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Families in a Global Context Essay

In the context of the twenty-first century, the entire world is going through changes in almost every walk of life. There has been a fast development in the domains of education and technological advances especially with the arrival of inventions like computer, the Internet, and other communication devices based on extensive space exploration. Global trends are being referred to the world’s next culture, a state of life in which the entire world seems to share common values, ethics in all genres of life, and so forth. At large, new ideologies are emerging and old ones are being retried.

This is impacting the structure of global life on the whole and countries both technologically advanced and developing (or not so technologically advanced) are facing new challenges to cope up with the emerging trends and ideologies. One such challenge present to the whole world is the changing family life and structure which is apparently noticeable in the developed as well as the developing countries of the world. This challenge is mainly credited to the wave of globalization. The present paper, henceforth, looks into this issue.

It examines family structure in a technologically advanced country (i. e. , the United States of America for our case) and in a developing country (India in this instance), and then attempts to arrive at solid conclusions as in what ways the thrashing wave of globalization is impacting family life and/or structure of these countries. 1- Challenges Confronted by Indian Families India is one country in the world which is unique for its multiculturalism and expansion. The view of globalization by people from India, especially the Hindus, is that of is multi-faceted, that is to say, they see a number of implications from this emerging trend.

The basic view of the Indian way of life is that of pluralism, cultural enrichment, and religious unity. As such these trends have long been rooted in the family structure of India. However, the trend of globalization has given different outlook to Indian families. They face a lot of challenges. The major trends in Indian lifestyles like spirituality and other religious matters are being shattered by the trend of globalization. The peaceful view of Indian people that they hold about other religions has been misused. As such, the tolerance of Indian people has caused a lot of shaking in the context of the twenty-first century.

Their culture and traditions are being threatened by globalization, something that Indian people have yet to realize and stand to fight it. For example, with the advent of global business multinational companies, the entire nation is at risk because by global business, the essence of spirituality is at stakes since business has brought up the wave of materialism. Moreover, commercialism is changing human value system in Indian culture mainly because of popular culture (“junk food like coca cola, movies saturated with sex and violence, and an adulation of athletes and movie stars as the most desirable human types”).

All this, in collective way, affecting the family structure of Indian life. Although there are a number of TV channels, the Indian people have yet to realize the actual stand for media and communication which tells of their simplicity and unwillingness to sense danger which is threatening their centuries-old cultural and customary lifestyle: “There has been little organized Hindu response to globalization”.

Although social efforts to guard Indian lifestyle have been initiated (for example, the Swadhyaya movement), it will not incorrect to say that it is not enough on the face of the giant of globalization by the Indians are still not using media efficiently (Internet is the exception here) which simply gives rise to exotic channels, the culture propagated in these channels bringing to Indian life and family structure newer threats each day. (Frawley, p. 20, 2001)

If we look at the demographics related to Indian family structure and growth, we will fairly see difference between the two times: the recent time when globalization has taken place in India; the time in the past when this trend was not present. According Niranjan et al. (2005), from 1961 to 1999, the average family size in India has dropped by 5. 4 percent. According to the authors, this is 1. 4 percent higher than the family size decline in China which straightforwardly suggests that Indian family structure is moving toward the trend of nuclear family structure, a by-product of globalization. Research by Niranjan et al.

(2005) suggests some important key factors that were significantly present while keeping the family structure along with past traditions. Major predictors that have been found for joint family are ownership of land and economic status. Such families stay joint in contrast to those who don’t have ownership of land and higher economic status. Globalization, as such, has played a significant role in bringing means by which people can gain material comfort and thus tend to live in nuclear families. See in this way, it becomes clear that Indian family structure is facing great challenges on the verge of globalization.

As globalization seems to bring in exotic trends and practices, both social and economical, Indian family structure is going through a change: something that is the essence of western lifestyle. Families in the United States of America According to Olsen (2007) states that though the Unites State of America has often been regarded as rudimentary, it is basically the “quintessential liberal ‘social safety net’ providing a relatively restricted range of social protections and services, meager income benefits, and few programs as a right of citizenship or residence” (p.

143). This suggests that family support in the United States of America, a technologically advanced and developed country, is not something to be satisfactory about. USA is the only country in the capitalist world of advanced countries that has never offered a universal family allowance program to its citizens. This country’s family policy, instead, relies on targeted, means-tested segments like Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) later replaced by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

However, according to (2006), US family structuring faced a lot of pressure as it is up to the present on a number of fronts both internal and external. According to the author, the boom in economic status of US family system came up after World War II when Japanese and European manufacturing industries went thought a devastation of war: “Progressive taxation policies redistributed income from corporations and high earners to policies and public investments” benefited middle class families as well as the working class families.

