A Travellerspoint blog

#9: Globalization

Here, there, and everywhere...

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glob•al•i•za•tion [gloh-buh-luh-zey-shuhn]
noun
1. the act of globalizing, or extending to other or all parts of the world: the globalization of manufacturing.
2. worldwide integration and development: Globablization has resulted in the loss of some individual cultural identities.

I feel like the sandwich is as American as you can get. It’s portable – perfect for a fast-paced life. It’s a finger-food – no fancy, aristocratic manners for a BLT, ma’am. It’s customizable – top-notch for our individualistic culture. Behold, the American sandwich.

And behold, a Subway in Germany. Ok, so we were in a major tourist trap in Heidelberg. However, that Eat Fresh sign shocked me. It was so…non-German.

This is the face of globalization. Rather, McDonalds and Coca Cola are the faces of globalization. Yet to see something so American as Subway in a German town took me by surprise. I was expecting to see lots of sausage shops, and of course lots of beer. Poor Subway just stuck out like a sore thumb.

Globalization is what happens when a product or idea moves from one part of the world to another. For example, McDonalds. I can attest that it’s everywhere. Like, everywhere.

It makes sense that companies want to expand their empires. They want to move products around in order to gain a larger base of buyers. However, one must remember the culture of the new target audience. For what may be of great value in America may not be as highly esteemed in Bangladesh.

The only people I saw in the Subway shack looked American. If you go to Germany, you want to experience what they esteem. They don’t hold sandwiches in such high honor as do we in the States. Most tourists (Americans included) seemed to gravitate towards the chocolate-covered pastries, the sausage links, and the mugs of beer.

Globalization is a funny thing. It’s product-based, but products don’t always hit it off as well in the secondary cultures. In America, for example, McDonalds appeals to everyone but vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who watched the “Food, Inc.” documentary. In India, however, this foreign entity is more of a show of wealth than a casual dining experience. And the food has had to have been rethought based on customer’s religious requirements. Wherever globalization exists, there’s a give-and-take of culture and consumerism.

The standards of the receptor culture may not hold to the same values as the incoming product, and will have to change or modify their values to ensure that the incoming business will be of some use. The incoming business therefore has to change, either in marketing strategies, target audience, or other means. It’s a constant give-and-take. But that’s part of globalization.

Posted by klewis91 22:51 Archived in Germany

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