The Bhutanese have got it right.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
22nd May 2011 (#)

Thank you for such an enlightening article. Globalization is a scourge upon the earth. The free-trade, free-market system is destroying indigenous cultures and killing the planet.

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author avatar vpaulose
26th May 2011 (#)

Great analysis. Thank you Junto.

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author avatar Brayson hillary
1st Jun 2011 (#)

your are so good indeed

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6th May 2012 (#)

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4th May 2014 (#)

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author avatar Baraka David
4th May 2014 (#)

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