This essay is for my freshman year seminar regarding the globalization of India. It should discuss how globalization has changed during colonialism to recently. It should discuss how globalization now affects the Indian people and how they will adopt and adapt globalization.
Title: India's Possible Rise in the 21st Century above the West and the Problems it Must Triumph
The globalization of India from the 1800s to the early 1900s is characterized by strong British involvement, through British control of Indian resources, and British influence on Indian culture. The colonizing of India was a way for Britain to take advantage of what was offered in the "uncivilized" world and a way to expand its dominance physically and culturally. As a result of this intrusion, Indians faced over a century of turmoil at home, as well as abroad. This foreign presence forced change upon India in the form of globalization. Indenturing and enslaving Indian people moved Indians across oceans, which resulted in the integration of Indian people into the global network. British influence led to the influence of western education on the education system in India, and ideas about democracy, and technology shifting east. Since the 1980s, a new form of globalization has taken place in India, which depends on the concept of capitalism. Like the former globalization, it also depends on the cheap labor of Indians, and like it, there is still a strong western influence and hold on India. But what differs between the previous globalization and the present is that the present form displays potential and opportunity for Indians to gain mobility as a whole, and rise above the west's hold. This is due to the nature of the work produced, the technologies present, the new structures present in the world, and the advantages India holds as a country. Although India has this opportunity to rise to the top, it faces internal problems that may hold it down, and prevent the advantages this new form of globalization can offer it.
Globalization in India since the 1980s has depended on a capitalist approach. Capitalist globalization depends on the flow of capital and jobs from wealthier nations into developing nations. Jobs that have been traditionally in the United States, such as telemarketing, are being moved over to India due to the lower costs in India. Along with this, information technology work is also being outsourced. The reason why this work is being outsourced to India is because in India the wages and rents are less than one-fifth of what they are in Western capitals. (Flat 18). Although the jobs are not wanted in America because they are, "low wage, low-prestige jobs in America, [...] when shifted to India they become high-wage, high-prestige jobs." (Flat 24). A discussion with Thomas Friedman, the author of The World is Flat, revealed: "Most of the young people [...] give all or part of their salary to their parents. In fact, many of them have starting salaries that are higher than their parents' retiring salaries. For entry-level jobs into the global economy, these are about as good as it gets." (Flat 22). These new opportunities through outsourcing are giving Indians resources which grant them greater mobility in society. Rather than do as their parents had, or worse, they have the opportunity to change the cycle and rise up in society. "On the surface, there is something unappealing about the idea of inducing other people to flatten their accents in order to compete in a flatte world. But before you disparage it, you have to taste just how hungry these kids are to escape the lower end of the middle class and move up." (Flat 27). Capitalist globalization is in a way making the world flatter by providing more opportunities for people around the world to rise up in society and be empowered, people are rising out of poverty much faster than ever before.
Besides telemarketing, other jobs are available in CAT scan reading, long-distance secretary work, and software writing. India has developed a strong informational technology industry, with workers writing software programs for American, European and multinational companies. The development of computers and the internet, where "global fiber-optic network [...] has made us all next-door neighbors" has given globalizing countries like India a new well to tap. This technology is leveling the playing field and allowing all to be equal players on the world platform. Previous globalization expanded horizons for Indian minutely, and in a way suppressed them due to British hold and controls. This new form of globalization presents much more opportunity. Indians are writing a great deal of software, and not just the dirty work for Americans themselves but for themselves. "These countries are steadily developing their research and development [...] that continues we really will see the beginning of what Satyam Cherukuri, of Sarnoff [...] called "the globalization of innovation" and end of a single American or European multinational handling all the development product cycle from its resources." (Flat 30). Because this globalization has room for innovation, and the fact that software is highly demanded, Indians have greater mobility. Besides performing work for Americans, they can develop their own innovations. "Indian units of Cisco Systems, Intel, IBM, Texas Instruments, and GE have already filed 1,000 patent applications with the U.S. Patent Office [...] engineers are developing new ideas for aircraft engines, transport systems and plastics." (Flat 30). As Indians transcend "subservient" work, by gaining more wealth and developing innovation, they will have a stronger hold of their economy and country rather than depending on the lead of another country. In a conversation between Thomas Friedman and Jaithirth Rao, who runs a team that does the work of outsourced accounting, Rao says, "In ten years we are going to be doing a lot of the stuff that is being done in America today. We can predict our future. But we are behind you. You are defining the future. America is always on the edge of the next creative wave." (Flat 15). If India is to rise above the current work it is being given by other countries, by becoming wealthier and slowly decreasing demand for those jobs, and by developing technology and work with information it learns from sources abroad, it has the potential to not be the dependent but the independent. Technology has given it the resources to do so, as it has began to level the playing field.
