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Made in China. Most labels nowadays carry these three immortal words. With

The People’s Republic of China being the threat to the United States of America as the

new world super power, they seem to enter every industry deemed possible. China has

transformed itself from the world’s greatest opponent of globalization, and greatest

disrupter of the global institutions we created, into a committed member of those

institutions and advocate of globalization. It is now a far more open economy than Japan

and it is globalizing its institutions to a degree not seen in a big country since Meiji

Japan. Adoption of the rule of law, of commitment to competition, of widespread use of

English, of foreign education, and of many foreign laws and institutions are not just

updating Chinese institutions but transforming Chinese civilization. (Overholt, 2005)

And also with a billion people in China, labor shortage will surely be the last problem

that they will be encountering. But nowadays as well, people from all over the world fear

anything coming from the old civilization. There have been a lot of threats to the health

of consumers regarding Chinese products and the threats are not going to end any time

soon. Quality control has always been a problem because of the mass production of

Chinese products and they seem to be lenient when it comes to quality of the products

they produce. The sad part is, globalization has finally taken its toll on the people of

China. Maybe because of negligence? Or of poverty? We may never know for sure what

exactly the reason is.

Recently there have been news reports worldwide about another “Made in China”

Scandal but this time it has affected most the people within its ranks. So far, four children

have died and 60,000 are taken ill by tainted milk. The milk products that have been

tested positive for the presence of melamine have been taken off the shelves but the

damage has been done. According to The Economist, private testing laboratories have

sprung up like mushrooms all over China to test these products. Because of this Milk

Scandal, countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America have banned imports of the

contaminated milk from China. This is not the first time this has happened. Years back, a

well-loved confectionary from China, White Rabbit was also banned from most countries

because of the presence of Formaldehyde in the candies. Not only was the White Rabbit

banned but several other products as well such as noodles, chips, other candies and all

other food products from China. Now, for a big country like China, isn’t there supposed

to be a good quality control system that should monitor the production of these products?

According to The Economist, some multinational companies have taken full control of

their factories based in China. Unilever dumped its joint ventures years ago, to ensure it

had full control of all domestic Chinese operations. McDonald’s has created its own

closed supply chain, spanning beef, fries, bread and pickles. Coca-Cola imposes stringent

rules on suppliers of sugar, water and carbon dioxide. Because of this, more multinational

companies are losing confidence with what has been happening to China. For some,

China may have been holding the solution to labor shortages or cheaper labor and though

it may have solved problems about labor, another problem of a different and much more

serious degree came to our attention in the form of low quality control which leads to

health-related problems.

This paper which answers the question “How does the failure of Globalization

contribute to the formation (or reassertion) of cultural identity as exemplified by local


responses?” This paper will answer the question using some key concepts used or

discussed in Area Studies 101: An Introduction to Area Studies. The definition of the

following concepts will be discussed: Globalization (in China, the Philippines, and

globalization in general), failure of globalization, cultural identity and internalization of

labor. Aside from the definition, examples of the different concepts will be discussed as


First: What is Globalization? Globalization is understood as the increasing

interconnectedness of individuals, groups, companies and countries. (Green and Griffith,

2002) This has been going on for centuries, but in the past twenty years, there has been a

rapid change in visibility, scope and intensity. According to Duncan Green and Matthew

Griffith (2002), “While increasing integration through trade and investment has been a

feature of the global since the Second World War, several pivotal events in recent

decades have led to a sudden acceleration in its social and political prominence.” They

wrote that “a shift in power away from the state driven increasingly by global economic

trends (such as global financial markets) that eroded governments' ability to manage their

economies and the rise of the New Right. By the early I98os the market was seen to have

won a definitive triumph over the state, leading to the resurgence of free market

ideology.” (Green and Griffith, 2002) In economics, those “developments helped dither

rapid expansion of trade and investment flows as large parts of Latin America and Asia

adopted export-led growth strategies, and the countries of the former Soviet empire were

rapidly, if partially, absorbed into an increasingly integrated global economy.

