OUR CULTURE OUR TASTE – “GLOBALIZATION”
Over the past 20 years the word ‘globalization’ has become part of our everyday language. Globalization refers to the integration of the world’s economy. This means that there is greater freedom of movement of goods, technology, capital and people around the world. Globalization has contributed to trade liberalization, technological change, multinational corporations, culture and even changing consumer tastes and responses. Essentially, I intend to discuss the main impacts of globalization on the Caribbean culture and business.
All societies experience change. When a society experiences change, it undergoes a shift in its core values. Our previous post on culture demonstrated that there are groups in society that often have different values that those of the dominant culture due to globalization. Because of contact with other culture (i.e. globalization), the values of society are constantly exposed to the pressures of change. For example cultural diffusion is of influence on our culture today. This is the spread of cultural characteristics from one group to another. For example, there are people of the Caribbean who listen to American music, watch American television shows, and adopt American business methods. American ideas of work, leisure and democracy have spread across the Caribbean.
Initially, technology has greatly influenced Caribbean people from its existence. The developing countries of the Caribbean such as Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have greatly gained knowledge and easier access to technology for greater efficiency in the workplace and the environment. It must be mentioned that the improvements in technology including telecommunications technology and more recently the internet. With the massive increase in the number of persons who are exposed to cable network and the internet, large volumes of information spread quickly. “This telecommunications network, where it is available, underpins all other sectors of the economy and society, including banking, mining, entertainment, manufacturing, agriculture, government administration, and even small business.” (Dunn, 2005) The technologies of Information and Telecommunications today represent the largest industry and the most extensive global system in human history.
Another impact of globalization on the Caribbean is that it has put tremendous pressure on the Caribbean to meet changing local customer expectations and tastes. From the existence of the media, internet, telephone and a more liberalized pathway for multinational corporations to enter, people have over time raised their expectations of quality, price and service. Individuals can now purchase items over the internet which can be delivered to them in two days’ time. With the easier entrance of multinational corporations, people are attracted to purchase from them. For example, in Trinidad and Tobago, Payless Shoe Source and other foreign firms have been able to successfully attract substantial percentage of customers away from domestic firms such as Shoe Locker. Moreover, service oriented firms such as the School of Accounting and Management (SAM) which provides educational opportunities have been able to attract students away from local institutions such as The University of the West Indies (UWI) with its accredited Cambridge degree.
Caribbean business organizations experiences the intense competition of globalization. As a result of a more liberalized economy, foreign companies both industrial and commercial can locate in Caribbean territories like Barbados for operations. Such a movement can have dramatic effects on firms with smaller profit margins which can eventually push them out of the respective industry. In 2005, in Trinidad and Tobago the former cellular company (B-mobile) was forced to become competitive as a result of the entry of the multinational corporation, Digicel. This however, has benefited consumers through cheaper call packages such as Bmobile’s ‘talk for free after 10pm’ and Digicel’s ‘talk for free after 3 minutes’. This has greatly caused the former monopoly to incur substantial customer acquisition costs of TT$311 to expand its mobile customer base in the new liberalized industry.
Globalization provides substantial benefits to the Caribbean but also impacts on them.
Dunn, H. (2005). Globalisation from below: Caribbean cultures, global technologies and the WTO. In G. T. Christine, & K. Nurse (Eds.), Globalization, Dispora and Caribbean Popular Culture (pp. 126-134). Kingston: Ian Randle.
Adulraheem, Yusuf. (2015). “Impact of globalization on culture” http://www.academia.edu/6573965/IMPACT_OF_GLOBALIZATION_ON_CULTURE.
Patrick, Kendall. (2008). “Globalisation and the Caribbean” http://www.caribank.org/uploads/publications-reports/staff-papers/GCIA.pdf