Monday, 11 January 2016

Globalisation and the World Wide Web

A look at the effects of the internet on our culture.

It is no secret that the internet has caused the world to shrink, in terms of cyber-ness, at least. The telecommunication revolution that has taken place over the late 20th century, and dragged into this one, has seen the entry of millions of people into the global economy. Thanks to the inter-web and mobile phones, people that would have before not belonged to the wealthy elite who could so easily cross boarders to trade now can.  Trade and contact have accelerated rapidly in this era of globalisation, producing huge advantages in terms of cheaper goods, increased trade and lifting people out of poverty. However, it also brings with it disadvantages.
               It can be suggested that with globalisation, America’s culture of consumerism has extended its arm over the Atlantic Ocean, dropping elements of itself in Europe and other parts of the world. Of course in Ireland, we have become heavily influenced by America in the past thirty years with television programmes such as The Simpson and Friends, dictating our eating and sleeping patterns, changing our humour and one can even argue our dialect. Our cinemas are flooded with new Hollywood movies starring American actors in America landscapes, the perfect platform to share its culture with the world. However, the internet seems to be what has really helped increase America’s influence.
This year saw the emergence of Black Friday in Ireland and the UK. For those who are not aware of its origins, Black Friday is a day in America where department stores hold huge sales. It commences the Friday after the holiday of Thanksgiving, the day when American people celebrate what they have to be thankful for in life. Black Friday sees millions of people across the continent shopping for Christmas presents at discount prices. Videos have emerged in recent years of rowdy shoppers fighting over the last pair of Louis Vuitton boots, Ralph Lauren Sweatshirt, or Xbox III gaming console. It is an event that seems to pit one human being against another as shops put the first twenty 40 remote-controlled cars at half price and everything thereafter costs the full amount. Thanks to the internet, Black Friday became a thing this year in Ireland, with lots of online websites holding sales, mocking those of the American kind. Littlewoods Ireland and websites crashed on Friday 27th November, while Currys and P.C. World held a black tag event – where electronic device prices were slashed.
In the UK, shops such as Tesco in Birmingham, Liverpool and London mirrored scenes in American stores, where police had to be called as fights broke out. Television footage emerged showing one woman clinging to a 40 inch television, with another dragging it to the till, woman intact, to pay for it. Cyber Monday also emerged this year, thanks to the internet, where most online websites, again, decided to put on sales and entice people to buy, the Monday after Black Friday. Of course there was no physical fighting or rioting during Cyber Monday, as it was only virtual queues that existed, nevertheless this consumer culture has seemed to seep through the wires of our battery rechargers and into the laptop owner’s mind. Nevertheless, it cannot be suggested that consumerism is not a part of Ireland’s nature either. One only has to take a drive through the countryside to see the remnants of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger – ghost estates dotting the landscape. It can be said, however, that Black Friday and the commencement of riots in the U.K. on Friday 27th November have come about because of the internet’s role in globalisation.

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