The Pleasure and Terror of Globalization
Globalization, the buzzword in contemporary early twenty-first century life, becomes the normative reality of national and individual existence. If we are to believe its proponents, life will not be today without globalization. But what kind of life is heralded by recent globalization drives that attempt to further capture the limited markets of the world? Is this not the same thing, as Lenin has argued about imperialism, that recent wars are set forth for the greater right and access to control economic and financial markets?
We sip our Starbucks coffee as often as our eyes begin to show sleepy signs of anxiety, chuck high-calorie Big Macs for daily meals, watch full-length
The Perils of Globalization
The U.S. has single-handedly (albeit with some aid of the governments of, primarily of the United Kingdom, and less so of Spain and Portugal who gave its moral suasion to the U.S. cause) maneuvered the world to sidetrack the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution for the inspection of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. It launched its war of vested interest with
Although “less that one percent of the U.S. budget goes to foreign aid” or about “$11.3 billion in economic assistance and $4.3 billion for peace keeping operations and to finance, train, and educate foreign armed forces,” the Philippines is expected to get $50 million in funding to fight terrorism. This is peanuts compared to the top recipients of U.S. aid—Israel with $2.1 billion per year in military aid and $600 million per year in economic support; Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid and about $615 million for social programs; Columbia with $540 million per year to assist battle drug trade and terrorist groups; Jordan with $250 million in economic support and $198 million in military financing. With the advent of war on terrorism, the windfall beneficiaries include Pakistan, key ally in the war in Afghanistan, will get $200 million in economic aid and $50 million in military support (the U.S. has also arranged a debt-write-off of $1 billion in loans from the World Bank and IMF); Turkey, for providing military support and helping track terrorist financial networks, $17.5 million in military aid; Central Asian States, for providing air bases for U.S. operations, Uzbekistan will get $43 million, Kyrgyzstan will get $4 million; and post-war Afghanistan, has already received $450 million in humanitarian and reconstruction aid and will get $140 million in economic and military assistance.
The Philippine package, after all, is attractive enough for providing support to the
The on-going exercises is considered as the “second large insertion of
What Arroyo has done vigorously for the
Arroyo’s rosy description of the Philippines’ role in postwar Iraq—more Filipino contractual workers to be hired in the rebuilding—is baseless as the U.S. Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance has only been allocated $2.4 billion, while the cost of the was is pegged at $79 billion. The
This, I think, is the terror of globalization—the expected push-and-pull strategy of the most powerful country in the world to do anything and everything to get what it wants, as “
Why do we allow it, even only in our minds?
The Pleasures of Globalization
But far more importantly, as Jack Valenti, Hollywood stalwart, says, “Going to the movies is the American remedy for anxieties of daily life.” What
There is a scene in the commercially and critically successful film Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott, director; 2001), showing two American soldiers in separate scenes, isolated from their troops, fearing for their lives against the chaos of militia and citizens of
The scene blurs the real, the historical is predisposed in the service of the imaginary. Though the film narrates the ill-fated humanitarian mission of American soldiers in
The scene, like the film itself, represents an aestheticization of the real and historical. It uses the very modes of representing the real in documentary filmmaking or even in cable news reporting (single camera movement, tracking shots, jittery movements, under- and over-exposed shots) but for the purpose of exposing and privileging the filmic reality. Thus the conventions of the real are made hyperreal in the postmodern in-mixing of styles and devices to render the imaginary as valid, legitimate and determinant of truth-claims. Integral to the aestheticization is the star system, making prominent young Hollywood leading men Josh Harnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore and Eric Bana, to name a few, as representatives of the historical personality of American soldiers in Somalia.
Both in film and in history, 18
Fastfood burgers and experience dominate daily culture, even those in non-First World scope. Thus, like the culture of burgers and fastfood, and other spheres of imperial daily life or what is known as the McDonaldization of experience, the experience with the real is standardize through the experience with the imaginary. McDonalization means the standardization and rationalization of experience to a level of the hyperreal. As Douglas Kellner states, “McDonald’s experience is a hyperreal one, in which its model of fast-food consumption replaces the traditional model of home-prepared food with commodified food, which then becomes a model for food production, replicated through frozen and prepared food and the spinoff of countless other chain fastfood restaurant businesses.” Furthermore, as Kellner explains, “McDonaldization is part of a new global form of technocapitalism in which world markets are being rationalized and reorganized to maximize capital accumulation.”
