would seem, has been taken for granted. Just take a look around and you will understand why. People dressed in the latest international fashion brands, drinking a can of imported cola as they browse the Internet at a well-known cafe chain, etc., are just some examples of the way globalisation has seeped into our lives. The Internet has probably played the largest role in this process for it has transformed commerce by creating new ways for retailers and businesses to market their products and interact with their customers.
Globalisation has improved lives considerably, agree half the world's online consumers, according to the Global Online Consumer Opinion Survey conducted by ACNielsen. Indians can now easily gain access to international news and entertainment or own the same goods and services as anyone else in the world and all this has broken down cultural differences and created more job opportunities.
Over half of Latin Americans (around 57 per cent) and around 53 per cent consumers in the Asia Pacific believe that more global business in their markets brings greater job opportunities and better working lives. For 78 per cent of Indians, globalisation means better job opportunities that help them to shape their careers better, followed by 73 per cent Filipinos and 71 per cent Chinese. Not surprisingly, six of the top ten countries that are in agreement that globalisation brings about increased job and career opportunities hail from the Asia Pacific region.
The 2005 ACNielsen Global Consumer Opinion Survey polled over 23,500 consumers online in 42 markets in Europe, North America, the Asia Pacific, Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East. Among the world's consumers, Latin Americans and Asians are the biggest supporters of globalisation and the value it adds to various aspects of their lives.
Quite obviously, people in the relatively less developed or fast growing markets have benefited hugely from increased access to products, services and opportunities that would not have been possible without globalisation. For example, 75 per cent Latin Americans agree that, with globalisation, they have greater access to news, entertainment and information from all over the world. People in the Asia Pacific were the next biggest supporters, with almost 70 per cent of the respondents agreeing to it.
Information technology is a driving factor in the process of globalisation. The emergence of numerous Internet enabled newsgathering and dissemination outlets, chat rooms, blogging, instant messaging systems, e-mail, electronic bulletin boards and other Internet based communication systems have made it much easier for people to communicate, exchange information and collaborate with each other. Five out of the top 10 countries that agree globalisation gives them access to news, entertainment and information hail from the Asia Pacific: 88 per cent of Malaysians, 79 per cent of Singaporeans and 78 per cent of Filipinos.
On the other hand there are groups who are threatened by globalisation. About one-fifth of the French, Koreans and Finns are convinced that globalisation threatens the viability of locally made products and jobs. Around 64 per cent agree that the spread of globalisation is a threat to local traditions and culture. Following close behind are 62 per cent Austrians and 57 per cent each of the Finns, Norwegians and the Swiss. In fact, eight of the top ten markets which agree that globalisation threatened local traditions and culture hail from Europe, suggesting that these developed countries may feel more threatened by globalisation than benefited by it. Interestingly, 38 per cent of Americans felt that local traditions and cultures are threatened by globalisation, while many would argue that the US has already heavily exerted its hegemonic influence on the rest of the world through popular culture and the news media.
Though most of the Asian countries were in agreement that there is a benefit of cross-cultural understanding attached to globalisation, the majority of consumers in Taiwan (74 per cent), the Philippines (69 per cent) and Malaysia (68 per cent) agreed that globalisation helps break down borders and enables better understanding and tolerance of other cultures.
Thus, the survey points out that globalisation may have different meanings for different nations. Developing nations may find benefits in terms of better job opportunities and breakdown of social and cultural barriers, but developed nations may define the same trend as a threat. Different strokes for different folks!
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