'Globalization' quickly became the shorthand for this model of expansion-a heady and

complex mix of technological, economic, political and cultural change.” (Green and

Griffith, 2002)

Another definition says that “Globalization allows the dogged pursuit of free and

open trade, where nation boundaries do not stand in the pathway of Capitalism but where,

through freer and less rigidly controlled capital and goods traffic, unwanted trades such

as illegal drugs are also allowed to prosper freely.” (Planet Papers.Com) This however,

states the downside of Globalization. Although Globalization has made our lives easier,

trade laws have become lenient as time passes by.

How does China respond to Globalization? Surely, a large country like theirs with

a billion people at hand can certainly handle it. But first, how do the Chinese see

Globalization? Firstly, the majority of the Chinese elite seem to believe that the trends of

globalization are inevitable. They believe strongly there is no alternative to globalization.

Secondly, most Chinese scholars believe that globalization is not only an economic, but

also a political and social process. Thirdly, most Chinese scholars agree that globalization

definitively confirmed the failure of Stalin’s assumption on “two parallel world markets.”

For them, globalization is a complete triumph of the free market economy over other

economic models including those of the former Soviet Union and those of the so-called

Third World countries. The market with its power allocating the resources effectively is

seen as the key factor leading to this historical triumph. However, most Chinese scholars

do not entirely agree with the assumption that the globalization was only generated by

synergies of market economy. As we know, it is quite popular in America and Europe to


trace globalization to a powerful combination of market economy and technology. For

the International Monetary Fund, for instance, the driving forces of globalization are

threefold: first, improvements in technology, especially in transportation and

communication; second, a desire by people to take advantage of the opportunities

provided by interactions with other societies; and third, the lowering of barriers to

international trade and capital flows resulting from the liberalization of policies (“China

and its Reaction to Globalization” by Xuewu Gu)

Next, how does globalization affect us Filipinos? For example, we Filipinos now

have access to McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and others. We wear internationally

acclaimed brands of clothing or perfume such as Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Nike, Adidas,

Topshop and scents by Issey Miyake, Lacoste, Burberry, etc. These are a few examples

of what we call Colonial Mentality. Colonial mentality is a very obvious effect of

Globalization. Yes, it appears that we have been plagued by this kind of mentality ever

since the Americans (Even the Spanish and Japanese as well) came to the Philippines.

But for some reason, Globalization seems to intensify out colonial mentality. Colonial

mentality is the attitude of some Filipinos that makes them prefer foreign ideas and goods

over local ones. (Andres, 1994) Moreover, it has a great effect on our identity as a


Filipino identity refers to the distinct and salient features of the Filipino as regards

to language, customs, values, culture, arts, music and dances, drama, literature, food,

dwelling and transportation. There is the “sapin-sapin” or “patong patong” theory which

describes that the Filipino identity consists of Malay, Indonesian, Chinese and Negrito.;

then eventually, Spanish; and finally; American. There is also the “halo-halo” theory

which states that the Filipino has no identity at all. (Andres, 1994) Whichever theory

there is that deconstructs how our image as a Filipino was made, it is still very important

that we know that we have and identity as a people. Now, this identity we have is in

danger of being changed. However, although some might say that our national identity is

lost to Globalization, it is really an event that is inevitable. Some believe that we have to

face the fact that the world is at a constant change and we could do nothing about it. But

even without globalization, national identity would always be changing. The effect of

globalization in the context of national identity would lead to better identity as a Filipino


As for the failure of Globalization, this simply means that forces of Globalization

are not always permanent. They are vulnerable as well to other factors. Growing alarm in

the developed nations stems from the emergence of powerful competitors in the

developing world, especially China and India. Workers in wealthy nations worry about

open markets and competition from workers in countries with low wages; industry

leaders worry about more competition for non-renewable resources, including oil, and a

new economic world order; and environmentalists and a growing segment of the public at

large worry that emerging economies and rapid growth will quicken the pace of climate

change. These factors are likely to cause the failure of globalization because these factors

are beyond our control. As these factors become threatening to globalization, the process

itself becomes more complex because solutions to these factors are being made thus

making these non-threatening.

