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The effects of Industrialization and globalisation.

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Introduction

Industrialization in the Western world has been going on for centuries. In America it has been expanding most rapidly since the Civil War, when the industrial North defeated the largely agrarian South. Since the end of World War II we have come to believe that prosperity, and even happiness, might be reached by acquiring goods. Consequently, it became necessary to increase production in order for Americans to obtain prosperity as quickly and as widely as possible. At the same time, we have been polluting the world for decades now with unregulated industrial expansion, assuming that the need for a prosperous lifestyle justified destroying indigenous cultures or parts of the natural environment if they were obstacles to our goals. In this paper, I will discuss how Western growth has often spread with disregard to its effects on others. I will also discuss the meaning of prosperity. Is it reached through the endless acquisition of material goods, and does prosperity bring happiness, or can a relatively simple lifestyle bring with it the inner contentment that everyone seeks. In certain countries that we like to classify as belonging to the Third World, people live with only basic necessities, but often seem to enjoy life more than we do. They seem not to encounter problems such as anxiety and depression, and they have low suicide rates. Their families are more stable and supportive, and people seem comfortable with their identities. This paper will examine industrialization both from a material and a cultural viewpoint. After World War II, industry in America and Europe started expanding rapidly. Most of Europe had been destroyed, and there was a need to rebuild its industrial infrastructure. Also, after World War II, many countries felt it was important to increase their military capabilities, in order to be able to defend themselves. Many believed that if the democratic countries of Europe had not disarmed after World War I, they would have been able to resist Hitler. ...read more.

Middle

They keep to traditional Chinese values, recognize Chinese authority in their workplaces and social gatherings, and have no intention of integrating into the larger American society. Thus, the study is essentially comparing two societies from different worlds: the West and the Third World. As mentioned before, the Cross National Collaborative Group found that major depression is the number one disorder in the Western World. It is growing in all age groups, but especially amongst teens. Furthermore, the study affirms that an estimated 35 to 40 million Americans living today will suffer from major depression at some point in their lifetime. Additionally, a BBC News article online recently stated: "Depression will be the second leading cause of death by 2020, predicts the World Health Organization. Many blame increasing job and relationship insecurity for the rise in mental illness." Job and relationship insecurities are all issues related to the industrial world, and caused by the relentless emphasis on the need to acquire material wealth before all else. In a Business Week magazine article titled "Is keeping up with the Jones killing us?", Juliet B. Schor comes to the conclusion that wanting Gucci sunglasses because our neighbor has them is "making us crazy". Materialism is driving people into a never-ending spiral of competition, making us unhappy, and in some cases unpatriotic, unless we accumulate more and more goods. On the other hand, in Chinatown, New York, there was a study examining Chinese patients to determine whether or not they were depressed. After examining some 900 eligible patients, only a small percentage was found to have any depressive or anxiety related issues. Many communities in South America and Africa still do not suffer widely from this natural chemical imbalance called depression. On the contrary, instead of focusing on material gain, these traditional societies seem to focus on spiritual well-being. In recent years, however, cases of depression and anxiety are increasing slowly in Third World countries. ...read more.

Conclusion

Anyone can participate. One would hate to see such joy and excitement become "regulated". "In our world, where we live in a solitary confinement of our own making, among tiny nuclear family units, where we pay in every relationship with the outside world in cash, we have discarded the most important thing of all. We have lost our network of friendships," according to Jof Walters. Perhaps, instead of having one society try to standardize the rest of the world, we should learn from one other and share traditions and ideas. Furthermore, we have organizations allegedly trying to help the impoverished countries, but which, in effect, are either imposing foreign cultures on them, or are exploiting them for the benefit of rich nations. The World Bank lends money to Westernize developing countries, and charges them so much interest that they cannot afford to build needed infrastructures. There must be more communication among nations, so that gifts can become true gifts and not a way of maintaining dependency. Of course, not all Western ways have been destructive. Though we have created lots of problems in our push for greater production, we have also developed new medicines and new technologies, and made them affordable to large numbers of peoples. Most important, we live longer. In our space explorations we have gained new knowledge about the universe we live in, and many of the products and technologies first developed for space travel, have trickled down to the benefit of the general population. The key is to be able to combine the need for intangible values such as happiness with the search for new technology. The old ways of being happy remind us that as we try to push for a First World mentality, old fashions stay with us. Finally, I would like to end with the powerful lines of Lalleshwari, a Kashmiri Poetess of the 14th century (1320-1390): The soul, like the moon, Is new, and always new again. And I have seen the ocean Continuously creating. ...read more.

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