Although capitalist globalization is pulling many people out of poverty very quickly, many people are being left behind. Although the information technology sector of India is on the rise and there is telemarketing, those jobs do not constitute a large part of the population. According to Friedman, "As exciting and as visible as the flat Indian high sector is, have no illusions: It accounts for 0.2 percent of employment in India. Add those Indians involved in manufacturing for export, and you get a total of 2 percent of employment in India." (Flat 383) There is a significant divide in the income gap which can be seen comparing the flat and unflat world. There is also widespread illness in globalizing countries like India, which leaves many behind due to poor health facilities and aid. In one example, a principal of a school of which a significant amount of students are untouchables and live in filth, without clothing or clean water is irritated because an hour away is modern Bangalore with its fancy skyscrapers. This principal, Lalita Law says, "You have to come to the rural villages and see whether India is shining, and you look into a child's face and see whether India is shining. India is shining okay for the glossy magazines, but if you just go outside Bangalore [...] alcoholism is rife and female infanticide and crime are rising. You have to bribe to get electricity." (Flat 377). Many people in rural India do not experience the flatness that those in the cities experience. Due to local corruption, the governments "cannot deliver to the poor the schools an infrastructure they need to get a fair share of the pie." (283). Those in rural areas want to be part of flat India, which they see on televisions through the advertisement of commodities. They say, "Stop the globalization train, we want to get off. [...] Stop the globalization train, we want to get on, but someone needs to help us by building a better stepstool." (Flat 383). They are too disempowered and need government and outside assistance to get a better stepstool so they can participate in this flattening world. Without help they will impede with globalization such as in the overthrowing of the BJP because of discontent rural voters. (383).
The flattening of the world also resulted in the desire of India to modernize its infrastructure and bring it to the level of that found in the first world. To do so it displaced around 500,000 people per year (62) to build dams and buildings like that of the west. A desire to accelerate development of infrastructure it is willing to displace people with poor or little compensation. "Today private corporations benefit from the government support of various kinds with the government acquiring lands from peasants and tribals and making them available to these companies at hugely subsidized rates." (Menon 64?). Those who rebel may be killed and those who impede with economic growth and development such as those who protested low wages from the carmarker Toyota were impeded by the government. (Menon 67). The poor are dislocated in an effort to "beautify" the country of which their shanties interfere with. Their displocation has even been reasoned that by "transplanting them overnight into an alien setting [...] is understood as rehabilitation and liberation from their backward ways of life." (Menon 73). When President Bill Clinton of the United States came to visit Bangalore, many shanties and buildings were torn down and replaced to present a superficial view of Bangalore as "modern" and "first world" to the world. India argues that "while in the West the processes of capitalist industrialization stabilized themselves before the pressures for democracy begain, in India the two processes emerged almost simultaneously." (Menon 69). Although there are differences in how America came about, India should not use this an excuse for displacing people unjustly. Its plans to accelerate the building of infrastructure is superficial and it should reject the western picture of modernity or not accelerate into it. It is possible that India can develop its own modernity slowly and on its own terms. It does not need to adopt the forms that the western world has, or rush into it.
An example of how India adopted western ideas and adapted it is with the KamaSutra condom. The KamaSutra condom advertisement had "aesthetic parameters [which] were clearly derived from the visual repertoire of Western fashion shoots and the glossier end of pop videos" (Maz 61) and was advertised with text that resembled "stereotypical images of Western postwar popular culture" which refers to the post-Independence of India. Although KamaSutra used these ideas, along with the western style of sexualizing commodities, and attaching lifestyles to commodities, a form of advertisement, it maintained an Indianness to the KamaSutra. The KamaSutra condom was marketed with texts from the Kama Sutra text. It presented a concept of Indian pride in the marketing. Based on this good, other goods also took on this, called auto-oriental and aspirational marketing, which connected traditional images and context to goods, giving it an "Indianness" and developing an "Indianness" that could be defined by consumerism. "It's okay not to be able to eat with three different kinds f forks. [...]My identity is not under any kind of crisis. [...]So as a culture, after two hundred years of British rule, the culture is not very self-respecting. Now we have begun to respect ourselves." (Maz 144).
Contemporary capitalist globalization in India is providing Indians the resources to rise up in Indian society, and on a global stage. This new mobility, coupled with the enormous population of the country will provide it the opportunity to rise out of poverty and take a stronger presence on the world stage. New technological advancements such as fiber-optics and computers have changed the stage since the globalization during colonialism. Although Indians may begin doing what Americans see as work beneath them, with innovation due to this technology, India has the potential to rise above the west, which it depends on now and which in previous times had held it down, and use what is has gained to its advantage to rise above. The country while advancing faces troubles internally with infrastructure and corruption. If it does not correct these, or correct these properly there is possibility these problems will impede its flattening in the world. Only time will tell.