Globalization and Culture: The Detrimental Effects on Local Populations in Latin America

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Globalization and Culture: The Detrimental Effects on Local Populations in Latin America.”

Celine Rivera

This research project was supported by a grant from the Roger Williams University Provost’s Fund for Student Research.
Over many centuries, developing countries have battled with increased globalization and the effects this globalization has had on the people of these regions. The effects of globalization are far-reaching and very complex. While there are certainly positive effects, the negative consequences of globalization on cultures in the developing world are widespread. “Globalization is a concept that represents the contested visions of a universal identity” (Niezen 2004, 37). In Latin America, their culture, heritage and individuality has been compromised by globalization. It has changed the face of this region, and not always for the better. There are social as well as political implications on areas in Latin America as well such as how their sovereignty has been challenged by globalization. Although prior to globalization there were impoverished people in Latin America, the gap between the rich and the poor as a result of globalization has only increased.
Globalization has structurally weakened identity and individuality, sometimes even creating greater inequality within regions. Not only as globalization affected culture in the Latin America but it has also exacerbated socio-cultural, and economic situations which has caused an increase in poverty and harmed traditions in the region. Although there have been arguments for and against globalization, the negative impacts are still extremely important to consider. The people of Latin America must work to find strategies for dealing with this beast known as globalization and try to find possible ways preserve their traditions, customs and cultures that they hold near and dear to them. Globalization, although not all negative has been harmful to the cultural identity of Latin America because it has negatively impacted their society, cultural, economically, politically and socially.
Globalization has been present since the 1980s and has come been pushed upon developing nations in waves, growing stagnant at some points. Globalization can be defined from a number of standpoints. It has been looked at from an economic standpoint, political standpoint and socio-cultural standpoint. In the following sections, each subcategory of globalization will be defined. Moreover, each will be examined in terms of both positive and negative effects. What happens when the native culture is lost and it cannot be recovered? Globalization is irreversible, so action must be taken now before it is too late and culture, customs and identity are lost for good.
Economic Globalization

When examining globalization from an economic perspective or viewing it as a process of worldwide economic integration, Ronald Niezen suggests that looking at globalization from a free-market standpoint tends to include everything that is associated with the causes and consequences of global “shrinking” or flat in Thomas Friedman’s world (2006). Because the world is increasingly interdependent due to globalization, the world as a whole is shrinking, becoming more connected with less separation, regardless of borders. Although Berry looks at globalization from the economic standpoint, he does warn that the economic theory does not tell us as much as most people like to believe. He goes further to say that in looking at empirical records to date, they would “suggest that the benefits of globalization, if they come quickly are not very big; if large, do not come quickly” (Berry 2003, 17). It is more than just simply looking at globalization in terms of the economy. Berry also expresses that the new current wave of globalization can be a large contributing factor to the increased inequalities among and between countries. Sandbrook uses the term “civilizing globalization” to refer to the “harnessing global capitalism so that the economy serves society, and not vice versa” (Sandbrook 2003, 2). But, he rejects the “popular image” of globalization as an “inexorable force, driven by technological change” (Sandbrook 2003, 8).

