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The Globalization Reader, 5th Edition by John Boli, Frank J. Lechner

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Introduction

In Golden Arches East, James L. Watson reports that, as older residents of Hong Kong revel in the quality of Cantonese cuisine, their offspring avidly consume Big Macs, pizza, and Coca-Cola. Not long ago, travelers on British Rail's first-class Pullman service could enjoy dishes from India, the Middle East, China, Greece, and so on, as Allison James reports in a volume on Cross-Cultural Consumption. From personal experience, we can attest that, in urban areas of the American South, Thai cuisine successfully competes with traditional fare and supermarkets abound with produce from most continents. To be sure, these examples refer to privileged areas of the world. They are not unprecedented, as the earlier European adoption of New World potatoes and sugar demonstrates. Yet they illustrate one way in which globalization affects people concretely, namely, through changes in diet and taste. Such changes express new linkages, new transnational structures, and a new global culture. More and more people can literally get a taste of what it means to be part of world society.

No one experiences globalization in all its complexity, but globalization is significant insofar as it reshapes the daily lives of billions of people. Increasingly, the larger world is present locally. This obviously applies to a Ban Ki-moon (the UN secretary-general) or a Bill Gates (founding chairman of Microsoft), conscious contributors to globalization, but it is also true for the Thai prostitutes, ...

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