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Globalization in Asia

Asian Views Of Globalization

In the early 1960s the Canadian communications pioneer Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980) was one of the first scholars to seriously consider globalization. His perspective was shaped by a multicultural Canadian environment. From the inception, globalization was a concept intertwining both Eastern and Western civilizations. Impressed by another Canadian, the historian Harold Innis (1894–1952), McLuhan began a study of both Asian and Western societies that spanned the entirety of his academic career. Innis had recognized that technology was changing the face of modern nation-states. The direction was clearly set. Space was overcoming time. In making a case for the wisdom of the past, Innis embarked on a discussion of ancient cultures, including Greece, Egypt, and especially China. Decades later McLuhan followed this lead. At first Innis recognized that China had a time-biased civilization. It created mammoth temples and statues that stood the test of the ages. China later invented paper, ink, and books. The motivation was spatial. While temples and statues would last for millennia, their accessibility was restricted. Scrolls and books could be transported easily but were limited by physical structure and duration. They were space-biased. For thousands of years, China managed to reinvigorate its civilization through a finely tuned combination of temporal and spatial communications alongside oral and written traditions. The oral tradition assisted Buddhism in gaining popularity during its migration from India, while the written tradition helped solidify the reverence for Confucianism. Printing accommodated both: popular literature for Buddhists and classical texts for Confucians. These yin-yang polarities of writing and speaking had worldwide implications. As well the import of Chinese paper accelerated the influence of the Greeks, Persians, and Arabians throughout Europe. As such, Innis and McLuhan highlight positive functions of an archaic Chinese form of globalization.

While Chinese paper and goods encouraged the trade with the Western world, it also set the stage for a clash of civilizations and belief systems. The technological revolutions of the Western world with its infatuation for space and property ownership would eventually annihilate the East's sacredness of time and its philosophical wisdom. As Innis writes, "The oral tradition implies the spirit but writing and printing are inherently materialistic" (p. 130). Taking a cue from China, Innis maintained that a harmony of time and space was necessary for a healthy society or a healthy world. Nevertheless, the West shunned religion and the oral tradition that it represented in favor of reason and the written tradition that legitimized it. When the equilibrium of time/space and oral/written fell out of kilter, the West colonized the very civilizations that initially helped fashion its communicative modes.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow dischargeGlobalization in Asia - Asian Views Of Globalization, The Global Village, Definitions Of Globalization: West And East, Globalization In Classical China