The Rice Crisis, Globalization, and Culture

Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 11, April 20-26, 2008

The rice crisis that the country experiences today is greatly a result of the government’s policy towards globalization. Although globalization is mainly economics, it carries a cultural impact that erodes our outlook on rice and our farmers.

With globalization, the catch phrase is “world-class.” What are upheld and rated-A are products that answer the needs of the international market and not the needy. A good or a bad enterprise is calculated based on this. Thus, the military’s role today is to harass small farmers off their lands and protect corporate interests. Culture-wise, planting rice is good only in paintings, but the actual practice is deemed passé.

With globalization, cash is king. What are “in” are products that promise sales and profits and not those that would be useful to society. Profession is chosen according to how much one will earn, and not on how much it can be of service to the people. Given these, rice farming and being a farmer is definitely “out.”

With globalization, export is the buzz word. What is economically viable is what is exportable. In our case, what is exportable are the people themselves. Thus, overseas employment is encouraged and overseas contract workers are dubbed as new heroes. Meanwhile, fighting for an ideology outside of the globalization scheme is “old-fashioned,” and those emulating our ancestors who waged a revolution against colonial Spain and imperialist U.S. so that Filipinos will be empowered to control their own lands and destiny are called terrorists.

With globalization, salvation means tourism. For the non-exportable population, the government presents an alternative livelihood through tourism. Notice that suddenly there is an abundance of tourism related activities, mostly fiestas, which can be devoid of meaning for the locals except as a chance to cash-in from the influx of tourists. Fiestas are originally celebrations for a good harvest and pleas for a bountiful next. These are community affairs that affirm and reinforce the spirit of bayanihan or collectivity. Culture is the basis of tourism. If tourism comes before culture, the matter is called commerce.

Farming is a noble tradition. Farming and the processes that revolve around it can give jobs to majority of our people. The products of these processes will ensure that there will be food to eat, and that these will be accessible to more people because of the jobs that it creates.

On the other hand, while globalization presents a picture of modernity, the state of poverty and starvation under this economic mode is actually a giant stride towards barbarism. More so, as globalization breeds a culture of decay. Posted by (

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