Such intensified efforts to sell globally have productively banked on the image of American globality and global products. What is negated, like in
In light of the fact that nutritional experts almost universally agree that the kind of food sold by McDonald’s is bad for you. With 28 grams of fat, 12.6 of which are saturated, in a Big Mac, and 22 more grams in and order of French fries, along with 52 additives being used in its various food products, it is scarcely surprising that an internal company memorandum would state that: “we can’t really address or defend nutrition. We don’t sell nutrition and people don’t come to McDonald’s for nutrition. When the company’s cancer expert, Dr. Sydney Arnott, was asked his opinion of the statement that “a diet high in fat, sugar, animal products and salt and low in fibre, vitamins and minerals is linked with cancer of the breast and bowel and heart disease,” he replied, “If it is being directed to the public then I would say it is a very reasonable thing to say.”
With more aggressive tie-ups with popular films and pop culture artifacts and toys for children, fastfood offers a diversified multicultural intra-historical consuming experience. It creates nostalgia, the idealization of the past no matter how imperfect it originally was. This nostalgia is perpetuated in fastfood, realizing the impossibility of reacquiring the past through the present consumption mode, even as this present experience is imbued with the reality of production. Fastfood employees, like employees in the service sectors of postindustrialism, are suffer from low wages, poor working conditions, and subcontracting labor practice. Service sector employees are considered full-time nonpermanent employees, and thus, not entitled to non-wage benefits. They also suffer from poor working conditions, like the requirement to remain standing for long periods of time during work, wage deductions for shortages in cashier tabulation, long working hours, and so on. They are also subcontracted employees, part of the thrust of the service sector for flexible labor. This means that before six months of their hiring in which their employers are obligated to employ them on a permanent status, they are terminated.
How long McDonald’s cleaners must work to buy a BigMac
Source: ALU Issue No. 42, January - March 2002 
The conditions of work and pay are prohibitive even for the fastfood employee to partake of the consumption experience. “Taking extreme examples, an Australian cleaner could buy three BigMacs after working for one hour; whereas a Pakistani cleaner would have to work for more than fourteen hours to buy the same burger.” Fastfood outlets target young mobile people for work. These young people, especially in developing nations, realize consumer power for the first time. Their labor are considered as overvalued labor yet in due time, with continuous deskilling required, their labor potentials remain undeveloped. Yet given these material reality of labor in production and nutrition in consumption, many consumers will not be stopped from their burgers and fries or from their experience with the
Terror remains and is perpetuated in the production of amnesia over these realities in favor of imaginative reality. Terror is sugar-coated in historical reality in order to swallow the bitter pill of the after-effects. Not only are nutrition and unfair labor practices are perpetuated but also the very negation of the historic realities of imperialism, remaining abstract and indiscent. Popular culture therefore becomes nexus, if not dialectically related, to political and economic cultures.
With the lingering of the U.S. war on Iraq, McDonald’s sales has plunged for 13 straight months, falling 3.7 percent in the U.S., 5.4 percent in Europe, and 9.9 percent in Asia, Middle East and Africa markets. The plunge was also a reaction to currency adjustments and the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the Asia Pacific, than to the actual boycott of McDonald’s as a symbol of
 Enrico dela Cruz and Cecille Yap, “Gov’t overshoots 1st quarter deficit target by P3.7B,” http://www.inq7money.net\breakingnews/view_breakingnews.php?yyy=2003&mon…,
 Jennie L. Ilustre, “‘Active support’ nets RP more aid from US,” http://www.inq7.net/nat/2003/feb/07/text/nat_2-1-p.htm,
 Council on Foreign Relations, “Foreign Aid,” http://www.terrorismanswers.com/policy/foreign aid_print.html. The amounts are based on Bush’s 2003 budget proposal. For another listing of
 Council of Foreign Relations, ibid.
 Veronica Uy, “
 “Lawmaker seeks probe on RP mission to
 Fe B. Zamora, “RP ‘vulnerable to terror’ without US, says Macapagal,” http://www.inq7.net/brk/2003/apr/25/text/brkpol_15-1-p.htm,
 Revolutionary Worker, “Escalating the Unjust War in the
 “55 deportees from US arrive at
 Jeffrey Tupas and Edwin Fernandez, “7 more kids die in Pikit evacuation centers,” http://www.inq7.net/nat/2003/mar/23/text/nat_3-1-p.htm,
 Eduardo R.C. Capulong, “
 Niall Ferguson, “The True Cost of Hegemony: Huge Debt,” http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/20/weekinreview/20FERG.html?pagewanted=p…
 Focus 2002: World Film Market Trends,
 Ibid. Korean figure from Jack Miles and Douglas McLennan, “Global Crossing,” http://www.artsjournal.com/artswarch/Globalculture%20-1.htm.
 Screen Digest, quoted in ibid.
 Screen Digest, quoted in ibid.
 Quoted in ibid.
 Quoted in Kellner, ibid.
 Cohen, ibid.