Tuesday, December 13, 2016

World Text Analysis Essay aka "Globalization Gone Bad"

Globalism Gone Bad

According to Pun Ngai and Xu Yi’s article Legal Activism or class action, post-socialist China suffers from a political economy run by “no boss” and no labour, boss and system, when it comes to their construction industry. Workers have no way to be paid delayed wages unless they pursue “legal action or non-legal collective action.” This article argues that 40 million Chinese peasants have no other recourse but to but to deal with this “double absence”, due to sub-contracting. As functional as capitalism is in the United States, capitalism is not working in China because there is too much difference between the rich and the poor. Middle class does not exist, and for this reason, shows how globalization has gone bad.
Post Mao Tse Tung, China went from a communistic government to totalitarians, with party state. Tier level government ruled that were not democratic, and human rights’ laws were developed, but not necessarily executed. The problem stems from exploitive labor subcontracting. Labor systems began with “quasi-labour”(Ngai), businessmen creating social relationships with worker peasants from the countryside, who trusted these men. These peasants left farming with promises of making more money in urban sub-contracting jobs.  They could earn more money, faster working construction in urban areas for production. But this eventually became a lie and failed due to the system of hiring. In 1980,  “international competitive bidding” (Ngai) changed how the construction business worked. Construction was discovered to be profitable, as capitalistic ideas were introduced. The state was in control. Workers separated from management, skilled workers replace fixed workers, and general contractors were introduced. In late 1990’s a “multi-tiered subcontracting system” (Ngai) was established. This is good for “top-tier” capitalistic ventures but bad for workers, (low wages, more risk.) The 5 tier system consisted of a Property Developer (state or private), Construction Company (does bidding, dabao), a Contractor, Labour-supplier Subcontractor (xiabao), and worker peasants. Yet the workers left in the dark about labor contracts or their rights. They were given no formal contract, and as a result sub-contractors would care for workers. Workers were given “paper of debt” that said they would be paid, while China’s construction business exploded, but workers were not seeing the money. But why didn’t workers go to their boss and ask for the money? They had no idea who was the boss. The social origins of the sub-contracting system was the backbone of the “collective action” for the construction workers.  As a result, badly protected workers then destroy property and took violent action in response to no pay.
But nothing could be done. Sometimes the payment would not be made by upper tier executives until all construction was completed, and that could take years. Trust between tiers was now destroyed and as a result construction workers were doing free labor because they don’t even know who to ask money from.
             In January 1, 2008 (Reform Period) most significant Chinese labor law went into effect: The Labor Contract Law. This made upper tier developers liable to pay migrant workers through court system and legal procedures. Yet even with a legal system it did not help the peasants because they are not trained how to understand how it works and furthermore laws are not always on their side. As a result all labor struggles revolved around this construction pyramid.
Therefore, for a capitalistic economic system to work, to the extent it does in America, there has to be more equality, communication, humanity and transparency in the country itself. Countries that don’t have this will fail using a capitalistic system. What ever keeps this subcontracting system in check, whether it is democracy, religion or a code of ethics, worker relations rely on this trust. If this is not addressed, problems of violence and militant labor action will result. It is not the fault of capitalism, but rather the greed and the lack of humanity of the developers. The truth is that just because you have an idea that works in one part of the world, doesn’t mean it will work the same way in another part of the world. Countries cannot discount cultural, political and social issues when taking on global ideas.

Work Cited
WINTER 2006." RANDY MARTIN -- WHERE DID THE FUTURE GO? -- LOGOS 5.1 WINTER 2006. N.p., 2006. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.

Ngai, Pun. "Legal Activism or Class Action? The Political Economy of
            the ‘no Boss’ and ‘no Labour Relationship’ in China's
Construction Industry." China Perspectives No. 2 (86) (2011): 9-17. JSTOR. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

Sheehan, Matt. "A Day In The Life Of A Muslim Chinese Migrant Family." The

Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.

Neoliberalism "Don't Tell Me What to Do!"

