Q1: A philosopher once observed, “A fish doesn’t know the ocean is blue.” Most of us don’t realize the extent to which we live in a “global village.” Let’s step back and try to achieve that realization.
When your Course Developer was a boy, the only foreign car on the road was the VW Bug, and it was widely ridiculed. It was small, uncomfortable, and at a time when gasoline cost $0.17 per gallon, fuel efficiency was not an issue. Today, most of the cars on the road are built by companies we’d never heard of a half-century ago; Toyota, Hyundai, Audi, and so forth. Back in the day, we’d never heard of tofu, sushi, or moo goo gai pan, and pizza was “a big city thing.” Flying to Europe as a long, bumpy ordeal, with refueling stops in Newfoundland and Ireland. And so forth.
What changes have you seen in your life, that are attributable to globalization? Don’t think strictly in terms of products; review the drivers of globalization covered in the background information, and consider all of them. Pick a major change, and discuss it.
This is not just a trip down memory lane. In this posting, as in other postings, you should shamelessly flaunt your detailed understanding of the material covered in this Module. References aren’t required, but you should at least mention the sources you’re using; i.e., “According to Dye and Stephenson, growth in global markets is a major aspect of globalization. We’ve seen that in the company I work for … “etc
Q2: Cultural differences don’t only exist across national boundaries. Important differences exist right here in the United States. We could name several of them, but let’s take a look at what Cohen et al. (1996) termed the “Southern Culture of Honor.”
These authors were curious about one regional difference. In some Southern and Western regions, merely insulting a man can be punishable by death. As one wag styled it, “In the South, ‘He done needed killin’ is a viable defense in a murder trial.”
Cohen et al. (1996) conducted four experiments. In one of them, an assistant called a series of male subjects “an a–hole” in a contrived situation that made the insult seem both real and plausible. Most subjects from the North laughed it off ; “Same to you, buddy.” Most of those from the South responded with various degrees of anger. In some cases, the experimenters had to intervene to save their assistant getting a black eye.
Cohen et al. explained the results in terms of traditional culture that was brought to this country from the rocky slopes of Scotland, in the 18th century. There, a man’s flock (sheep or cattle) was his life. Life was hard. Any threat, either real or perceived, had to be taken care of, and promptly.
Your Course Developer has some experience with this. If you cut another motorist off while driving the Jersey Turnpike, he may honk and flip you a “freeway salute.” One doesn’t do that in Mississippi. It’s too dangerous.
For this discussion, read Cohen et al.’s 1996 article. Then discuss its implications. Have you had experiences with other peoples’ behavior that would be inexplicable, were it not for some underlying regional or cultural difference? If not the “Southern Culture of Honor,” then what? Explain. And remember, strong language isn’t permitted.
Q3: One initiative that reduced trade restrictions was the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by heads of state in 1992. The goal of NAFTA was to lower trade barriers among the three major North American countries; the US, Canada and Mexico. It was, and continues to be, enormously controversial in all three countries. In fact, on- time presidential candidate Ross Perot predicted that the loss of jobs to Mexico would produce “A giant sucking sound.”
Googling “Pros and cons of NAFTA” reveals a large number of sites, some reasoned and professional, some shrill and amateurish. One good list of pros and cons, reasonably well balanced despite the progressive agenda of its hosts, can be found at OccupyTheory (2014). There are many others.
What’s your opinion? Have you, or anyone you know, been affected by this pact? On balance, do you think it’s a good thing, or a bad thing? Explain.
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