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.

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9 responses »

  1. Connie says:

    That was definitely an eye-catching title for sure! It’s amazing how much the people in the Dominican Republic value certain products just because they’re seen as “American.” I remember reading in my anthropology classes that the people living in the Caribbean, I believe, began abandoning their local sweet drinks for Coca-Cola once the company started a huge marketing scheme there. The people saw Coca-Cola as something luxurious, just because it was globally-known product. However, this compared to the fact that Dominican women are substituting BREAST MILK with Coca-Cola is just absolutely absurd. I can’t even begin to think of the horrible health consequences for doing that, and it just goes to show that not all globalization has a positive impact on society.

  2. Jordi says:

    Title? I don’t get it. Importing twice as much as exporting does not sound good at all.

  3. brookeparker16 says:

    Jordi, I guess I should have been more clear in my blog! Yes, I would agree that having an unbalanced imports vs exports is not an ideal situation for the Dominican Republic. I found those statistics first which supported my argument about the negative effect of globalization in the Dominican Republic but then I found several articles explaining how globalization boosted their economy. Once again, I think this just goes to show that globalization has an array of effects both good and bad on developing countries.

    • Jordi says:

      It is horrifying that they would do that. Also, wicked laugh, I can see from the revisions you added the line about replacing breast milk with coca-cola. Very clever of you (and me). Mwa ha ha ha!!

  4. marko987 says:

    I did research on several Carribian countries and I discovered that globalization usually have negative impacts on the developing countries. In Carribian countries, sugar and bananaa are two most important foreign exchange earners and main source of employment. After these countries experienced globalization, the cost of production of sugar and bananas became three times higher than the worlds market price. This can be attributed to increased dependence on foreign technology, high level of imported inputs, and the impact of international organizations. Furthermore, globalization absolutely devestated domestic industry in Jamaica. For example, powder milk was imported from developed countries in such quantities that the local farmers in Jamaica had to spill thousands of gallons of milk daily, and eventually close down a majority of dairy farms.
    I think that usually globalization has negative effects on developing countries and positive effect on already developed ones that are capitalizing on the weak economies of less fortunate countries.

  5. Claire McCardell says:

    It seems that globalization has effected the priorities of the Dominican Republic natives; saving up for an ipod before electricity sounds crazy! But as I thought about it I realized that it wasn’t so much about the physical product as it was about the “status” that owning an ipod provides (although it probably means much less here in the US when everyone has one). Even here we see people buying frivolous goods and designer brands to achieve “high status” as wealthy. I remember in high school we had to watch this documentary on poverty in the United States and I was shocked to see people in the lowest-income bracket with ipods and TVs, but barely being able to afford groceries. I think its this consumer mentality and desire to “keep up with the Jones’s” that has driven us into such debt and recession, but clearly these desires are not unique to America.

  6. Alex Lin says:

    It is interesting to see the effects of globalization in different parts of the world. I wonder when and how long ago the Dominican woman adopted the habit of feeding their babies Coca-Cola. It must have come from some out dated habits in America. For example, substances such as cocaine and morphine used to be medicated, even for children.

  7. Jordi says:

    Your experiences sound amazing and I wish more high schoolers could have something like that. I doubt it as common as you suggest- “many” sounds like a lot. 20% 30%?

    Do you think it affects how you relate to questions of globalization? Do abstract discussions about the global “rights” of people in Indonesia, Nigeria, China or elsewhere seem more concrete to you? DO you relate them to your senora y hermanos dominicanos? Hablas espanol tambien?

  8. […] Title is shared between Brooke (Who Needs Break Milk When You Have Coca-Cola?) for most eye-catching title and Scout (Themed […]

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