Multinational Culture: Social Impacts of a Global Economy

Multinational Culture: Social Impacts of a Global Economy

Multinational Culture: Social Impacts of a Global Economy

Multinational Culture: Social Impacts of a Global Economy

Synopsis

The result of a conference on multinational culture, the papers collected here explore the sociocultural impacts of the transition to a global economy. Specific topics explored include government policies and their relationship to multinational activities, the formation and regulation of international capital, labor market segmentation and protectionism, managing multinationals without sacrificing ethical standards or profits, environmental impacts, and the language, legal, gender, and race dimensions of a global economy.

Excerpt

Witnessing relentless calls for change in political systems and economic structures, we find ourselves searching to understand these unprecedented unheavals. These developments, variously described as a move toward a global market economy, the new internationalism, the internationalization of labor, and the emergence of a global culture, global financial markets, and transnational markets, stimulated our interest in a conference and publication exploring these events. Social landscapes are being transformed in a variety of uneven and chaotic ways: commodities and communication offer new possibilities yet threaten indigenous diversities; multilateral agreements may help to dismantle trade barriers yet foster domestic elites; transnational companies fragment production across national boundaries yet intensify relations of dependency.

Depending on one's perspective, these transformations represent radical changes in either conflict or cohesion. For some, these movements are the hallmarks of modernization, ascribing to development and growth-positive increases in literacy, mechanization, commercialization, and secularization. Since underdevelopment is perceived as an incapacity for internal structures to advance, industrialization is viewed as a desired evolutionary stage for Third World countries. Others argue that economic and cultural penetration is potentially alienating and psychologically degrading. Interdependencies, expansions, and integration are encroachments into the Third World, an outcome of the uneven process of development between the center and the periphery. For some, even this perspective is flawed. in asserting economic exploitation, overlooked are the exploitative antinomies in national cultures and the tenacity of indigenous political forces and counter social movements. the dialectics of development are producing a backlash of reaction by Third World countries, determined to preserve their unique pasts into the present and future. This takes place alongside the evolution of a market economy that standardizes products, expectations, and desires and continually expands its valorization role by assimilating greater quantities of labor and products into commodities.

The conference, Multinational Culture:
Social Impacts of Global Economy,
(Hofstra University, New York, N.Y., 1987), provided an oppor-

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