IntroductionThe dominance of consumer culture that is mademore powerful with the advent of popular culture in the society.
Consumerism isone of the biggest tools of globalization that extend the markets of thebusinesses all over the world. However, in the process of spreading materialculture through globalization, the human values and immaterial things of lifeget overshadowed. Globalization has minimized the geographical distances andcultural barriers on one hand, and has given rise to discontent via consumerismon the other hand. Also, pop culture homogenizes the distinctive culturalmarkers of a community with cultural expressions (songs, films, novels, and soon) that exercise the dominance of the Western world. Thus, the culturaldifferences are blurred in the world due to the influence of globalization.Indeed, globalization has made way for outsourcing that provides jobs to thepeople living in the underdeveloped or developing nations. The work isoutsourced from the developed nations. However, there is a huge disparity inthe pay and facilities given to the workers from the other countries where thework is outsourced.
While one can very well opine that globalization has madeway for job opportunities of people who previously struggled owing to the weakeconomies of their home countries, it cannot be denied that globalization takesthe opportunity of the weak economies to extract profit for the businesses. Theworkers in the other countries are not paid at par with people in the developednations. Thus, a cultural as well as economic dominance is established by thedominant countries.It needs to be noted that globalization leadsto the hegemonic influence of the developed nations on the developing orunderdeveloped regions of the globe. Globalization brings about a disparity inpower hierarchy as well. The most significant impact of globalization is theprocess of cultural imperialism that goes on to undermine the differentcultures of the world so as to establish a monoculture.
Now, it needs to benoted by one and all that globalization is interlinked with capitalism.Globalization has drastically enhanced the market of the capitalist economy. Assuch, the businesses have come up with various consumer products. The dominantWestern culture goes on to undermine the diversities of other cultures so as topopularize the Western cultural practices. This in turn aids the process ofpopularizing the products of the capitalist economy. There is an endeavor tohomogenize the culture and the practices. Now, this is surely not a properthing to do. This kind of practice is only instrumental in spreading culturalimperialism and establishing wider gap of power hierarchy among the variouscommunities and nations of the world.
Globalization cannot take the liberty towipe out the cultural identity of people who hail from other parts of theglobe. It is imperative that people come to realize how the diversities of theworld and the people are getting undermined by the influence of globalization.Instead of overshadowing other ethnicities, cultures, and practices,globalization should aim to achieve a healthy cultural mesh all over the worldso as to enhance human unity in the international domain. However, the currenttrend seems to be totally different. Awareness and action would enable theneutralization of this phenomenon of cultural imperialism so as to bring in abetter future for the world.
Consumer CultureAs consumerism has come to encompass thesociety and people, there is a surmounting desire among people to get hold ofthe consumer products. These consumer products have come to become synonymouswith the concept of happiness among people of the society. The material cultureof the society has taken up a major part of the lives of people. The author goeson to explicate stories of some people’s lives and how consumerism has added totheir discontents. The article explicates how the line between necessity andluxury has been blurred in the present era of consumerism. Indeed, people’sneeds for acquiring and enjoying materialistic products are getting heightenedwith time. However, the income of the people does not get enhanced as such insynchrony with the enhancement of needs. As such, many people want to have moreconsumer products, but are unable to acquire the same due to monetary reasons.
This, in turn, gives rise to discontent among the people of the society as theyhave come to find consumerism to be synonymous with happiness in their lives.The author puts forth the view against consumerism with utmost elaboration andemphasis. Now, the technological developments have cometo make life much easier in the present times. As such, people aim to acquirethe materialistic products so as to make their lives more comfortable and easy.There is nothing wrong in desiring to make life better in every possible way.Also, it needs to be noted that necessity and luxury are relative terms as ithas no set parameter in the society among the people. While one might feel thata product is a luxury, it might actually be a necessity for other people.