In a world bonded together by digital media, it has become more and more difficult for countries to become isolated from influencing each other. But that is exactly why neoliberal are nervous. The idea of public or national power horrifies these new liberals, who prefer to have individuals and states get back to taking power and running their own businesses'. A global economy, in their mind, leads to over seas money, jobs, as well as a confusing American ideology. How can we be patriotic, when more than half of our country is owned by other countries? There is a hypocrisy, or say, paradox that is created when we go outside our own country for help. Who can American's be loyal to? Our country or those that own our country? It depends if we mean ideologically or realistically. Ideally, American's imagine themselves as mavericks, heroes and pioneers. Realistically, Most American's are struggling to survive. And global media and communication only add to the problem. Although, the world is learning that perhaps foreigners are not as bad as they thought, (everyone like cat videos. Right?!), there is an increase in homogeny that occurs throughout the world. Starbucks opens in every foreign country,and a piece of cultural authenticity dies. Sacrifice is unavoidable.  It is no wonder that America  is scrambling back to private ownership. Neoconservatives are afraid that they will lose their rights of life, liberty and happiness. All I can say is "Don't Tell Them What to Do!"

Monday, December 12, 2016

Final Post - A Reflection

In the final hours of my last class, final semester, and end of my undergraduate experience, I have to pause and reflect on my experience in education here at CSUN.  I started college in 1980 and today in 2017, much as changed. My final class "Multigenre Literacy in a Global Context" turned out to be the most perfect end to my university journey.

Beginning my education in the pre-digital age, much of my learning was spent memorizing, spelling and re-writing papers, not for content, but for typos. Today, this is far from what is expected from me as a student. Never in my life did I think I would be sitting in a classroom with each student having access to an individual computer. Or surfing the web for film clips, or clicking links in real time for group presentations. No one in this class, except perhaps Mr. Wexler, could understand the reality of how much of a change this is, and how the computer age has affected our lives. Fellow classmates may hear stories of typewriters and carbon paper, or pagers and walkmans, but they will never understand how easy communication is today compared to thirty years ago.

But the most interesting part of taking college courses over a few decades is finding out that the information we learn evolves from generation to generation. Our content as well as form change. Facts get manipulated according to our ideology. And today is no exception. I grew up during a time when communication meant "wait", and patience was a lesson that had to be learned. Now, due to the global economy and digital age of communication, no has the patience to wait. Waiting is a thing of the past.

I think being in college at an older age was a great thing. It pushed me into asking questions, learning about the digital world, and embracing globalization in a way that if I had not continued my studies, would have been too intimidating to investigate. "Multigenre Literacy in a Global Context" was the perfect class to take in my senior year, because brought my past and present together, andit prepared me for future. And now that I am graduating into the 21st Century world, I think this class may have helped me the most.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I'm an American. Who am I?

When a child is born it is free. According to Sigmund Freud they are in what he referred to as being in an Id state, in which their primal urges rules. They have not been socialized yet. Yet very quickly the child learns their existence depends on the mother, so behavior develops to get needs met. The child starts to develop an Ego, which according to Freud is the social aspect, to communicate in such a way that it surpasses some of they Id urges, again in order to survive. Once the child gets these needs met by the mother, it is time to branch out to others, where it be a father, sibling, friends, employers and the world. The child's identity now develops, according to Freud, a SuperEgo. Who am I? What are my morals and values? What is my status in the world? And of course if any of these needs are not met at any of these critical points in development it effects the child's self-esteem. 
Now, what if I told you America was once a child born July 4th 1776. And the growth of our country has evolved in the same way, trying to get it's need met, but by who? Who was our mother? England? We had not mother. (Perhaps the statue of Liberty has more significance than we realize.) So how do we survive? We become pioneers. We invent. We create. We work hard. And in that we create our own identity. But while the center of our American ideology revolves a maverick, free spirit, a risk taker...some American's are afraid. They feel abandoned by the mother, and frankly emotionally freaked out! They then are ruled by the "Uncertainly Principle", where patriarchy, or the father come in to save the day! (It is no wonder American's love superheroes!) This patriarchal influence brings with it some very interesting American ideology: bravery, competitiveness, capitalism, detachment, existentialism and superficiality. Suddenly, America, the child has someone to look up to, some guidance and someone to trust, e.g., Mr. President or in God we trust. Yet we have to survive, so due to the lack of trust in out mother and the absence nurturing these qualities need to be adapted into out identity to survive. Or do they? What if we were raised by a loving mother, and this patriarchal ideology conflicts with our own, perhaps more humanistic point of view? And then what about the Id, which wants to kill the father, and marry the mother, according to Freud's interpretation in the Oedipus Complex.  How can America have it's own identity, when it's own identity conflicts with reality, survival and itself? It is no wonder that American's question their own identity. 
In the 50's the American dream was to live in the suburbs, own a house, have a wife and 2 kids, and drive a shiny new car. This was the idea of success and both men and women wanted this. But the reality of this dream turned out to be dismal: bank debts, owing money, heavy drinking, smoking addiction  and suicide. Desperation replaced the depression and daily life turned into a rat race. Making more money seemed to be the only answer, so capitalism created a way out of the hole. The problem is a patriarchal cycle, can never replace the need of a mother. American's will always remain discontent, needy and unfulfilled, unless they realize they can become the pioneer mother and nurture themselves.