This was the time when globally US family structure was one of the highest enjoying part of social structure in the United States of America as well as the rest of the world (Polaski, p. 02, 2007). The US government initiated such programs as Medicare and Medicaid that benefited the family sustain a balanced lifestyle with standard of living was steadily moving on the upward curve. It was the time when global community saw a fast emerging middle class family structure in the United States of America that entertained higher livings standards.

Then things started moving on the downslide as the Japanese and European manufacturing industries came to compete in the global market with the US, US spending on Vietnam War, and other such factors contributed to building economic pressure on the US family living standards that brought changes in the social networking and framework. With the emergence of globalization the US families, especially the middle class families, saw a decline in the living standards: “Globalization revealed and exacerbated, rather than created, the basic problems with the U. S. system” (Polaski, p. 03, 2007).

Social safety became a problem particularly for the US social structure as in a number of areas like health insurance and portable pensions. The author cites a recent IMF study that states that although the share of labor from all the advanced countries of the world has declined globally in the last twenty years, European workers are still enjoying a bigger share of the wealth of their countries than the workers in the US. Although Europe also faces pressure by globalization, it does have safety net for the social structuring of their people. On the other hand, then United States of America is dangling with uncertainty.

However, the author notes that there is some link with policy making of the advanced countries with those of the developing countries. In this regard the author gives an example of agricultural policy in the United States (and other advanced countries) that has indirect effect of farming activities of a developing country, say India or Pakistan in this case. What happens that, “The United States and other wealthy countries offer agricultural subsidies to their farmers that induce overproduction, with the surpluses sold below cost to the rest of the world.

This causes prices for farm goods to fall in the developing world, lowering the incomes of already poor farmers or forcing them off the land” (Polaski, p. 03, 2007). Seen from this perspective, it is right to suggest that policies in advanced countries do make the developing countries and their people suffer from high to low challenges a number of them are not recoverable which means that solid policy making must start from the region of agricultural reforms and policy revision so that developing nations do not need to suffer more on the hands of wealthy countries.

Both Countries Explored in the above line, what I have analyzed is that both these countries face challenges in the family structuring and economic domain. Indian family structure is tending toward independent nuclear family; whereas, US family structure is going through a change from higher to lower living standards. Both these countries have been affected by the trend of globalization in negative as well as positive ways.

For the Unites States, globalization has brought more education, shift from manufacturing to service industry (Polaski, 2007); then for India, globalization has brought stability in a number of areas in which computer technology and skills related to it are worth mentioning here because today India is the only country in the whole world which has the highest number of computer technician that work both in the country and overseas contributing to the nation’s collective income.

Frawley, p. 20, 2001). Now that the trend of globalization demands from them is that both the countries need to work together to make such policies as can benefit the family structure in both the countries along with economical and social stability. Conclusion Although it is right to state that globalization has benefited the whole world in one way or another, it is also right to remark that a number of things have struck the world from the negative side.

For this case India is the most glaring example because with the advent of materialism, global business practices, popularity of Hollywood movies, and materialism the centuries-old joint family structure whole over India is fast declining at an alarming rate. Compared with the United States of American, it comes to our critical notice that family structure in these two countries have different problems from each other. One country has family system as joint; while the other country is essentially nuclear.

One is less educated country with majority being poor; whereas USA is a highly affluent country whose people are literate on the global standards. The challenges these two countries face in globalization are also different. India needs to boost up its economy by developing its industry, human capital, industrial structure, and so forth; USA has to make such policies as do not harm countries like India.

References Frawley, D. (2001). Hindu response to globalization. International Journal of Humanities and Peace 17 (1) 20+. Niranjan, S., Nair, S. , & Roy, T. K. (2005).

Socio-Demographic analysis of the size and structure of the family in India. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 36 (4) 623+. Olsen, G. M. (2007). Toward global welfare state convergence? : Family policy and health care in Sweden, Canada and the United States. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 34 (2). 143+. Polaski, S. (2007). U. S. living standards in an ear of globalization. Accessed May 11, 2008 from: http://www. carnegieendowment. org/files/pb_53_polaski__us_living_standards_final. pdf


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