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Communication& IT technology and Globalization

Introduction

Authors and scholars have quite varying views regarding globalization. To some of the authors, it refers to the emergence of institutions whose choices and decisions shape the policies of other states and nations. For other authors it means the impact of the worldwide economic processes that include production, capital flow, consumption, monetary interdependence, and trade. Some authors take globalization as the emergence neoliberalism as a policy disclosure. To some scholars, globalization refers to the rise of new global media, cultural, and technological forms of communication that shape the relations of interaction and identity across and within a local cultural setting.[1]

 Information Communication Technology (or ICT) on the other hand involves the technology that people use to spread information and communicate. Such technologies include films, television, radio, mobile phones, Facebook, YouTube, and many others. Multiple literatures suggest that the communication technology has negative and positive cultures all over the world. Communication technology directs globalization and as such, people tend to think it is a force for the bad. Both Globalization and ICT have positive and negative effects on almost equal measure.[2]

Interaction of globalization and communication technology

The fast spread of globalization can to a large extent be attributed to the advances made in communication and information technology. Globalization has, as a result, brought enhanced transparency worldwide. Different governments can exchange research, analysis, data, and reports instantly. The exchange of such files has led to improved cooperation among countries. 

The occurrence of multi-national brands all over the world is a manifestation of globalization. Companies such as Nike and Coca-Cola are present in many countries. For the companies to conduct their activities efficiently, they depend to a large extent on communication technology.[3]

One of the innovations in ICT is the web-conferencing. Web-conferencing has made it possible for business persons and customers to interact in better ways. The achievements and developments in the business industry could not have been ever possible without effective communication system that is present today. An example of the effectiveness of the communication system is the surge of outsourcing witnessed in the last decade. Many US companies save about 40% of their expenses by taking their billing, customer services, and back-office offshore.[4]

The impacts of globalization and communication technology are well manifested in the education sector. Many students can now access information with ease by using the internet. Students can acquire certifications and education from foreign universities by enrolling in online programs. The result is a marked difference on how education impacts as well as improved quality.

Globalization impacts on the banking industry are prominent and most of the banks are streamlining through effective communication means. The innovations have led to the banking sector as leading banks in the world have offices in most of the countries in the world. 

Although the effects of communication technology are more positive, the technology has brought some challenges. There is a variation in terms of access to technology between the developing and the developed countries. The developing nations are short of resources and infrastructure. The lack of resources and infrastructure is disadvantageous as it leads to economic disparity which would have otherwise sealed by the benefits of ICT.

Globalization is not exclusive as it involves the whole world. It will be of importance if corrective measures are adopted to ensure that the weak in the society are not abandoned. Developing nations especially from Africa are progressing due to ICT. The countries are taking steps in ensuring that their citizens are aware of the latest communication technology developments. Several factors have such as ICT have contributed to globalization. Communication technology, however, is crucial in spreading globalization. The challenges associated with this disparity can be tackled by having more innovations in information and communication technology.[5]

Benefits of ICT on Development

The present world is talked about as of democracy, globalization, and technology advancement. All the three are impossible without communication technology. It, therefore, means that one has to look at the uses of things such as books, newspapers, radio, TV, and movies in order to understand how communication technology has shaped and defined the world. It is impossible to talk of economic and cultural globalization without examining the role TV, media files, internet, and communication technology as a whole in spreading them.[6]

The emergence of ICT has brought significant cultural, economic, and business effects. In term of conducting businesses, the contribution is beneficial. Despite the problems resulting from the digital divide, it is common to find African farmers and entrepreneurs using the internet and mobile phones to connect to the markets. Research has shown that businesses that use emails in communicating their suppliers have sales 3.5% higher than those that do not. Businesses that use emails also get high profits while each of their employees contributes a value of about $3400.[7]

The internet helps in improving the economic conditions of poor countries. The internet helps the businesses connect to both international and local markets. The report reveals a massive link between trade development and internet access. The countries that had earlier weak trade links benefit the most. In short, communication technology such as the internet contributes much to the developing countries. Communication technology can widen or bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Negative effects of ICT

