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The Economic and Social Relations of a Globalizing World

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If certain aspects of the neo-liberal globalization project have had benign consequences, there has also been a fair share of criticisms. The economic globalization process also coincided with the boom in cable and satellite broadcast television and the Internet, which has indeed made the world a smaller place. A consequence of these developments is the exposure and adoption of Western cultural practices that manifest in the form of fashion, clothing, lifestyle patterns, changing nature of interpersonal relationships, conspicuous consumption, etc. Some critics point out that what is at play is a type of cultural imperialism, which constantly competes and replaces native, indigenous cultural practices in the developing world.

Again, there is plenty of scholarly evidence to support the validity of this claim, beyond what is common knowledge. (Knox & Pinch, 2000) There are two different ways in which the increasing resemblance between cities is interpreted. While some see it in terms of weakening of local culture and tradition, others see it as a progressive development. The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT), which undertakes extensive studies on subjects such as globalization, population displacement, economic immigration, etc, released in 2004 a report titled The State of the World’ s Cities.

This report takes cognizance of both the positive and negative consequences of globalization on world’ s prominent cities. While acknowledging the intrusion of Western culture into those of developing nations, it asserts that “ multiculturalism as an urban phenomenon should be celebrated, not feared, as it enhances the fabric of societies and brings colour and vibrancy to every city it touches… there are approximately 175 million documented international migrants worldwide. The flow of humanity into the cities is fuelling a new multiculturalism that has the potential to broaden their cultural and ethnic dimensions.    

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