Samir Moussa, a musician in Sandfly, is a perfect specimen of globalization. With Lebanese and Columbian roots and ties to both cultures while living in Washington, DC, traveling to both countries, and getting exposure in different cultures with different religions and different ideologies sculpted him. Other international friends grew closer to him and formed bonds. He learned that the world was his home, not D.C.. Going to college in Toronto, academic projects in Costa Rica, peace rallies in San Francisco, etc. has opened opportunities for him in music, in film, teaching, and influential work to influence and change the world (Levin Institute, n.d., p.27-29).
I envy Samir’s experience, since I have had very limited cultural exposure. I have never left the United States. Although I have traveled around the country for work, the amount of rich cultural experiences that I have experienced are limited. I did not have a cross-cultural family. We all spoke only English. I believe that I would be a much stronger and richer person if I had lived a childhood more like Samir’s. I should have gone to school abroad. I should have sought work experiences abroad. I should not have limited myself to small-town U.S. growing up. Domestically, I should have sought positions in rich urban areas on the West Coast, the East Coast, and globally without hesitation. Hindsight is 20/20. Now, I will not be limited by local cultural constraints. I am seeing out opportunities to think bigger, be more diverse, and act globally.
Globalization for Americans has impacted other cultures, but those cultures are affecting American business as well (think of the impact of offshoring in India, China, and Indonesia on the United States). The spread of American economic and political models has also impacted cultures by creating a network of business elites and professionals around the world. American pop culture has spread globally with the spread of American influence. Beliefs and values, most importantly, have spread from the United States to the rest of the world. They have diffused among other people (Levin Institute, n.d., p.8). The beliefs of other countries come back to American culture as well. Consider how Americans are now considering changes in labor and healthcare to match more European models, and how late stage capitalism is shining a light on the problems with American policies.
Globalized professionals, highly skilled, educated, speaking multiple languages, and traveling internationally account for 15 to 25 percent of the U.S. population (Levin Institute, n.d., p.8). The Levin Institute suggests that globalization is another word for Americanization due to the proliferation of American politics and economy. Other countries model political and economic policies off of the United States policies. Much of this is transmitted through television and news (Levin Institute, n.d., p.12), although American political and economic values are transmitted globally by the United Nations and their system of development agencies (Levin Institute, n.d., p.13). Due to globalization, there have been some challenges. Cultural disputes, trade disputes (Levin Institute, n.d., p.14), and clashes of values (such as Asian and Islamic values clashing with European or American values) have been barriers to globalization (Levin Institute, n.d., p.21). Some countries, protective of their culture, are also protective of their languages (Levin Institute, n.d., p.23).
While Samir Moussa is the ideal globalized citizen, the rest of us Americans are pushing globally as well. Many of us are locally- or regionally-minded, but we see the world is getting smaller. People that are successful and transferable are multicultural and able to live globally. Companies that are able to be competitive in a global market have these global people on staff.
Levin Institute, the State University of New York. (n.d.). Globalization 101 [Ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.globalization101.org/uploads/File/Culture/cultall.pdf