The American Dream Meets Reality:19th Century to Post Modernism

Being an American centers on the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. How this would be accomplished is a different story. In the 19th Century, the Industrial Revolution took hold and America's image of life was based on realism. A life  once ruled by European  aristocracy, religion, myth and folklore, now was run by commerce, industry, urban growth and the rising middle class. America's formal realism and the narrative story of how life should exist in America, now clashes with American social realism, which now brings up poverty, class distinction, crime and everyday difficulty of life. This was not the America people had imagined. Entering the end of the 20th century to the early 20th Century, WWI began and capitalism became America's identity. Urbanization joined industry and out of this came fragmentation, formalization, heightened subjectivity and alienation for the American people. That is American's priorities and values changed. Of course, this was all in their eyes to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, over the years it became increasingly difficult to be happy when their were no jobs, no way to move up the ladder and no middle class. The Depression proved to be a huge blow to America's pride as a country and brought social inequality to an all time high. What we needed was a war to bring American's together, and so when WWII started a Post-Modern American identity was created. The war gave people pride in America again, creating jobs, purpose and structure. The rejection of elitism, and comparison between worlds lead to embracing multiculturalism, immigration and the desire to bond with other countries by creating a global economy. Again, how this was going to be done was another question. The main question still remains though: How do we pursue the American dream of financial security without creating social injustice? If we examine America's past, we can learn from our mistakes. If we visualize America in the future, we will create a better world. But if we acknowledging American life today, we will find the solution from the generation who is most affected by it; today's youth.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

To Use Google Slides? That is the Question.

So now it's time to review Google Slides. Not much to say in the realm of what they offer creatively. GS is limited in the color options and font styles. 80 colors, 22 fonts. Yes, you can bold, italicize and underline, but it feels like using an electric typewriter, rather than a computer. Their templates are stiff and unimpressive. Their artistic tools pragmatic. Yet Google Slides may be the perfect tool for high schoolers just learning to do presentations! Easy to use, and allows immediate access to classmates, Google Slides' simplicity might be just what they need to gain confidence in this area. Take, for example, a student with limited creative experience. Slides will not overwhelm the student with too many choices. For the more experienced teen, GS will allow immediate input on projects, increasing participation and socialization... It's like a PacMan Game. Sure it's simple... not as complicated as say, Mind Craft, but still fun to play! If students have had experience using presenting projects in the past, you might consider another format, like Prezi or Powerpoint, but if your main goal is to have students learn to work together, Google Slides is ideal. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Welcome to the Digital World

If I did not have 2 kids who use internet on a daily basis, I would probably be totally intimidated by the digital world. It is amazing to me that even Kindergarteners can navigate around a computer, while I myself struggle to relearn even the basic skills.  But today it is sooooo essential to understand and embrace digital media to be current. When I went middle school and high school in the 70s, typewriters, pagers, CB radios, landline telephones, television with 13 channels and the radio were as high tech as it came. You had to wait for someone to get off the phone to use it, you had to watch a TV show when it aired because you couldn't tape it, and you had to retype your entire 15 page essay over if you made a mistake, like a spelling error. Just by these examples you can see how the world can pass you by today if you do not stay current. So what does the older generation need to do to keep up? Admit we don't know, and ask. It may sound easy, but not so for those with an ego, those who resist change, or those who are easily confused. This is why I am grateful to be in college now as an older student. Learning at an older age requires you to let go of old learning styles and embrace the new. I now understand that how we communicate affects my generation even more than the content we pursue, because if we don't reach out to learn the universal mode of connecting, we run th risk of isolating ourselves from the younger generation. Therefore, I will continue to be on the look out and open to learning the latest apps, software and digital devices, because I know that by the time I finish writing this passage, there will be yet another form of communication created that I will need to be ready to use!