Initially, global village is a term coined by Wyndham Lewis in his book America and Cosmic Man. The phrase is also used by Herbert Marshall McLuhan in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. His book describes a world in which age-old barriers of time and space are overcome by developments in mass media which permit easy, world wide communication. This new, more generally accessible world is said to be a global village, or to have undergone globalization.
It is this interdependence and exchange that is the crux of the contention that we live in a global village. The spread of multi-culturalism and prominence of international popular culture, such as the export of Hollywood movies around the world, as well as the import of Japanese anime and Bollywood films; the large-scale outsourcing of labor to third world countries by first world companies; and the general popularity and pervasive use of the Internet, all argue for the concept of the world today as a globalized one. But does it follow naturally that a globalized world is necessarily a global village?
Since the development of the concept of the global village, there has arisen much speculation and discussion over whether we, as a global civilization, have managed to direct our energies toward the development of an effective and universal system of communication and exchange. One area in which success, thus defined, has been achieved, is that of entertainment. Films out of Hollywood (America) or Bollywood (India) are finding broader and further-reaching international audiences. From the Toronto Film Festival to that of Dubai, movies have developed into a universally appealing artistic genre, with a classless and border-free appeal. Another wildly popular artistic arena that speaks well for the existence of a global village is anime.
The international influx of a once solely Japanese-enjoyed form of entertainment says much for the development of international media consolidation.
While anime and Bollywood are finding success across American borders, there is much work flowing the other direction as well. Known as outsourcing, major American companies as well as those of other countries in the developed world are subcontracting labor in areas as remote from corporate headquarters as India and China.
In addition to a growing global artistic sensibility and a strong global economy, we also enjoy a global communications system within our global village. Through the use of the Internet, individuals are free to contact others from around the globe. They may do research at a University library in the United Kingdom or flirt via email with someone from Israel. It is this modern-age device that truly globalizes our world.
When taken altogether, the concepts of international art exchange, worldwide outsourcing, and global communication all serve to confirm that we live in a globalized society. But is it a global village? In order to establish whether the current state of the world reflects the definition of a global village, we must determine whether our globalized world necessarily enjoys the characteristics of a village. And so, until our hearts catch up with our artistic endeavours, our corporate policies, and communications, we will fall short of the true ideal of a global village.