Colin Flint looks at globalization in greater terms than just a geographical component (Flint 2003, 362). To fully comprehend globalization, it is important to realize timing is key as well. Flint states, as it is defined by Hardt and Negri, “globalization is seen as a qualitative procession in the developmental trajectory of capitalism that has ushered in a new form of social organization (Flint 2003, Citing Hardt & Negri 362). Flint believes the World-systems theory provides the framework needed to understand contemporary globalization as “a form of the diffusion of economic, political, and cultural practices established and promoted” by a state (Flint 2003, 363). This theory looks at globalization as a specific moment in the history of the capitalist world economy which is a social system that emerged in Europe in the 1400s. Since its’ emersion, it has grown to encompass the whole globe.
Cohen defines globalization by stating, “In economic discourse, the term globalization is used as a shorthand expression for the increasing integration of national economies around the world—a process of commercial and financial interpenetration driven by the forces of market competition and technological innovation as well as by governmental policies of deregulation and liberalization” (Cohen 2007, 98). In contrast, Niezen looks at free-trade globalization which is “the view of the world integration that begins with the growth of capitalism, the extended reach and power of corporations and their international support institutions”(Cohen 2007, 46). He states that some who oppose this form of globalization include, but are not limited to, environmentalists, trade unionists, human rights activists and any number of independents. Sandbrook states that globalization is used as a “convenient shorthand” to describe the integration of national economies into a global market economy, as measured by increasing flows of trade, investment and skilled personnel across national boundaries. Neoliberals envision a world in which the global market is a self-regulating economy. Niezen states that looking at globalization solely in terms of free trade and economic issues and not going beyond to consider identity and “yearnings for a life of autonomous simplicity” (Niezen 2004, 56). Economic globalization is an important part of globalization as a whole but is just one key aspect. It has helped bring the world closer as a whole and has helped a number of those living in Latin America to escape poverty but it has not done enough for the people.
Grant and Nijman (2004) pose another way of looking at globalization in terms of “space.” They call it the theory of the hyperdifferentiation of space. They argue that views of the world as “increasingly homogeneous in economic and cultural terms” is “fallacious.” Grant and Nijman disagree that the common global norms about markets, business practices, consumptions standards, and cultural practices are spreading everywhere. Instead they argue that globalization is essentially a geographical concept. They use the term globalization to refer to the process of “rescaling.” The belief is that geography does not become irrelevant as many critiques of globalization view it, geography just becomes more complex. Ward and Gleditsch argue that there is no doubt that economic output of the world and the volume of international commerce has grown tremendously over the past five decades. Grant and Nijman do agree that uneven development in this era of globalization does occur in peripheral regions of the world economy that experienced large shifts toward deregulation in the economy, such as Latin America. They believe that these regions have become characterized by hyperdifferentiation of economic space.
Although there are benefits to globalization such as increase in standard of living and economic growth in regards to international trade and investment, only a few benefit. This also means that the trend toward globalization does not go unchallenged (Cohen 2007, 97). The world is far from a fully globalized society, the effects of this increased dependence on foreign commerce can be harmful to a society. “Both open trade and capital mobility exercise significant discipline on the policy behavior of governments” (Cohen 2007, 98). If you have a corrupt government, it is hard to expect the rest of the country to function and succeed and be willing to follow suit if the government is not doing what is best for its people to begin with.
Creating these great market freedoms have failed immensely in providing growth and sustained prosperity. They have also created huge negative features that will be a tremendous burden to change. Market reform policies and structural adjustments gave support to big conglomerates and created domestic monopolies in areas of crucial services, which have been difficult to regulate and control. Although NGOs and social movements have attempted to step in and help, these groups remained fragmented and since they were weak, they could do little to alter the policies and change the action taking place (Teichman 2003, 48). Even with attempts to move toward democracy, political power still remains concentrated in the hands of a few powerful executives and private-sector interests.
Political Globalization

Avelino, Brown and Hunter state that recent evidences shows that there is a great positive effect on government expenditures with respect to democracy and globalization (Avelino, S. Brown, Hunter 2004, 214). They make a valid point in stating, “when facing the same international economic constraints as their authoritarian counterparts, politicians in democracies are more likely to continue funding education, health and social security as a strategy to build electoral support”(Avelino, S. Brown, Hunter 2004, 214-215). Even if the politicians are doing this just for the electoral support, they are held to funding those programs to further their own agenda, but the people of the country still get what they deserve; support and protect from their government.

Although democracy seems to be a key piece in surviving, and somewhere far down the line possibly thriving in, globalization, Avelino, Brown and Hunter argue, “democracies alone are unlikely to reverse deeply entrenched patterns of poverty and social inequality” (S. Brown, Hunter 2004, 215). But, it is important and worth recognizing that democracies that are headed by governments that seek and wish to maintain social stability and be re-elected will help social welfare programs prosper. Since the middle class and poor make up a large portion of the public, their votes are what count the most and are crucial for the government’s re-election. Also, by investing in public service programs that promote healthcare, the government is investing in human capital, which will increase productivity of workers.
National legislation and institutions that will deal with major concerns such as education systems, health systems, justice systems or political systems must match these policies that are created. Governments also need to address the issues of resources and help the local communities deal with these related issues. In addition, for those who have been marginalized and excluded from globalization, most of the Latin American population, so that they may benefit from the implementation of human rights, democracy , and cultural pluralism, international solidarity needs to be mobilized at various levels (Yúdice 2003, 445).
Yúdice argues that the antiglobalization movement demonstrates that it is still possible to “appropriate technological advances and cultivate an interactive and oppositional community” (Yúdice 2003, 361). The international frame works that have been put in place over time should be made into concrete policies “for, by, and with local communities, especially indigenous peoples and minorities” (Stamatopoulou 2013, 445). Another researcher, César Bolaño warns that for these possibilities to be effective and go beyond the “symbolic war,” there needs to be concrete political strategies and policies that will need to be “activated in the proper spaces”(Yúdice 2003, 362). They should be an active part of the decision-making process, “with respect for their identities as groups, as communities with their histories, cultures, and aspirations; and with respect for their human dignity and for their human dignity and for their human rights” (Stamatopoulou 2013, 445). The human rights approach places emphasis on participation and empowerment and also respects the international human rights standards. To further their agenda, the antiglobalization movement will need to collaborate with NGOs and weed out the “appropriation of the public good by the new regime of accumulation based on intellectual and cultural work” (Yúdice 2003, 362).
National legislation and institutions that will deal with major concerns such as education systems, health systems, justice systems or political systems must match these policies that are created. Governments also need to address the issues of resources and help the local communities deal with these related issues. In addition, for those who have been marginalized and excluded from globalization, most of the Latin American population, so that they may benefit from the implementation of human rights, democracy , and cultural pluralism, international solidarity needs to be mobilized at various levels (Yúdice 2003, 445).

