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The second half of the 2oth century and the beginning of the 21st century has seen tremendous changes, both positive and negative brought about by global communications technology. On one part, global technology is blurring political, cultural, economic, and technological boundaries. On the other part, photography, film, print, broadcasting, telegraphy, satellites, telephone, and computer technologies such as the internet which develop independently are swiftly merging into a stream of ones and zeros in the global communications networks. Politically, global communication technology has obviously undermining the sovereignty and traditional boundaries of nations. Apparently, Direct Broadcast Satellite has gone against national borders by broadcasting foreign education, news, entertainment, and advertising with impunity. Likewise, the global communication micro-media are narrow-casting their messages via fax machines, audio and video cassettes, computer disks and networks such as the internet.
According to Tehranian, distinct industries that had developed around every one of these technologies have or are in the process of merging to service the new environment of multimedia through a series of corporate alliances and mergers. Culturally, the new global communication patterns have created a new world-wide Coca-Colonized culture of product/service fetishism held up by the entertainment industry and global advertising. It is also important to note that global communications technology has empowered forgotten voices and groups in the international community. Surprisingly, its channels have therefore become the ground for contestation of new political, cultural, and economic boundaries. Particularly in its interactive forms, global communication has created deep moral spaces for discovering new societies of affinity such as Western community rather than vicinity. This has challenged the traditional top-down political, cultural, and economic systems. Also, global communication is redefining power in global politics in a manner that traditional theories of global relations are yet to consider seriously.
In reference to Alam, the impacts of global communication on global cultural life are probably the most visible of all its effects. Nonetheless, it would be quite misleading to perceive the effects of the media as uniform and uni-linear. Technological effects are always socially constructed and mediated. Every new technology must find its own cultural space in a society's life before it having any significant impact on social relations. In the media's case, where technologies range varies from the uncomplicated to the most complex and easily accessible only by the selected few, the effects are more ambiguous and complex. This point can be illustrated by a distinction between macromedia, micro-media, and meso-media.
The macromedia form of communication involves mainframe; offshoot, computer, satellites, World Wide Web, and the internet, which appear to be acting as globalization agents. Thus, they support globalization of culture, national markets, and societies. On the other hand, meso-media communication forms includes broadcasting, cinema, and print and are basically under national government's control and hence function as agents of social mobilization and national integration. Lastly, the micro-media form of communication comprises of musical tapes, personal computers, audio and video recorders, telephone, and copying machines. Generally, they have empowered the centrifugal dissent forces at the borders of power.
Alam observed that computer environments provide new opportunities for the inter-cultural communication especially between nations. The internet is one of the many forms of global communication technologies and its use can serve as a powerful way for different cultures to interact in a surprising and novel ways. Westernization through the three global communication technologies has resulted to worrying trends in the political, economic, and cultural aspects. As a result of the rapid spread of global communication technologies, westernization has been an accelerating and pervasive influence across the globe in the last few centuries. There have been notable changes in the cultural patterns of most nations of the world following westernization through global communication. Generally, in the modern societies of the Western world cultures and nations define the living standards of most people all over the world. Consequently, traditions and cultures of most nations have been eroded by the Western culture.
In relation to Margerison, the internet does facilitate cross-cultural communication in various ways and this has highly contributed to the spread and adoption of Western culture. For instance, many countries across the globe have readily adopted the Western style of dressing. Through television sets and the internet, people who aspire to be associated with certain Western celebrities copy their way of dressing and with time, the traditional modes of dressing have been considered as old fashioned. The same case apply's to food stuffs, housing, language, literature, education systems, and mannerisms. For instance, the English language has become the dominant international language in diplomacy, science, aviation, radio, business, and entertainment. Even in the non-English speaking countries, a great percentage of the population is able to converse in English. In Sweden about 85%, Finland 60%, Austria 53%, Netherlands 87%, and Germany 51% of the population can speak English.
