Thursday, 21 November 2013

Globalisation, Sustainability & The Media

Globalisation is occurring.
We used to live in a world where a series of different cultures was in existence, but this has now been replaced with a world where a monoculture is taking over. 

Globalisation could be looked at in a positive way looking at the idea of spreading communism to every culture, globalisation was a desirable aim in this sense. 
The unification of cultures for common good. 

In terms of capitalism globalisation is again desirable as to keep going and exist as a social system globalisation needs to spread, this breaks down state boundaries and spreads the market globally.

Some people use the term globalisation neutrally. 
When looking at globalisation in a negative light, look at the logical conclusion of globalisation as realising one single culture.
This could however be positive or negative depending on your take on matter. 

Cultural Globalisation 

This is a byproduct of western markets expanding into second and third world countries. This has brought cultural globalisation, one set of values over the rest of the world. 
Increasing domination of western culture over other forms. 


This refers to a particular american idea of life, organising the world that has been transposed to other cultures. 
Think of fast food vs slow food, eating quickly without care for health or organising family meals, etc. This also refers to the idea of work under the American capitalist model. A 'McJob', refers to a job nobody wants but that you have to do if there is nothing else available, this is often unrewarding - work as a way of contributing to society is replaced by meaningless work. 

Marshall McLuhan

People got excited about globalisation through communications such as radio and technology. 
This was written in the mid 20th century. He started to argue that new technologies are going to have a massive affect on humanity and change the way we interact with each other. Extensions of our senses. The radio meant people could now hear stuff on the other side of world, TV meant they could see stuff on the other side of the world, etc.
We can experience the effects of our actions on everyone in the world, we can understand and empathise with the world. He argued that this would ultimately bring some harmonious togetherness. 

Globe shrinks to become a global village, eventually our relationships will be like that in a village, all helping each other out and aware of each others issues, problems, etc. 

He was writing before the internet. Almost a profit of the internet. 
Could argue that the internet has expanded what he had to say to nth degree, as we can now see things happening in live time around the world. 
People reporting directly from scene. 

However, this global embrace has not happened. We are not sympathetic. This proliferation of images in our lives has made us desensitized, we are not aware of what our actions do. 

We are not a global tribe. We are more seperated, technology has not saved the day. 

What is actually happening is rival ideologies are tearing world apart. This is a form of imperialism. 
What is actually starting to happen is that a cultual war is happening, and other cultures are seeing this. We do not have a global embrace. 

Under this system have loads of problems that occur. 
Particulraly, in global system national identity becomes meaningless. What is it to be British in global culture? Loss of identity is one issue. 
Accountability, in preglobalised society, governments of particulr countries had power to stop companies doing ertain pracisises. When a comapny is based in more than one country, this becomes impossible to police as you can pass one law in england but this wont apply to such as India. 
Businesses are more powerful than governments. If you stop restricutions on business, what happens is that they create a lot of money and everyone benefits -but this money never gets distributed. 
In spread of multi national capitalist businesses, with spread of business into new markets, mcdonalidasation is spreading. One particular culture is being spread accross globe. 

Steger quote

Cultural Imperialism

Schiller and Chomsky, key thinkers. 

Imperial war being thought out through culture. 

Rigging the 'free market'. 
There is a myth that the whole world is a market, thinking everyone has the same share in the market and everyone can produce the same stuff and everyone has the same access. This is not true. 
Most things in the media tend to be controlled by 5 or 6 oligopolies. These are giant clusters of businesses, in control of most of the worlds media. 
In media, every aspect can be traced back in terms of ownership, to a few big companies. Multinational oligopolies, all of which are american. 

Time Warner is in control of a vast list of smaller media companies such as magazines. 

All these business are owned by Time Warner. 

This one company controls the cultural output of a vast percentage of the worlds media. It is logical to think from this point that whatever magazine you are reading you are effectively getting a particular American take on the world. 

Large multimedia organisations are controlling large percentages of the media output. 

Not only do these corporations control most of the media, they focus their attention to markets where they can make the most money. 
The concerns of North America primarily, because it is a business, it will be priorotised in that publication. They will be less interested in African for eg. cos they have less money. 