Socio-Cultural Globalization

Santos states that the concept of globalization is multifaceted and is the “competitive diffusion of economic, political and social practices from one locality over a significant portion of the globe (Santos 2003, 362).” The Global Human Development report looks at globalization in terms of culture and looks at “global culture.” They make a case for “respecting diversity and building more inclusive societies by adopting policies that explicitly recognize cultural differences” (HDR 2006, 2). They refer to these policies as “multicultural policies.” These reporters believe that global culture is “not about the English language or brand name sneakers—it is about universal ethics based on universal human rights and respect for the freedom, equality and dignity of all individuals.” To some degree, Flint (2003) agrees, arguing that globalization also includes processes of diffusion, including culture and economic influence. He states, “the practice of hegemony, that is, the diffusion of economic, political, and sociocultural practices and influence, requires the geopolitics of extraterritoriality, namely, the imposition of power and influence by one nation-state into the sovereign spaces of other nation-states” (Flint 2003, 367). This is both a political and socio-cultural phenomenon. He makes another crucial point in stating that although there is an assumption that all states have equal abilities to exercise sovereign control over their own territory, this is not really the case. Some countries do possess the ability to have greater influence over another. Elsa Stamatopoulou argues that often in the globalization debate, international human rights treaties, which have for many years “provided a comprehensive international legal framework of obligations by which states voluntarily agreed to be bound and which provides the parameters of what governments may or may not do in the name of development,” are often forgotten (Stamatopoulou 2013, 437). Looking at a number of international trade agreements over past decades have been done without giving any attention to the human rights framework that already exists. By doing so, sometimes states are forced (especially poor and powerless states such as Latin America) to accept trade agreements that in essence weaken the human rights obligations.

