When Columbus discovered America in 1492, he not only unshielded the ‘new world’ but also initiated a trend. The trend of Globalization which shrinked the world of distinct nations and diverse cultures into a single entity with no cultural boundaries and limitless interaction.
Today in the 21st century, the impact of Globalization is at its peak. There is so much of culture exchange that there is significant possibility of one culture dominating others, particularly developing countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America adapting westernized lifestyles.
This cultural hijacking has an influencing effect on the citizen lifestyles of these countries. With the current technological advances in Information technology, media and communication, information about Western lifestyles has become easily accessible and this readily available information has affected the mentality and desire of nationals of developing countries. The largest segment affected by this form of colonization is the youth who are adaptable and readily moldable.
Existing cultural values in the native countries are losing its shine. This can be the ethnic costumes, the native language, food habits or the music. For example, India’s world acclaimed classical music has negligible following among the masses. This music loving country has shifted interests to western beats based tunes which has gained wide popularity. Another example is Chinese cuisine. Though Chinese food has large following all around the world, in urban China American fast food chains are doing brisk business where the traditional joints are closing shop. This rampant culture adaption is an enforced layer over the original culture of the country and hence it masks its unique traditions and values. Sooner or later, the original culture is lost for once and ever.
This cultural invasion has a firm commercial motive. When the western cultures are adapted and emulated by populous developing countries, they bring in huge business opportunities for the western corporations. Western retail chains, coffee shops, food joints, fashion brands all see tremendous profit opportunities in these developing countries. Using clever and deceptive marketing techniques, they create desires and craving for their offerings, eventually turning them into commodities. The affluent ones have the finances to afford these western culture symbols, however the less fortunate unable to afford them, have to be go through mental agony and frustration. This insufficiency elevates an economic divide between the rich and poor and has a significant influence on politics, economics and culture of the country.
Adapting good qualities of a foreign culture is not a negative trait however when this influence completely takes over the lifestyles and the traditions of a country resulting its culture losing its distinctiveness, it becomes catastrophical. A country without its unique culture loses its identity. More than that, when a single culture has a dominating effect over multiple other cultures, the diversity and assortment of traditions, customs and religions lose their significance and eventually their existence.
In conclusion, Globalization with its several advantages has the side effect of cultural impairment to the developing world.