This is a back door process as people start to understand the concerns of the first world as their concerns. Focus on TV is about American culture, films, etc. Values and ideas of American capitalism are spread, this has a wider effect than just money making. 

This new form of imperialism is slowly changing people to accept your culture as the best way of life. 

You are who you are by what you own - this consumer logic has been spread to third worlds, although this is highly unobtainable for them. 

In looking at Big Brother we can see the spread of this western culture and the alarming cultural effects.

Biggest growth in India recently is skin whitening cream, as their culture has been dominated by seeing American looks and American perception of beauty to be desirable. They are trying to act like those who are dominating them.

This mono culture is affecting people on all levels, it is hard to challege and fight against. 

Chomsky writes about this in 'manufacturing consent'.

System of propaganda for western way of life. Not in the old sense of propogranda but being fed lessons that this is the right way of life, this is the logical way to organise world, this is the good life, etc. 

He talks about the news and how we can see the reality of the world, we can figure out what is going on. But, Chomsky argues the media is one of the key parts of this propoganda. 
He talks about the 5 basic functions of the news - ownership, funding, sourcing, flak all come together. 

Ownership - 
Murdoch, large amount of our newspapers are owned by one man with a particular political take on world. His agenda is to make as much money for himself as possible. In the reporting of the news you will find most of these papers appearing as factual, but they are really self serving, in the interests of the news corporations that Murdoch owns. 

Used to be a Tory supporting paper until Labour did a deal with Murdoch saying if your papers backs us then we will relax the laws against media organisations in UK. After backing Labour from this they were elected and then the party did more deals with Murdoch. 

This shows the media power and the measurable social effect. 

Sourcing -
The stuff that is reported is only the stuff that is allowed to be reported, 

Funding -
They need to make profit, advertisers will pull stories if you have certain content to news features. Withdraw their money, so need to keep advertisers happy. 

Flak -
Big businesses will set up flak organisations and put stuff out in the media to spread their take on the world. 

Global Climate Coalition

The GCC are a flak/lobby group for big oil companies such as Texaco. They get stories into newspapers and ads on tv, etc. and spend loads of money trying to arrest anti war activists, they paint the oil companies in a good light. 

Richard shows us some shocking clips. These things get out into the world, propaganda disguised as news. They have commisioned these stock stories. 

As creatives, what big businesses have realised is the power of the image in being able to transform the way people think. Visual communication is a powerful medium in influencing popular conciousness. 

All kinds of campaign groups are using visual communication as a way of inacting social change. 

Film - An Inconvenient Truth
Al Gore 
Sensationalist film, gets the message accross and is based on scientific evidence. 

Flat Earther
Can see different amounts of pollutants. 

Kyoto summit
- Every sanction is blocked by China and the USA as it would would mean limited profit. Until all countries agree nothing is going to be done about this. If these two massive capitalist interests are still robbing the world of natural resources and poulliuting then nothing will change. 

The lesson of this film is to save the planet, we have to release less co2. 

To be CO2 neutral we must buy more things such as energy saving light bulbs.
The solution to the problem is being based on capitalism. The solution is being sold as buying more stuff, if you have a car buy a different car, if you have a lightbulb buy a different one, if you have a house buy insulation, etc.  
Feeding capitalist businesses. 


Notion of this is one that everyone is supposed to be sympathetic of. 
On a global setting, a view towards stopping head long race to depletion of all worlds resources. 

Fundamental contradiction. 

Sustainable Capitalism 
Fuel plant in canada was put it in a poor area as the land is cheaper.

Companies exploiting the fact that now everyone is concerned with issues such as the planet being destroyed. 
The green market, all kinds of companies try have a green version of their products as this has become desirable, a trend. They are aware that people are more likely to buy if a product seems more eco friendly. 

McDonalds changed their brand in Europe to be a dark green in an attempt to look more 'green'. 

Ecoboost made little or no difference to eco, but people buy because they feel like their helping the planet. 

Buying eco is however a myth, wont prevent issues such as global warming. 

Effectively, under the capitalist system things are produced for needs of people. They are manufactured to sell to people. The media plays a role in perpetuating this system. 

Richard showed some images of strange products being sold as 'eco'.

Earthchair is actually just a bag of bags. 

Way to solve the issue is to challenge the systems that are producing this stuff. 

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