Globalization brings with it great uncertainty everywhere (López-Alveres 2007, 6). There are so many facets to globalization and so many different aspects to look at and consider when addressing globalization in any region. Globalization is more than just the widespread increase of the global economy. It also affects the cultures and traditions of a society. The definition for globalization should include all of those aspects as well, not just the economic portion. Niezen (2004) argues, “The term globalization has come to mean almost any process in which distinct peoples, who possess unique languages and ways of life, are being assimilated into a wider humanity”(35). He argues that this process (globalization) is “boundless” in the effects it has on changing possibilities of social autonomy and individual self-expression. Niezen states that to defend against these unwelcomed intrusions of people, cultures and industries comes a new counter movement. This is a movement toward cultural neo-conservatism.
Haas and Hird state that culture is difficult to pinpoint because it is comprised of so many elements; food, language, history and social relationships that seek to define a national, subnational, or cross-national identity. They state that, “without cultures, individuals would lose the social contexts on which they rely to define their identities” (Haas, Hird 2013, 431). If there were no variations to cultures, the world would be a very uneventful, mundane place. With globalization, many traditional cultures are at risk. Many languages are at risk of becoming extinct as a result of globalization. “Preserving traditional cultures, or cultures of any sort, can be difficult (Haas, Hird 2013, 432). Many times, cultures are social constructs which have been invoked to create a “national identity for political purposes” (Haas, Hird 2013, 432). Haas and Hird write, “Globalization acts as a giant hothouse in which cultures selectively interact and borrow from one another” (Haas, Hird 2013, 433).
This may seem offensive to traditionalists for either belief of cultural purity or because their social standing and influence is then called into question. The true challenge with respect to culture in the face of globalization is “ensuring that traditional attitudes are not swamped by alien foreign views but rather are able to meld the foreign ones into a comfortable blend that is amenable to local customs and beliefs” (Haas, Hird 2013, 433). “The social dislocations and obstructions that sometimes follow from free trade economics are a fundamental aspect of global cultural realignment.”
To survive globalization the people of these regions in Latin America must have the support of NGOs, cooperative membership and the strength of personal religious beliefs. Although the monetary benefits of these cooperatives have been somewhat small, the personal, social and cultural benefits have been large. Cohen argues that for Latin America to survive globalization, those in power must look back to their former promises to the people and publically acknowledge to the people that they will uphold these promises. He also argues that if the backlash of globalization is to be contained, critics of globalization need to believe that policy makers have not abandoned their social responsibilities (López-Alves 2007, 106). They need to recognize the legitimacy of other core social values. In trade, more must be done to compensate for the openness of the market and the effect this open market has on income inequality, culture, the environment, and national sovereignty. In regards to finance, more must be done to limit the impact of capital mobility on the ability of the states to manage their own economic affairs (López-Alves 2007, 111).
Fernando López-Alves and Diane E. Johnson write that they believe globalization has “contributed to a vigorous revitalization of social science, history, and economic theory without parallel during this and most of the last centuries, but we also believe that it is time to concern ourselves with the unintended consequences produced by this process”(López-Alves 2007, 1). People are reluctant to join in globalization, to partake in the global economy, to welcome development and become more modern lies in how globalization is brought to them (Heyck 2002). Heyck states, “It almost always has an abusive and culturally destructive local face”(Heyck 2002, 13). Berry (2003) argues that, “certainly, forcing the world into a straitjacket in which competition at the individual, group, and national levels is required for success has sounded the death knell of the quiet, stable life that many might have preferred” (15). Globalization tends to bring with it cultural and geographical dislocation, economic exploitation and environmental degradation. Often, those living in poverty do not which to leave the land on which they reside and leave behind their customary ways of life. Often they are forced to become day laborers or become workers in the urban slums or part of the “reserve army” of unemployed urban poor (Heyck 2002, 19).

The writers of the Human Development Reports argue that, “Indigenous people see globalization as a threat to their cultural identities, their control over territory and their centuries-old traditions of knowledge and artistic expression” (HDR 2006, 91). Many of the indigenous people of Latin America share this belief. They see a global community that is not protecting or looking to preserve their culture and traditions. In the issue of the Human Development Report on Globalization and Cultural Choice, the core team of writers argues, “Some indigenous people fear that their ancient cultural practices are endangered by the inflow of foreign investment in extractive industries or that sharing traditional knowledge necessarily leads to its misuse. Some have reacted to violations of their cultural identity by shutting out all new ideas and change, trying to preserve tradition at all cost. Such reactions reduce not only cultural choices but also social and economic choices for indigenous people.”

