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A framework for the spread of ideas

The term Globalization carries all sorts of connotations. To some, it inspires hope and change through the productive innovation of free enterprise. To others, it signals doom and destruction, the capacity for a New World Order and the subjugation of all mankind to one centralized dictator.

To most people, it registers nothing, a blank term they’ve never heard.

Globalization is a very large phenomena, and like a good critical thinker does to all large phenomena, I will set up some categories which will help to begin to understand it all. First, globalization happens economically, politically, and culturally. These are three separate processes, but they are not totally separate. Where they overlap and how they interact are the subject of theoretical debate and it all gets confusing very quickly.

(This is all irrelevant primer to the actual topic here).

The full subject of globalization will be treated in much depth later. But for now, I just want to present an interesting concept from one of my research books which will not fit with the actual research essay.

Malcolm Waters mentions this concept, and it has more widespread applications than the author’s modesty would allow.

“More importantly there has been a process of global cultural transmission to which the Japanese version of the best way has been carried around the world as a system of ideas. This transmission occurs in three arenas:

in the popular mass media Japanese production systems are represented as a highly generalized but somewhat ambivalent ideal, discussed in terms of both fear and admiration;

in universities, business school academics and organization theorists conduct comparative research on the Japanese advantage and these results are both published and incorporated into organizational design courses for potential managers;

and third they are written up as easily digestible popular books that can be peddled to managers as manuals for organizational transformation.” (82).

From Malcolm Waters, “Globalization” Routledge, 1995.

I will draw a crude comparison between this and the postmodern movement in the 1980’s. Initially the academic response to relativization of truth was fear and anywhere it was represented, which wasn’t many places, it was greatly oversimplified and streamlined. This is where fundamentalist Christianity stopped its analysis, and still today I have seen this streamlined version presented and ‘debunked’ on several occasions. This is a perpetual meta-strawman fallacy, and nobody realizes it. Second, the concept became academicized and gradually entered the mainstream of university departments like gender studies, social sciences, economics, and racial theory. These (some of them) are the <identity> studies departments, often mixed with Critical Theory. Finally, they become easily digestible chunks which has been everywhere in the feminist hyper-inflation bubble which finally burst late last year.

This same process can be repeated with a dozen other things. I will be writing on them in the future.

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