The global communication technologies seem to have generated virtue, public and people diplomacy. The worldwide reach of broadcasting networks such as BBC, VoA, Radio Moscow, CNN, and Radio Beijing give the impression of a change of highlight from power politics to image politics. Thus, public diplomacy assumes high importance in the foreign policy conduct. The policies of Western nations such as the United States have been adopted by a number of nations around the global. However, public diplomacy complements traditional diplomacy. According to Wilhelm, the media especially commercial television tends to dramatize, demonise and dichotomize when covering issues related to international affairs. In this process global communication technologies follow a story-telling pattern that is well-established in the Western world with huge success.
This is quite worrying because the western influence on the media results to unrealistic stories that may be misleading to nations that desire to adopt Western politics. In addition, the spread of global communication technologies has made it possible for local citizens to engage in foreign policies. This has had a negative impact on certain nations because it has highly promoted the greed for power leading to political instabilities. In the same line of thought, the concept of separating the state and the religion has been adopted by most global nations and it has led to the development of more unique political reforms such as the power separation doctrine which makes modern western Democracy different from democracy in general. Furthermore, most countries have adopted the Western form of government of a multi-party presidential or parliamentary systems selected by global suffrage which favors some kind of majority agreement when adopting collective decisions.
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In reference to Margerison, the impact of global communication technologies on the global economy has obviously reshaped the processes of production, development, distribution, financing, and trade. As a matter of fact, expanding global telecommunications and transportation networks have clearly enabled the Trans-National Corporations to decentralize their distribution and production networks while looking for higher profits in areas of the world with lower taxes, government regulations, wages, and rents. Generally, most countries have found an engine of fast economic growth and technological leapfrogging in global communication technologies. However, as a result of global communication, career patterns are gradually changing with most people operating their businesses online. Communication technologies such as mobile phone messaging and calling, fax, audio and video cassettes, and the internet have been adopted by almost all businesses around the globe. Such technologies are used to launch, promote, market, and advertise new products/services. Certainly, these new technologies have contributed to increased unemployment leading to increased poverty especially in third world countries.
At the same time, it is not certain whether global communication leads to global levelling of income and wealth since most countries tend to imitate western countries. Additionally, the transfer of jobs and industries from high cost regions to low cost regions among and within countries has resulted to new policy dilemmas that are being debated among politicians and experts. Like it was witnessed in United States presidential politics, the debate mainly focused on protectionism versus internationalism in trade. Taking into consideration that global trade is highly depended on copyright issues and information flows, the new dilemmas of economic policy involve issues such as piracy and industrial espionage versus copyright holders and the rights of industrial patents, consumerism and global advertising versus investment and saving needs, data flows, and transborder news versus national information sovereignty.
Businesses being operated over the internet are more prone to new competition since just about anyone can offer his/her services/products online. This may pose a big threat to businesses based in underdeveloped nations since competitors from developed nations with better technologies may rise hence dominating the marketplace. Moreover, people form non-Western countries may opt to venture in to Western oriented businesses that may not perform well in their home countries.
It is quite evident that western trends have entirely dominated the political, cultural, and economic areas through the increasing spread of global communication technologies. However, these trends may have serious implications in the near future if global communications continue to spread. For instance, there is a high possibility of loss of cultural diversity if other nations continue to adopt the trends of Western culture. This means that cultural differences such as dress, traditions, and language will be lost and the Western culture will dominate the entire globe. Different people interact with the environment differently and have different conceptions of morality; however, these aspects will become common to all. Taking into account that the internet language is English, the continued use of internet services will encourage the increased use of the English language in almost all countries leading to loss of traditional language literature.
The absolute adoption of the Western culture is likely to affect the religious beliefs of most people in different societies. On the other hand, global communication will reduce the chances of attaining international leverage and therefore the gap between the poor nations and the rich nations will continue to widen. Since communication technologies simply reduce the number of employment opportunities, people living in non-Western countries are likely to suffer from acute unemployment that will result to higher poverty levels.
In addition, since the Western national policies being adopted by other countries of the world allows for open entry into politics, most nations are likely to suffer from political instabilities following uncalled for greed for power and prestige. Global access doesn't necessarily mean global power and even in a circumstance where everybody could have access to communication technologies such as internet and telephones, still, power depends on whoever is generating and controlling the online content. Thus serious measures ought to be taken by non-Western nations to halt the spread of disturbing Western trends through global communication technologies.