HDR also argues that globalization “can threaten national and local identities” but to retreat to conservatism and isolationist nationalism is not the solution. The solution is “to design multicultural policies to promote diversity and pluralism.” Globalization can also pose the challenge of creating inequality. Ward and Gleditsch make a valid point in stating that globalization tends to only benefit countries that are already wealthy and harm to harm those that are more fragile (HDR 2006, 166)
Poverty has existed long before globalization came about but local and national efforts to fix the issue have been undercut by the process of globalization (Heyck 2002). Globalization research shows that this process has a huge impact on even the most remote corners of Latin America and is extremely disruptive to the traditional communities and their cultures. She argues that poverty cannot be blamed on globalization but what is different today is the amount of and intensity of the hardships that the poor are confronted with daily. What is different is the amount of cultural erosion and national autonomy. Many citizens of Latin America, over time, since globalization has begun to affect the countries, believe their country is becoming fragmented and their values lost as increased numbers of immigrants bring new customs and international trade and communication penetrate all corners of the country and displace the local culture. Some even fear “cultural homogenization.”
Niezen uses the term “de-localization” to describe the enormous increase in mobility, which is transforming the ways that people view, their place in the world (both spatial and temporal location)(Niezen 2004). Societies, now more so than ever, are being uprooted by economic intrusions and opportunities that lead to migration. “Public spaces have been transformed to reflect or accommodate boundaryless commerce” (Niezen 2004, 61). Latin America has historically suffered from unsettling levels of insecurity about markets, economic development, inflation, unemployment, education and political instability (López-Alves 2007). These issues have led to a short-term and long-term future that is very unclear.
With the increase of globalization, Niezen argues that people tend to feel more displaced and feel an “in-betweeness” which causes them to search for better “cultural footing” by ultimately creating a new identity but intermingling and combining cultural elements. This is sometimes referred to as the process of “hybridization”(Niezen 2004). Globalization creates these displacements with the close proximity of cultures and peoples, which can cause a combination of cultures. This is sometimes portrayed as a “defiant, hopeful answer to the hegemony of the West” (Niezen 2004, 75). Another view of this hybrid form of culture is that it emphasizes the “discontents of marginalization and the ambiguities of acculturation” (Niezen 2004, 75). By pressing ideas, values and technologies on those that seem to be “lacking in the virtues of “civilization”” it does them no good and may cause them to dislike the new ideas. In a way the people that these new ideas are pressed upon feel forced to transition.
The word local is juxtaposed to the word global. Although many people believe local only deals with people and their way of life, it can also mean national or subnational (Stamatopoulou 2013, 439). It is common knowledge that in todays’ world, a state can be comprised of numerous cultures, depending upon the diversity of the population. The amount of international pressure place upon a state to conform to a certain economic path is tremendous but this then impacts human rights of the population and the local culture alike. Stamatopoulou states that even though economic globalization has negatively impacted culture, it is not unaware of that impact (Stamatopoulou 2013, 441). Governments must be willing to provide “unhindered participation in cultural life nationally, including the freedom to create cultural products”(Stamatopoulou 201, 441). With these types of cultural freedom and no fear that their culture will eventually disappear at the national level, the people will be better equipped to engage in dialogue with other cultures which include the market. In cases of the developing world, like Latin America, governments may “consider seeking international development assistance in order to better promote national culture” (Stamatopoulou 2013, 442).
Elsa Stamatopoulous argues that local culture should be the preserved in the face of new developments. Although culture has a number of definitions, an understanding of culture that derives from the examination of literature and the work of the UN bodies and that is useful for examining development and cultural rights operates at three levels: (1) as the accumulated material heritage of mankind, (2) as a process of artistic or scientific creation, and (3) as a way of life (Stamatopoulous 2013, 438). Every time a culture comes in contact with another culture, even more so in this interconnected world today, a culture changes. Human Development Reporters agree with this by stating, “…Cultural identities are heterogeneous and evolving—they are dynamic processes in which internal inconsistencies and conflicts drive change” (HDR 2006, 13).
“Globalization’s disciplinary force may be powerful, but it is not omnipotent”(López-Alves 2007). Although the forces of globalization currently at work may not be reversed, but to preserve culture, sovereignty, economic interests and improve political instabilities, action must be taken by Latin America to counter this monster of globalization. Although Latin America cannot wait for the point at which it becomes stagnant again. They must deal with these issues with their countries before pushing outward. States still possess the power to “defy the market” (Lopez-Alves 2007). They must also remember that “the concept of development with culture is enshrined in international human rights standards that have been elaborated in the last decade” and that “despite the pressures that globalization poses on governments to conform to the dominant development paradigm, it is important to recognize that the laws and ethics of development that the international community has passed on as part of our modern heritage are also part of the globalized world” (Stamatopoulou 2013, 445).
Globalization’s Deleterious Effects: The Case of Latin America

Niezen (2004) believes that de-localization is the effort of the people to redefine, reestablish and rediscover their lost culture and “relocalize identity” to its original form. When asked of U.S. policies, Latin Americans today tend to look at how their countries have been historically treated which include perceptions of “exploitation, mistrust and dependency” (López-Alves 2007). Latin Americans feel that if foreign policy is largely reflected in the public opinion of the country or region to which it applies, then the U.S. has failed on this account. The United State pursuit of democracy with Latin America and their foreign policies are “far from established”(López-Alves 2007). Many in Latin America feel that if the United States was being the promotion of democracy in Latin America and responsible for bringing democracy to them, then it would negatively impact them just because the United States was behind it.