Whileon one hand capitalism is criticized by many, it needs to be comprehended thatit is due to the consumer culture propagated by capitalism that common peopleget the chance to own items that would make their sustenance much better. Assuch, a mono-dimensional biased approach against consumerism would surely beflawed in the present day scenario. Indeed the phenomenon of consumerism andhappiness having become synonymous, the parameters of getting happy have seen atransformation with time where people require more and more materialistic itemsto feel happy. In this way, the concept of happiness has shifted from emotionalhappiness from relationships and arts and aesthetics to materialism and owningconsumer products.
Now, it has to be reckoned that consumerism is omnipresentin the present day world. There is no way one can deny its presence, but therehas been debate over its utility and negative impact on the society and thepeople. After going through the two articles in favor and against consumerismrespectively, one can very well comprehend that consumerism does provide theoption for the common man to acquire materialistic things that would make lifeeasier and more comfortable. It is the basic desire of every human to make hisor her life better.
As such, it is highly imperative that every man gets thechoice and opportunity to gain these consumer products that surely have thepotential to transform lives in an immense manner. While there can bediscontent among people about not being able to acquire their desired consumergoods, nonetheless, it is true that they believe that having those goods wouldmake life better. In an economic system that aims to satiate the needs of oneand all, and in the age of globalization, consumerism would only enhance itssurmounting effect with time. Late Capitalism and Global ImpactThus, thesociety has undergone a shift in paradigm since the 1970s. This paradigmaticshift has left the traditional ways of activism obsolete, and has catapultednew forms to hog the limelight in the societal dynamics. Hardt and Negri intheir seminal work, Empire, opine that this shift is very important forthe society, and it needs to be understood from a correct perspective. Theshift has occurred from the omnipotence of the Imperialist power to Imperialpower. The sovereignty of the nation has been replaced by the control societyof the world market.
The shift that is mentioned in the context of societaldynamics is also represented by the shift from modernism to postmodernism. Thusthe world has seen a transformation from an industrial economy to aninformationalized economy. A significant change is noticed in the workforce ofthe world in the Information Age. People who used to work in realms that currentlyfunction on automated systems have to hunt for work in sectors that are nothighly penetrated by automation. Another significant transformation is thewidening of the arena of resources.
Workers have to survive in the global jobmarket as the geographical boundaries are not barriers anymore. Computers arebeing used in a bid to replace human labor owing to the greater efficiency andaccuracy of the device.One of the cons of information age lies in the fact that workerslike data processors, assembly line workers, foremen and supervisors havedrastically diminished in number in the recent times.
Automation andoutsourcing have come up to replace them. The Information Age gives importanceto “mind workers”; the contemporary times make the less educated people settlefor lower wages or go for low-skill jobs. There is a stark contrast in thecondition of the production workers and service workers in the industrializednations and the developing nations. The people in the industrialized nationsoften lose their jobs as their work is outsourced to other nations, so that thecompany can save on the expenses.
The process of outsourcing is possible due tothe omnipotence of internet connectivity all over the globe. A company that hasits headquarters in the United States of Americamay depend on workers who are stationed in India for the production. Thus, onecentral office controls the functioning of several secondary offices that arespread all over the globe. From this mode of functioning emerges globalization that has takenthe world by storm.
Globalization in the age of Late Capitalism has on one sidethwarted the dream of a unified class struggle as envisaged by the Communists,while on the other side innumerable people get the opportunity to work in companiesacross the national boundaries owing to the nullification of geographicalbarriers. It has to be comprehended that the economic fate of workers does notdepend on the condition of the national economies anymore. For example, aworker in the United States of Americawas once well-paid in comparison to a worker in India. However, in the era of LateCapitalism, the communication systems have improved greatly and workers get theopportunity to compete in the global job market. Their wages are very less dependenton the condition of the individual economies of the countries they reside in.What is most striking is the level of connectivity of the people in a company.While the people work together even after being distributed across a vaststretch of geographical territory, they are primarily unconnected to each otherphysically. A company that has a distributed workforce utilizes networkinginfrastructure to connect the workforce.
