<%-- Page Title--%> Perspective <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 124 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

September 26, 2003

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Md. Parvez Sultan

We are moving towards a world where the entire economic system, cultural values, heritage and beliefs are changing rapidly to keep pace with the West. Rabindranath Tagore had identified globalisation in the early decade of 1900 and reflected this in his novel “ The Home and The World.” Tagore believed that nationalism in the West had produced an extreme hankering after material wealth and political power. Furthermore, he said that the East was dominated by the imperialist West. Nevertheless, these philosophies led the west primarily to push the concept of globalisation. The two most important aspects of the west that caught Tagore's attention were (i) the independence of woman and (ii) the Western education system, which he found to be based on the principles of free thought and action. Both these issues became major themes in the above-mentioned novel. In this millennium, his ideas have become even more relevant. Globalisation takes place of traditional colonialism. Both these terms are interchangeable.

Globalisation from the perspective of marketing basically focuses on three main points: the changes in the market structure as a whole; changes in technology; and changes in behavior.

Globalisation of markets is moving away from a socio-economic system in which home markets had distinct entities, isolated by trade, tariff, and non-tariff barriers, obstruction of time, distance, culture and towards a system in which these home markets enter a barrier free market called the global market. Pure competition exists in the global market and only the competitive will only survive. Competitiveness, in turn, can be achieved in three main ways -- through product's quality and differentiation, cost leadership and quick response (service). These tools of achieving competitiveness are primarily in the hands of the developed countries; therefore globalisation of markets and production are only for them and aim at colonising the LLDCs and LDCs. This Tagore understood decades ago although we in the East, are not aware of it even at the present time. Cultural Aggression, Independence of Women, Free Education, Assistance and Grants in the development sectors and others are the pre-stages of colonisation. As a strong cultural personality, Ali Zaker in his article “On the Question of Globalization” in SWM (15th August 2003) has rightly underscored the cultural aggression being waged by the first world countries. Cultural factors shape social norms, values, consumption patterns and behavior in the course of time. It is the westerners who push strategically their culture to the LLDCs and LDCs. It is high time to push back the same from LLDCs and LDCs. This might be a lofty plan but it is the first step to standing on our feet. The formation and implementation of WTO's rules and developments to change the market structure are another tricky game of chess where the third world nations have slim chances of getting any significant benefit.

A boom of technological change is essential in globalisation. Technologies regarding media, production, service, and others are polarised among a group of nations. Many of these nations were the ones that colonised us and robbed our resources using them to further develop their own technologies, infrastructure and socio-economic conditions. We had to pay for these and we are still paying. These technologically advanced countries can even pressurize a country like Bangladesh to export Gas or they can even ignore international organisations like the UN. A balanced development of technology among nations can bring about healthy competition and thus lead to globalisation in its real sense. At present, the so-called globalisation and implementation of WTO's rules are the other side of the coin of colonisation.

The changes in the behavior of a nation are also vital to globalisation. It is people's aspirations, desires, fashion, activities, philosophies are the main forces that bring a change in behavior. Such changes occurred just a few years ago in Malaysia, China, India, Vietnam, Srilanka, and the Maldives in the South and Southeast Asia. We, the people of Bangladesh, have to be globalised in order to import Malaysian Rooti and Parata packed in polythene! Meanwhile, we are banning the use and manufacture of polythene and are ready to export gas to developed countries ignoring the national interest.

We must therefore develop “total marketing”. First of all we need to develop our language skills (English) for creating a market in our culture and making culture transcend geographical boundaries while at the same time being sensitive to our culture. We have to develop our infrastructure and technology ensuring the maximum use of our home resources with minimum waste. Our natural resources like gas might be a good trump card for us not to be at all empty handed.

The writer is a lecturer at the Department of Business Administration, Southeast University, Dhaka.



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