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Oct 13, 2009 4:22 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

A generation under globalization

Oct 13, 2009 4:22 PM

Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for The New York Times, claims that the “world is flat.” By making this statement, Mr. Friedman is not challenging Christopher Columbus or NASA.

Rather, he is describing the paradox of globalization—a process of expanding cultural, social, political and economic systems that results in a seemingly smaller world. In other words, it is an interconnectedness between global “actors.”

Long gone are the days of Ford’s reign as king of the road. In September 2009 alone, Toyota sold 25,745 of its Camry model—more than the Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu combined. Instead of flocking to Times Square in their insatiable quest for blue jeans, young Americans are now updating their Facebook accounts using Samsung or Motorola phones.

In a world of innovation and globalization, the bar of competition raises significantly. For the current generation of teenagers, competing for a profit incentive no longer means 
getting a better grade than the 
brown-nosing know-it-all in your AP classes.

Instead, it means convincing a potential employer that you are hungrier for work than an Indian boy who has lived a life of poverty in the slums of Mumbai. It means proving that you want a job more than a qualified person from an underdeveloped country. It means that out of the 60 million people born between 1979 and 1994, a privileged American citizen needs to be more desperate for work than those who would sell their souls for an irresistible bargain.

Generation Y is suspended in a globalizing cat’s cradle. The youth labor force, composed of people either working or looking for work, is expected to reach 660 million by 2015. Of that 660 million, 55 percent will live in Asia and the Pacific, according to the Labor Organization Report, 2006.

In addition to flooding the workforce, more and more foreign citizens are now applying to American universities. The Open Doors report, published annually by the Institute of International Education, showed that, in 2007, India placed first for its sixth consecutive year as the top supplier of foreign students to U.S. colleges. China trailed behind with 67,723 students and coming in third was the Republic of Korea, sending over 62,392 students.

The stakes of American academics continue to rise with this global international competition. For high school seniors, the grueling college application process has left many highly caffeinated and sleep-deprived. With the element of greater foreign competition, the application process becomes increasingly stressful and difficult.

“It’s daunting that not only is a person competing with the best minds in their school or country, but across the world,” said Amanda Shadiack, a senior attending Westhampton Beach High School. “It’s a greater, multi-national pool of intelligence to choose from.”

Fellow senior Kelsey Boeshore added that, “more people worldwide are becoming motivated to fill the same positions Americans apply for. Americans simply cannot afford to take their education for granted.”

Still, that does not mean that high school students need to start building underground shelters for the upcoming apocalypse. Globalization does not mean the world is ending, just that it is changing and members of the current generation are going to have to learn to adapt—quickly.

But with change also comes hope. With the spread of cultural, social, political and economic systems grows the potential for a sense of global citizenship, a sense of universal camaraderie that weaves together myriad cultures.

Ferdyan Budhidharma, another senior at Westhampton Beach, advises that his classmates should pay close attention on the changing global scene.

“With globalization at its crest, it is vital to be aware of the international climate and act accordingly,” he said.

It might also help to learn Mandarin.

Rachel Paoletta is a senior at Westhampton Beach High School—Ed.

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A nice, impartial essay. Friedman himself says that he isn't advocating anything. He just is presenting his perspective of an interesting phenomenon.

However, a discussion of the appropriate national response to this phenomenon would be more engaging.

We are the most powerful nation in the world with the largest economy and the biggest consumer market. Our centibillion dollar annual military expenditures keep the free global market free. We appear to be in the enviable position ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 9, 09 6:42 PM
We are not choosing our response to globalization, we are the driving force behind it. Our centibillion dollar annual military expenditures do not keep the free global market free. To the contrary, it disrupts governments and economies around the world and provides markets for US arms.

Arms supplied by the CIA to the Mujahideen are currently being used against US forces. The Taliban's rise to power utilized Chinese and Polish AK-47's (and numerous other small arms) supplied by the U.S. ...more
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 11, 09 1:33 PM