Jonathan Inda and Renato Rosaldo present an interesting phenomenon of ‘shrinking the globe’ in their article, “Tracking Global Flows.” This idea comes from David Harvey (1989) who conceptualizes globalization principally as the manifestation of the changing experience of time and space (Inda and Rosaldo 8.) Harvey calls this change a “time-space compression,” in which economic and social processes are sped up as a means to ‘shrink the globe,’ so that distance and time no longer appear to be major constraints on the organization of human activity (8.) Certainly, modern technological innovations have made communication across the world faster and easier. Thus, with this shrinking of the globe people no longer have to travel or call long distances to send and receive information.
After reading this article, I began to think about this shrinking of the globe in a different light. While cell phones, the internet, and social media allow for instantaneous access to people and information, quality face-to-face interaction is lacking. The globe has shrunk so much that we have lost the intimate relations of person-to-person contact. I think about my friends and the means through which we communicate. Most often, we interact via Facebook or text messages. While these things are convenient, we lose the intimacy and essence that talking on the phone or in person offers. As we all know, conversations via social media and texts are often read in a totally different tone than that of which is intended. We as a ‘global community’ have allowed our globe to shrink so much so, that we rely heavily on technology as our sole source of communication.
Moreover, this ‘shrinking the globe’ makes me think about the effects of globalization on lesser developed nations. We have all of these technological innovations that seemingly make life easier; however, in reality it is causing more harm than good to many nations. We create all of this technology, which presumably connects the entire world. However, there are countries whose citizens are being exploited for cheap labor. Let’s take the snapshot one that Inda and Rosaldo present at the beginning of their article.
In Guatemala, several thousands of Mayan youth- the majority of whom are unmarried daughters- work as apparel assemblers at the Sam Lucas maquila factory. The factory is built from cement blocks with aluminum roofing, and is the size of a football field. Each worker in a line repeats the assigned tasks over and over. Production goals are established for each line. If the goal is met, the workers are promised extra pay; if not, the money id deducted from their $4 a day pay (3.)
This case study really makes me think about who this ‘shrinking of the globe’ is benefitting. Surely, these young women from Guatemala are not the benefactors. Accordingly, in my opinion, this idea of globalization and shrining the globe has extreme negative consequences that we do not witness on a daily basis. We are sheltered from the true aspects of globalization. There are people around the world who suffer so that we can enjoy the products of their labor.