If this blog title didn’t draw you in, I don’t know what will.
Like many highschool students of my generation, I spent my summers in a developing country living in a home-stay and volunteering. My high school sponsored community service trips to the Dominican Republic for kids in Spanish classes and after my sophomore year I went for the first time. On one hand the Dominican Republic had this rich culture of dancing, music and food but on the other hand you saw traces of the American culture at every corner. Even in the impoverished pueblo of Los Conucos, America had left its mark. Globalization had hit even the most remote parts of the Dominican Republic and not all of it was pretty.
We lived in “houses” without running water and electricity, where every month they struggled to put enough food on the table. However, if you asked my “senora” what she was saving her money for it was an iPod (keep in mind my house didn’t even have electricity). My host sisters would tell me about the digital camera they owned but I never once saw. The Dominican dream was to become a professional baseball player to make in to the USA. Each summer that I left, I ended up letting my host sisters riffle through my clothes so they could keep a few real “American” clothing. I saw this as ironic because we also visited a sweatshop in the Dominican Republic where they made Tommy Hilfiger clothing. The chances were the clothes I gave them were produced else where but because Americans wore them, they were irreplaceable. And finally, to get to the meaning of the title, new moms frequently gave their babies Coca-Cola because it was seen as the America way.
With my experience in the Dominican Republic, I thought it would be interesting to actually research the country. On LexisNexis I found recent statistics about the Dominican Republic’s exporting and importing statistics. Currently the Dominican Republic is importing more than double the amount than they are exporting. Although this may not do much for preserving their culture, I also read that globalization has improved the economy of the Dominican Republic. Foreign direct investment flows have increased and people reaching middle class has also grown. Researching the Dominican Republic, I was able to find both the positive and negative effects of globalization. Although I hope that the Dominican Republic keeps it’s vibrant culture of bachata y merengue, I can see how globalization is ultimately benefiting the economy of the Dominican Republic.