It may sound extreme but academic language studies have proven that particular aspects of culture can and do disappear forever; even optimistic estimates suggest that as many as 90 percent of the world'slanguages will disappear in the next century.
While an important feature of globalization today is its de-Westernization (with the emergence of some non-Western nations – like Japan – as key actors), the reality is that in many important respects, Western culture (some would say American culture) remains the domineering force in the world today. Western culture fuels globalization today and, as it did during the age of imperialism and colonization, helps to reinforce the hegemony of the West. Information technology, as the driving force of economic globalization, has also become a veritable instrument for propagating Western culture.
Perhaps by far the most important far-reaching effect of cultural globalization is the commercialization of culture. Production and consumption of cultural goods and services have become commodities, along with the essentials of social life (marriage and family life, religion, work and leisure), that are the crucibles of cultural creation. In a way very similar to economic globalization, most people (and especially the poor) do not experience cultural globalization on terms they have decided for themselves. Culture – whether it is music, food, clothes, art, sport, images of age or youth, masculinity or femininity – has become a product, sold in the market place. Now ?People around the world are today connected by brand-name consumer products as much as by anything else.?
The commercialization of culture has a disturbing impact on people. What once was an element of their way of life becomes a product, rather than something unique they had made to suit their own specific needs and circumstances. At the same time, people are increasingly bombarded with new images, new music, new clothes and new values. The familiar and old are to be discarded. While there was cultural change long before globalization, there is a danger that much will be lost simply because it is not valued by global markets.
Asian countries have filled their transmissions with cost effective Western produced shows, superficial news broadcasts, quiz shows and, of course, advertisements. Consequently, TV programs all over the world resemble each other.
Consequently, it has been observed, globalize ?cultural? industries are taking over traditional forms of creation and dissemination of culture. Local culture'srole as a spontaneous and integral part of people'slife is eroded and it ceases to serve as the means of constructing societal values, reproducing group identity and building social cohesion. The end result becomes global integration at the expense of local disintegration.
As with other markets, the players of the cultural market place are unevenly matched. Global media is increasingly in the hands of a few, large, powerful organizations, as is the production of music and film. For example, by 1997, the MTV television station was available to 280 million households in over 70 countries. Fearing a loss of viewers, local television stations in many Asian countries have filled their transmissions with cost effective Western produced shows, superficial news broadcasts, quiz shows and, of course, advertisements. Consequently, TV programs all over the world resemble each other more and more and so do the products in the field of music, film industry and publishing companies.
The common aspect of the globalize culture is that it pursues the same ?one size fits all? Ideal: the archetypical middle-class family according to the Indian models in which consumerism is the norm. The result of this cultural process of homogenization is that a large section of the world'spopulation dreams of living like the characters in any other stereotype American soap opera. In addition, the dream of living a better life causes thousands of people to move to already overcrowded cities likeMumbai, Bangalore'ssprawling commercial capital; this city has grown from a population. The majority of these new immigrants end up in slum quarters leading to poverty, pollution and misery.
Such a radical undermining of people'sexisting values and cultures has a corrosive impact on their sense of which they are, what they want and what they respect. It attacks spiritual values and faith traditions. The cumulative effect in Asia is a crisis of cultural confidence, combined with the increased economic uncertainty and crime which global integration often brings. This creates real problems for social solidarity, whether it is at the level of nation, community or family. While it offers shiny new goods as compared to old faded ones, the market offers no replacement for such community solidarity.
In conclusion, cultural globalization, or worldwide McDonaldization, destroys diversity and displaces the opportunity to sustain decent human life through an assortment of many different cultures. It is more a consequence of power concentration in the global media and manufacturing companies than the people'sown wish to abandon their cultural identity and diversity.