Digital divide

The digital divide accounts for the gap that exists between the people who access internet and those who do not. There is an anxiety that the developed and rich countries that have access to communication and information technology can take the advantage and exploit the underdeveloped and developing nations. Manuel Castells referred to the internet as an organizational form and technology tool that generates knowledge, distributes information power and networking abilities in all activities. Manuel argued that being disconnected from the internet marginalizes the victims from a crucial network. In trying to achieve developments while segregated, from the network is comparable to the need to industrialize in the industrial generation while lacking electricity.[8]

Isolation from communication technology is a negative influence that businesses and development in the world can have. ICT changes the way of doing business by replacing the old methods with the new ones. New global cultures and economies that based on virtual reality are being introduced and with them new methods of making wealth. The realities arevirtual, but the experiences are real because electronic communication drives it. It links up people, shapes politics, forms opinions, and helps in nurturing people dreams. Communication technology is transforming social relations and exclusion or inclusion from it accounts for empowerment or victimization.[9]

ICT is powerful to the extent that revolutionary overthrow of the Arab government is thought to have been facilitated by the technology. Without the ICT, Arabs could not have formed the transnational coalitions that brought cooperation at the grassroots level resulting to the Arab Spring. The communications technology can help ouster bad governments such as Libya and Egypt countries in Africa. The ouster of the governments is to try and bring political stability and sanity. Its influence can, therefore, be neither termed bad or good in helping nations achieve peace.[10]

Global culture and media

The evolution of ICT such as the global media system and the internet has serious political and cultural implications. The evolution will bring democracy (in the Arab spring) or worse cause political resistance. One important issue associated with the use of communication technologies is the Americanization or cultural imperialism.

Cultural imperialism

There exist the argument that globalization of mass media promotes a cultural ideologyof capitalist consumerism with its associated values. More than eighty percent of world news is collected and transmitted by five main media agencies. The news is controlled by US or Western interests for profit generation while only a quarter of the news concernsthe developing nations. Most people view it as an attempt to promote Pan-Euro-American lifestyles and values. The system weakens local cultures leading to cultural homogenization.[11]

Critical to the argument is the dominance of US global media that promotes Americanization over local cultures.  The globalization of cultures has, therefore, becomes Americanization through the use global media dominance in commoditizing culture as the lead to gains of its business owners. Culture is important in modeling economic, political, and social traits of a society. When a culture is commoditized to be an off the shelf product, the products carry the characteristics and identity of the producers. Consumption of the products makesresults to exploitation and manipulation. As an example, the consumption of US items such as the Hollywood movies is adopting their culture and the associated value system.[12]

Some nations are much worried by the spread of Americanization culture. In 1998, twenty culture ministers from different nations such as Brazil, Spain, South Africa, and Korea, met in Ottawa. The ministers were to discuss on morderatiesthat could help create ground rules that would protect their cultures from being eroded by Hollywood products. The aim of the meeting was to exempt culture out of the WTO regulations, to keep it out of the global trade. It was not about undeveloped versus developed or westernization. France is cultural nationalist with 9 of its ten best films produced by Hollywood, but does not appreciate that fact.[13]

The Americanization and spreading globalization culture theory does not have critics who assert that the cultural interaction is not passive. The passive process is where the receivers of the US culture are passive recipients. The interaction is, however, active and utilized through local cultural means. The truth is that the culture has no differing homogeneity. Holton referred it as hybridization of culture and it, therefore, becomes less of westernization or Americanization as it mixes everything and everyone.[14]

Globalization according to Bertelsmann CEO, Thomas Middelhoff, should not be seen as negative. He was once told that it is absurd for German companies to take control of about 15% of the American music markets and book publishing. He replied by saying the company is not foreign, but international; he is American but in possession of a German passport. He further said that the company is neither American nor German as it conducts its businesses globally.

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