“And if there is no such thing as an original, pure culture, then there cannot be a process of hybridization that is uncomplicated by centuries or millennia of cultural exchange, penetration, and flux” (Niezen 2007, 168). But, Heyck (2002) argues that in her research, these rural populations of Latin America are not “passive victims of an inexorable process” (281). She argues that they are “active agents” some of whom have adapted to these powerful outside influences and attempted to remake them to accommodate local realities and values. Heyck states that although many aspects of globalization have been extremely disruptive and destructive to Latin America, the people have found global agencies to help them cope. She argues that there are two powerful constants that help them do so: “attitude toward land and religious faith.”
The word local is juxtaposed to the word global. Although many people believe local only deals with people and their way of life, it can also mean national or subnational (Stamatopoulou 2013, 439). It is common knowledge that in todays’ world, a state can be comprised of numerous cultures, depending upon the diversity of the population. The amount of international pressure place upon a state to conform to a certain economic path is tremendous but this then impacts human rights of the population and the local culture alike. Stamatopoulou states that even though economic globalization has negatively impacted culture, it is not unaware of that impact (Stamatopoulou 2013, 441). Governments must be willing to provide “unhindered participation in cultural life nationally, including the freedom to create cultural products.” With these types of cultural freedom and no fear that their culture will eventually disappear at the national level, the people will be better equipped to engage in dialogue with other cultures which include the market. In cases of the developing world, like Latin America, governments may “consider seeking international development assistance in order to better promote national culture” (Stamatopoulou 2013, 442).
For Latin America to combat globalization there needs to be a government in place that is not corrupt or just out to better themselves. The Latin American people need democracy. The people need political inclusion; they need to be able to be active participants in the decision-making process. This is also important in safeguarding cultural liberty, allowing them the freedom to choose their own lifestyles (HDR 2006, 21). Democracy would allow the Latin American people to be informed and involved in the decisions and create a society in which they want to live in. The people should be included in open discussions and this would also allow for the minority population of Latin America to be heard as well. It is well understood that many, if not all, Latin American countries have democracies but are they legitimate democracies. Are they a government by the people, where the people have a say and received benefits and protections. Most governments of Latin America are extremely corrupt, providing the people with no support, protection, or room for their input.
When asked to give an example of this loss of culture, Yúdice was able to state that there are virtually no Central American singers left. That is not to say that the people of Latin America are extremely fond of American pop culture, it is because they cannot compete with the studio marketing machines of bigger countries such as the U.S. and Mexico. Yúdice stated, “saturation of the airwaves make it impossible for Central Americans to circulate their own narratives, images and sounds to their own country” let alone beyond their borders. This has a huge effect on shaping identity. The University of Miami’s College of Arts and Science conducted research in Central America where George Yúdice is originally from. When giving a lecture, Yúdice asked the audience if anyone was able to name a Guatemalan singer and not a single person raised their hand. According to, a top record recorder, in the last decade, there have been less than 10 artists in the last decade from Latin America. In addition, when examining their website, under the tab “international,” Latin America nor Central America is even listed but yet Germany, France, Canada and Japan are. After several clicks throughout the website, there is a list of Top Latin Songs and Albums, many of the names were not widely known nor were the lists easy to find.

In an article written by IPS in 2006, Diego Cevallos, a IPS Correspondent and researcher stated that within the last 500 years, hundreds of languages have disappeared from Latin America and in the not-so-distant future, those 600 that are left may not be far behind. In this increasingly interdependent world, only the dominant languages seem to prevail. Spanish, Portuguese and English are the languages that Latin Americans face when dealing with Western culture. Indigenous languages, such as Kiliwua in Mexico, Ona and Puelche in Argentina, Amanayé in Brazil, and Záparo in Ecuador, are just barely managing to survive and only because of the small groups of indigenous people that still use them, most of who are now elderly. Gustavo Solís, a Peruvian linguist who is the author of language studies of the Amazon region argues, “there is nothing in the languages that says one should disappear and another should continue.” Solís further states that whenever there is a disappearance of culture or language, it is a great loss to humanity and when it does happen, “a unique and irreplaceable human experience is extinguished” (Cevallos 2006).

According to UNESCO, half of the languages that exist in the world today could possibly be lost within the next few generations “due to their marginalization from the Internet, Cultural and economic pressures, and the development of new technologies that favor homogeneity”(2006). Within the Amazon jungle, there are a number of isolated Indigenous groups that absolutely refuse to have contact with the Western world and “its progress.” Rodolfo Stavenhagen, a UN special reporter on human rights and basic freedoms of indigenous people, stated that in Latin America, there are groups that are facing “a true cultural genocide.” His belief is based upon the fact that the “developments” being pushed upon them prevent these people from continuing to be whom they are.
Strategies for dealing with globalization

Globalization has left the majority of the people in Latin America in ruins with only two choices: adapt or perish. They must work on strategies for dealing with globalization and possibly find ways to counteract it. If Latin America starts at the local level, building support with some help, they will realize that they have the power to challenge this new global era.

