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.

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