According to Bernard Elbaum (May, 1983), many jobs apparently require skills

that are entirely or partially industry-specific. Production job skills seem especially liable

to be industry-specific, as illustrated by the examples of coal miner, steel roller, and

airline pilot. When rigidly maintained throughout an industry, internal promotion

practices insulate the wages of such jobs from competitive market constraints. Relative

occupational wages may then be substantially affected by bargaining, managerial

policies, and custom without causing shifts in occupational employment patterns, as

firms, like prospective employees, mainly concern themselves with expected career wage

offers, and the implied average establishment wage. As a result, occupational wage rates

may be very different from marginal products. This is how internalization of labor works

nowadays. Some think this is unfair but this is how it works in order to cater to everyone.


Local responses, in this issue of the Milk Scare in China pertain to what Filipino

consumers have been doing in order to address this issue. Filipino mothers, in response,

have avoided buying milk and other dairy products from China. As an added precaution,

they have avoided buying China products completely. Another added response is that

Filipino mothers have resorted to breastfeeding as a way of feeding their babies. Because

it has been proven that breastfeed is still best for babies, mothers had no choice but to

resort to that. Let’s face it; breastfeeding is far safer than infant formula. Just a few years

back, there has been another scandal regarding infant formula cans being tainted with

rust. Aside from health-related reasons, we tend to be more selective with the products

we buy because it more affordable. In economics, not everything that is affordable is

really good in terms of quality.

All of these can be easily associated with the fast-paced lives we are leading. We

tend to use short-cuts in order to cope with our way of life nowadays. Because

breastfeeding takes more time rather than preparing infant formula, working mothers

resort to infant formula without thinking about the risk that comes with it. Globalization

has certainly sowed its great positive and negative effects to everyone in this world, most

especially affecting nations that are developing or the third world countries. The

government of The People’s Republic of China has been doing its very best in order to

alleviate the situation. But because of the low quality control standards it is proven to be

very hard to monitor this problem because some of the manufacturers are said to be

operating illegally or without legal papers saying that they are permitted to operate. They

are doing this in order to escape the inevitable collection of taxes from the Chinese

government. Because of this global trend, internalization of labor happens most

especially in China because of the high supply of labor and the cheap amount of labor

and raw materials.

Because of Globalization and the effects of the Milk Scare here in the Philippines,

the Filipinos dared embrace their cultural identity. Since almost everything in this world

is made in China, the Filipino people have finally resorted to that one factor that should

have been done ages ago: to buy Filipino-made products. With the effects of

Globalization, the people of the Philippines have been affected mainly because of what

we call “Colonial Mentality”. Now, because of these problems were facing and that are

far from being addressed, we diverted our attention to our own products. Globalization’s

effect on our national identity is very evident but even without globalization, our identity

as Filipinos would constantly change because the effect of globalization in the context of

national identity would lead to better identity as a Filipino people.

Our responses as Filipinos to issues like these are very important because our

collective action can make a difference in the world. When Globalization hits it big (even

though it has been around for a long, long time) especially now that we’re experiencing a

big economic crisis, standards will become lower , quality control will not even be

considered and most of all, the safety of millions of consumers around the world will be

at stake. As a nation, we should be one in fighting crises like these. With the Filipino

identity even more pronounced, maybe globalization can help in making the Filipino

people stronger as a united people. With our collective action as a Filipino people, we

stand out on our own as an independent unit without interference from bigger and

stronger nations.

We are coping with globalization pretty well despite the fact that we are in an

economic breakdown. Because of Globalization, companies resort to internalization of

labor in order to cater to the needs of the consumers, at the same time their employees or

laborers. China is becoming the leading country in terms of labor supply because of the

billions of people in the country. However, since China is a big country, almost

surpassing the United States in becoming the next world super power, there have been

problems regarding the quality of most products made from that country. An example of

which is the Milk Scare which originated in China and has a big impact on most countries

in Asia, including the Philippines. The response of the Filipino people was to return to

the traditional and ever-reliable breastfeeding. The Filipino mothers have been avoiding

dairy products from China ever since. Because of the response of the Filipino people to

this issue, it strengthened the bond of our national identity through this collective action.


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Green, D. & Griffith, D. (January, 2002). “Globalization and Its Discontents”.

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