Heyck devotes her book, Surviving Globalization, to telling the story of three specific Latin American communities that fought against globalization and succeeded. The indigenous people of these communities were unfortunately the “losers” of globalization. They were victims of poverty, injustice, social destabilization and cultural disintegration. But they were not passive victims. These communities came up with alternatives that were necessary for their survival and they challenged the “values underlying globalization” (Heyck 2002, 286). The local villagers of these communities were able to show that local control over local resources was vital for economic as well as cultural survival. They have worked to propose a “localist value to replace the centralized control exercised by remote, foreign experts or self-interested and often corrupt national elites” (Heyck 2002, 286).
With the help of NGOs that were willing to work for the interests that were important to these villagers, the NGOs brought technical training programs and workshops in personal and community development to the communities. These communities continue to work toward autonomy and empowerment and focus on education as well. Unfortunately, they are still dependent upon their national governments. Heyck says it best, “what the national elites do not realize is that it is not just the poor people’s end of the boat that is sinking. They are in the same boat, and the poor are the only ones who are bailing” (Heyck 2002, 288). Instead of looking at these communities with distain or at their efforts as a last hope, the governments could use their achievements as models for a new era, one that would protect their culture, livelihood, promote inclusion and provide for a sustainable in the face of globalization. These three communities are just like many other communities within Latin America but the difference is that these three are now connected to other organizations across the globe that dedicates their time to finding alternatives to “progress” (Heyck 2002, 288).
One way to protect their culture, territory and traditions is to opt out of the global economy and to oppose the flow of goods and ideas. But, this may not be the best way to fix the problem of globalization and may not necessarily help Latin America. It may only further poverty and corruption in the government and also does not account for individual choice. Human Development Reporters argue that to preserve cultural identity, does not require staying out of the global market completely. There is a way to protect the cultures of indigenous people based on respect for cultural traditions and sharing of the economic benefits of resource use as well.
Globalization has many “destructive tendencies” as Sandbrook (2003) refers to them. One of these tendencies deals with cultural diversity and the threat posed to it by “media megacorporations, purveying a homogenizing mass culture, demand unrestricted access to foreign markets under the rubric of free trade in services. Long standing national programs to nurture cultural activities may be vulnerable to challenge as constraints on trade” (Sandbrook 2003, 3). He also argues that the reactions by nativists to imported cultural norms and fashions can also be a threat to individual freedom.
Even with the pressures of globalization placed on governments to conform to the dominant development model, it should be remembered that laws and ethics of development (such as the international human rights framework) have been passed on and are also part of the globalized world (Stamatopoulou 2013, 445). States need to respect their obligations to these laws and ethics when creating development policies and programs.
In 2006, in the Global Human Development Report, the core team wrote, “Today’s intensified global interactions can function well only if governed by bonds of shared values, communication and commitment.” For the different cultures of Latin America to survive in the globalizing world today, there must be a respect for the cultural heritage of these groups in the global world.
Some believe that between the values of some cultural traditions and advancements in development and democracy, there lay contradictions. There is currently no hard evidence to claim that some cultures are superior or inferior, therefore, if they are all equal, why should one supersede the other in the global world? Why should one culture dominate the other or be seen as being important enough to preserve?

Future of Latin America with Globalization/ Globalization Alternatives

One of the core organizing principles of world politics is national sovereignty. The state still has the power to not be fully integrated into the global market and protect itself from the outside even when pushed. States still possess the ability to defy the market (Cohen 2007,100). Flint warns that globalization is not a one way process and in part has been created by the states (Flint 2003, 362). Therefore, states possess the ability to decide to reimpose a regime that is centered upon the sovereignty of the nation-states (Flint 2003, 362). Latin American needs to find a balance and connect. Unfortunately, globalization cannot be undone so if they expect to survive, a balance between the poor and rich; a balance between the influence of the global market and their market; a balance between the global culture that fights to take over and their local cultures needs to be found or Latin America will perish. The amount of crime and crime will only rise and their cultures and traditions will be lost forever.

