Thursday, September 19, 2013

Good News: Globalization Crushing Family Farms

The costs of fetishizing the local at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geographic stereotypes.

Subject Article: "Japan's Rice Farmers See Trade Deal As Threat To Tradition."

Other Links: 1. "25 Years Of Aid For Farm Aid."
2. "The Yoeman."
3. "José Bové vs. McDonald's: The Making of a National Hero in the French Anti-Globalization Movement."
4. "Dissimilar Climate, Similar Cuisine."
5. "World History of Food: Rice and Staple Food."

Postscript: This post is my retort to the overdramatization of cultural imperialism and homogenization at the hands of globalization. Benjamin Barber with the ill-defined concern:

The new technology's software is perhaps even more globalizing than its hardware. The information arm of international commerce's sprawling body reaches out and touches distinct nations and parochial cultures, and gives them a common face chiseled in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue, and in Silicon Valley. Throughout the 1980s one of the most-watched television programs in South Africa was The Cosby Show. The demise of apartheid was already in production. Exhibitors at the 1991 Cannes film festival expressed growing anxiety over the "homogenization" and "Americanization" of the global film industry when, for the third year running, American films dominated the awards ceremonies. America has dominated the world's popular culture for much longer, and much more decisively. In November of 1991 Switzerland's once insular culture boasted best-seller lists featuring Terminator 2 as the No. 1 movie, Scarlett as the No. 1 book, and Prince's Diamonds and Pearls as the No. 1 record album. No wonder the Japanese are buying Hollywood film studios even faster than Americans are buying Japanese television sets. This kind of software supremacy may in the long term be far more important than hardware superiority, because culture has become more potent than armaments. What is the power of the Pentagon compared with Disneyland? Can the Sixth Fleet keep up with CNN? McDonald's in Moscow and Coke in China will do more to create a global culture than military colonization ever could. It is less the goods than the brand names that do the work, for they convey life-style images that alter perception and challenge behavior. They make up the seductive software of McWorld's common (at times much too common) soul.

"The seductive software of McWorld's common soul." It was a big change, seeing anger and violence shift from embassies and other state geographies to McDonalds and Starbucks. Didn't occur to me at the time of reading Barber's book (back in the late 1990s) that this was garden variety xenophobia.

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