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Negative effects of globalization on culture

Updated April 17, 2017

Globalisation is not easily defined. For some, it is a positive process leading to shared social values worldwide. For others, the term has a negative meaning, and critics see it as marginalising less dominant cultures, particularly those in the developing world. Some critics refer to it as the "McDonaldization" of culture, due to global advertising campaigns that undermine cultural diversity.

Consumerism

Large multinational companies promote their products globally, and there are few countries where the logos for Coca-Cola and Nike haven't appeared. The negative effect of global marketing is that local companies are edged out of the market and the multinational companies impose American or European consumer trends on other cultures. Similarly, the fast food industry promotes values of production efficiency. As a result, traditional cuisine appears less cost-effective and profitable than fast food, causing traditional food outlets to lose business.

Western Ideals

Another criticism is that Western nations, particularly the United States, impose cultural values on others through media and popular culture. Critics of globalisation call this "cultural imperialism," because the West promotes its culture as having more worth, or being more correct, than other regions' cultural values. The domination of news media and Internet services by Western companies, helps maintain this influence over local views, according to critics.

Language

Language is a key expression of cultural diversity. Critics of globalisation claim it marginalises some languages and may even cause some languages to die out. Others say this is a myth. Because the world´s dominant economies speak English, it is often seen as the main culprit in making other languages less important. Certainly, English is widely used as a second or third language, and this helps the globalisation of business trade; however, if business communities see more benefits in speaking Spanish or Chinese, they learn those instead.

Poverty

Some United Nations members, including the Vatican City, claim that globalisation increases poverty amongst young people, the old, women, indigenous peoples and migrants, which has a cultural impact. A representative from Cuba said one result of globalisation was that 20 per cent of the world population consumed 80 per cent of global production, leaving 80 per cent of the population in increased poverty. One way to reduce poverty in these groups is for wealthy nations to accept more imports from developing countries.

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About the Author

Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.