It is not only the responsibility of the indigenous people of Latin American to protect their culture and traditions, this responsibility is also left to the government and international organizations who have been responsible for bringing globalization to Latin America. One of the key pieces to ensuring the inclusion of indigenous people rests in the hands of the national governments and international institutions and how they deal with investments in indigenous territories and protect traditional knowledge (HDR 2006, 91). The traditional practices, knowledge and innovations of the indigenous people can be useful in the global market and global practices (HDR 2006, 91).
The people of Latin America not only want recognition of the customs, livelihood and traditions that are important to them, they want compensation for what is taken from them and rightfully so. Ecuador has one of the largest oil reserves in Latin America and although high taxes are paid for this, little to none of this money is ever seen by the indigenous people. These are issues for the global community but for the government as well. The constitution presently gives no rights to oil to the indigenous people. The people living within this territory should have a say in what is done with the resources there. Human Development reporters argue that, “addressing the concerns of indigenous people will require global, national and corporate policies that advance human development goals” (HDR 2006, 93).
Latin America and the global community are not on the same page and they need to work together to adjust to the changing global rules and national laws or Latin American culture and traditions will no longer exist. They need to work together to recognize and account for the concerns of the indigenous people. They need to be equally allowed to take part in the investment flow, ideas and knowledge, which currently only benefits a few. Human Development Reporters state three essential measures to achieving this: (1) Explicitly recognizing indigenous people’s rights over their physical and intellectual property; (2) requiring consultations with indigenous communities and their participation for the use of any resources, thus ensuring informed consent; (3) empowering communities by developing strategies to share benefits (HDR 2006, 94). These three pieces may help Latin America survive the fast advancing globalization of their world.
To protect culture and traditions, these essential pieces should be codified in law. For example, in Guatemala, they have laws that promote the wider use of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions by putting them under state protection. Aspects of culture, economics and traditional knowledge that are important to the people of Latin America should be protected such as the liquors and teas of Venezuela. Rules on global trade and investment should also account for cultural sensitivities and customary property rights of indigenous people. Another addition to their laws that could help protect certain aspects of the Latin American culture would be a “cultural exception” clause within trade rules. This clause would acknowledge certain cultural goods as traded commodities (HDR 2006, 96). In the past, this was done by Uruguay and some of these cultural exceptions were even included in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (HDR 2006, 96). This idea of the cultural exception clause can settle some Latin American concern that their culture will be threatened by globalization. Cultural goods show “ideas, symbols and lifestyles and are an intrinsic part of the identity of the community that produces them” (HDR 2006, 97).
Richard Sandbrook states that the problem is not necessarily with globalization itself but is with free market globalization and the solution to this problem is better regulation of global capitalism. The regulation of global capitalism should be one in which markets are “subordinate to social and ecological needs” (Sandbrook 2003, 4). His book on civilizing globalization assumes that globalization is a constructed system that can be reconstructed through human agency. Since neoliberal globalization comes from negotiated international agreements, to propose an alternative to globalization would be to renegotiate these agreements. In doing so, a “less volatile, more egalitarian, more sustainable, more democratic and less culturally homogenizing globalization” can be achieved (Sandbrook 2003, 8). But, this can be a difficult task to achieve.
If the people of Latin America show their discontent to their government, policymakers may be more inclined to limit openness of abroad. Since the future is so uncertain, especially for Latin America in the face of globalization, smaller companies and workers should lobby for protection against lost jobs or incomes. López-Alves suggests, public-interest groups protest risks globalizations possess to the traditional way of life. Although dealing with these current issues of globalization is difficult, it is not impossible but there needs to be a set strategy. It is necessary to address the “uncertain costs of liberalization as well as the benefits” (López-Alves 2007). This policy needs to realize that trade-offs will be required “to reconcile with trade promotion with other legitimate goals of policy.” This policy must also address the openness of the market but must also assess issues of income inequality, the environment, culture and national sovereignty.
With the continued distrust of government and disconnect between the citizens of Latin America and the government, the threat to democratization is imminent. The governmental system is at the heart of the problem and to not fix the government so that democracy can thrive and protect the people would destroy the countries of Latin America. Globalization will not disappear and at an increasing rate may only cause further divide amongst the people of Latin America. The people as well as the governments must stand up and face globalization by creating new policies and utilizing the international organizations that will help them further their own agenda of keeping their culture, encouraging education and economic prosperity.

Currently, with the economic change, income inequality, environmental decay, and cultural degradation, globalization has created clear “losers” in Latin America. For these “losers” as well as Latin America as a whole, the future is extremely uncertain. The policymakers need to address the critics concerns for the open market of globalization. To revert back to protectionism will only further harm the nation so that is not an option but to fix the policies to be “multicultural” ones would provide a more inclusive to the people of Latin America and allow more than just a few to prosper.

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