Globalization, Cheating, & Politics

Globalization.

Wikipedia defines it as “is the process of
international integration arising from the interchange of world views,
products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.” On Meriam Webster, it’s
“the act or process of globalizing :  the state of being globalized; especially :
the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked
especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of
cheaper foreign labor markets.”

It affects almost everything we do
nowadays, as much as we tend to want to view our actions and lives in a
bubble. As much as we want to view our individual selves as confined to
one state, nation, or continent, we are all more interconnected than
ever. Access by individuals to other news sources or people’s opinion
has grown since the internet was first invented… that means we are all
now citizens of the world (as much as some of us think we still have a
long way to go).

But what does this mean in the real world? Here’s two examples.

Today one of my friends, who teaches English in Korea, posted about his experiences
with students cheating within the past couple of months. It’s an
interesting look at the context of cheating in Korea, in another society
that is so different from ours. Yet, with the help of globalization, I
would argue that cheating itself is no longer a society specific cause.
Sure, it is up for a society to decide how they must combat and deal
with plagiarism. It also differs how much of a problem plagiarism is,
whereas some core countries may find that with higher expectations there
are more cheaters, with other semi-periphery/periphery states it may
not be that much of a big deal. But for the most part, cheating is now a
global issue that needs to be talked about and dealt with by
countries/teachers coming together and conversing with all parties
involved.

We all believe its wrong, unjust, and gives credit to
people who aren’t working to earn it. These “cheaters” may be willing to
do the work; but for some reason, they can’t/may not be thinking
straight at the time they decided to cheat. People who cheat more than
once are also a problem. Cheating doesn’t just mean copying off
someone’s paper during lunch time, it also means copying off your own
previously published work, not properly citing sources (whether they are
paraphrased or quoted) in text and out of text, it’s much more than
that. Maybe it’s because of this that some people think they can get
away with cheating… Maybe the perception is that “oh, I’ve only done
it once, I won’t do it again”… YOU ARE WRONG. It can be very easy to
continue something that you get away with doing at first. It is
extremely easy to not want to spend time doing thing you think you
already know by heart.

But why is cheating such a global issue
then? We are all more connected, whether it’s by business transactions
that we do, cross-cultural academic pursuits, the internet, or by
flight. That said, if a professor publishes something or writes
something online, chances are pretty good that it will be spread to
someone across the globe in the next month or so. That person might
comment on it once, but then he also might share it with other people.
There is no longer any limit on who can access things/who can use
them/who can share them. Some political leaders for the most part don’t
publish, but some do. These are people that constantly have to interact
with other people at higher levels in other governments and societies.
If a celebrity, businessman, or lawyer says something, it will be heard
sooner or later by people who are out there across the world combing the
web for something new. Even news reporters aren’t spared.

If one
of these people cheats, it not only throws out their credibility and
reliability with those they are directly working for, but it also
trashes their credibility on the internet or in other countries. The
more influence you have, the more people it affects. That said, a
student might just say, “Oh, it’s okay that I can cheat… I have no
global influence now.” WRONG. If you publish an amazing paper (let’s say
you copied off a couple of sources), it will probably make its way to a
conference or be published online. That said, there is more scrutiny
now than ever looking at papers – not only you and your academic peers
at such and such university will be looking at your paper, but people in
other countries, students, exchange students, honors societies, the
list goes on and on.

Everyone is susceptible to cheating… the
ambassador, the Nobel prize winner, the student, the professor, the
lawyer, the public official, the list goes on and on. I don’t want to
make it seem like plagiarism is the only problem in the world, because
it isn’t. Certainly there are other problems in the world that are
priorities right now, when so many other people are hurting. We’ve all
made mistakes and learned from them. But in the end, I believe we must
still bring together different cultures, who this one commonality
bridges, and discuss what we are doing/what we might be able to do
better in our own communities to combat something that can have a wider
impact on the world.

Okay, enough about cheating for now. Let’s
turn to geopolitics and China’s reaction to the Philippines and Typhoon
Haiyan in particular. This NPR broadcast
sums it up pretty well… But what I’m trying to think about in this
situation is how globalization has made an impact on limiting what
states can do in instances like this. Traditionally it has been that
states have been able to do what they want to states that they have had
issues with, while being kinder to ones that they’re allied with. That
may no longer be the case.

China originally gave $200,000 in aid
to the Philippines before the backlash on the internet, now they have
upped it to much more, all the while also dispatching a hospital ship to
the hardest hit area. True, there is no hard evidence that this
incident may have been strictly due to geopolitics in the first place or
that the impact of people voicing their concerns over the internet was
the factor that increased aid to the Philippines. But I would argue that
showed something crucial to international states.

Because of the
internet and a greater transparency (or in the case of Wikileaks and
Anonymous, maybe a greater forced transparency), people now not only
have a way to access information about what there state is doing and how
they may be perceived across the world because of it. But people also
have a forum to protest the things that they may believe are unjust or
not sufficient enough at the time,that goes beyond that one state (other
people with varying degrees of influence and involvement from across
the world can also discuss the same events).

This critical point
doesn’t happen with all events or negotiations… sometimes people’s
knowledge can limit how many people voice their opposition. But when the
reaction does reach a critical point, such as in the case of China, it
can cause states to alter how states act, or what their priorities might
then be (a new national interest vs an established foreign policy).

But
how can this be, you might ask? We all have different views of what is
adequate, or what is right, or what is just. How can multiple parties,
multiple individuals bridge this gap so quickly? I would say that we
can’t… but we share something similar in each of our views and
perceptions that speaks across cultural and political boundaries.

Maybe
the international world is evolving faster into one that isn’t shaped
as much by the actions of states or non-state actors, but by the common
threads that bind us together, that we share. By our regimes, our common
mores, our attitudes towards the world at large, exacerbated by
globalization, the exchange of ideas, and the proliferation of the
internet as a means of communication, through a shared empathy and
familial ties.

Originally published on ackwok.wordpress.com

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