The workers use a shared softwareapproach called SaaS (software as a service) so that the team members can workin unison sharing the databases of the company. Hardt and Negri opine that a new form of empire has emerged in theage of postmodernization that conforms to the new global structure and logic ofgovernmentality in the globalized world. The transformation of the world as aglobal marketplace with the global circulations make the dynamics among thenations and the populations intertwined with one another. The noveau form ofgovernmentality is, in fact, quite an anonymous structure sans any centralpoint of political and economic sustenance. Rather, there exists a network of mechanisms that saturates such reorganizations andredistributions of powers. Thus, a new form of sovereignty comes into play. Onehas to understand that this new form of global dynamics has two flip-sides toit.
On one hand, Drucker opines that this form of intertwined engagement worksin favour of productivity that in turn impedes the path of social revolutions.Not only that, the globalization of work also opens up multiple avenues for thepopulation of the developing or underdeveloped nations. This opens up modes ofemployment for the people, and adds to the continuous process of globaladvancement in terms of well-being and economy. On the other hand, according to the opinionof Hardt and Negri, the functionality of Late Capitalism has been able toincorporate and subjugate social resistance under its own development andexpansion. The omnipotence of power is not exposed as it used to be in the previoustimes. Rather, power becomes a phenomenon that remains immanent to theproduction of knowledge itself. Thus, power only shows itself in an indirectway, thus nullifying the visibility of labor oppression, if any. At thisjuncture of discussion, a definition of labor rights is necessary.
Theentitlements that are related to the role of being a worker are known as laborrights. While a number of these rights are exercised individually, the otherones come into play collectively. These rights include protection of privacy,protection from arbitrary and unjustified dismissal, a right to fair workingconditions and a right to be represented by a trade union.
All the employees ofany particular organization, irrespective of being full-time or casual workers,have the right to get an employment agreement in written form. Also, there areminimum terms and conditions which are provided by law that are needed to beprovided to the employee by the employer.In the Information Age, theemployer-employee dynamics have changed to a large extent. While the previoustimes have seen labor agitations against the employer, the global culture ofwork nearly nullifies the possibility of labor unification and agitation. Thisis good in the perspective of Capitalism as the impediments in the path ofproduction are quite less owing to the geographical spread of the workforce. Itis difficult for the workers to unite physically to raise their voice againstanything that might be unfavourable for them. The flip side of the matter isthat the workers are on the receiving end as they cannot fight for their rightsin unison. The latent agenda of Late Capitalism is to extract the services outof the workers of the lesser developed nations for the benefit of thebourgeoisie.
Thus, in the present age, when the nations are intertwined foreconomic growth, the mode of exploitation by bourgeoisie has drasticallytransformed. Global value chain comes into play for the purpose of generatingthe maximum profit for the investors. The proletariat class can also be seen asthe information workers of the present era who work day in and day out foremployers they might not have seen physically in their course of employment. Conclusion People should wish for a global andabsolute democracy that can counter the ills of global capitalism. There arethree major ways to nullify the ill-effects of global capitalism according tothe economist duo.
There should be proper thought for the purpose of achievingglobal citizenship that would end the systems whereby markets and capital arefree while people are segmented, striated and bounded to territories. Secondly,a social wage and guaranteed income for all, extending the social welfare ofthe global rich to all global citizens, ensuring that no one will starve or dieof easily treatable diseases, is something that is highly needed in the presentera. Thirdly, there has to be a right to re-appropriation. The presentscenarios of materialistic inequalities perpetuate the hierarchies born ofcapitalist exploitation and the legacy of imperialism and colonialism.
Thus,Late Capitalism is using its arsenal with all the subtlety. It is necessary toidentify the pros and cons of the realm of economic existence of the globalpopulation. The method of counterpoising the ill-effects have to be equallyadvanced and well-chalked out, so that there can be holistic growth in theambiance of Capitalism that has arguably reached the level of perfection.Workers of the world are united by the internet connectivity, but they need to’unite’ in the truest sense of the word. As Derrida opines, to comprehend andtransform a system, the constituents of that very system need to be utilized.
Humanunity can be reached using the arsenal of Late Capitalism itself by utilizingthe internet and telephonic connectivity to raise the awareness about therights of people