The Role Of Hypocrisy In Society In Margaret Abraham’s Globalization, Work, And Citizenship: The Call Centre Industry In India
Economics and economic principles seem to guide the way the world works, influencing people in the way they act, policies in the sense of achieving social justice, and overall agendas in the mannerism in which they are pursued. However, it is particularly important to understand the evolution of the dynamics and relationships that have been formed from a global perspective between different people, regions, and nations. Margaret Abraham uses her text “Globalization, Work, and Citizenship: The Call Centre Industry in India” in Contours of Citizenship to address how globalization has specifically affected a nation in its economic and global development. Sarah Kessler in Gigged furthers the point of globalization to a state that is constantly in flux, adapting into what the future generation of workers and employees deem optimal. The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes written by an anonymous source but edited and translated by Alfonso J. García Osuna delves into the necessity of hypocrisy in each aspect of labor and how that labor becomes something capable of mobilization, and therefore globalization. All three authors discuss the prevalence of contemporary globalization in the context of the humanities and social sciences, placing particular importance as to how this state has been a necessary historical continuity. Society lives in a world where the ideals of hypocrisy, diplomacy, and sustainability have becomed intertwined into social viability, leading to a world that requires them to maintain contemporary globalization.
Margaret Abraham begins her text by stating that contemporary globalization offers both its challenges and possibilities. She notes that it links the “local, national, and regional…transform the nature of work…notions of citizenship” (Abraham 1). Globalization has become important to the economy of India ever since the 1990s. Prior to then, India was closed to the global market economy and the government controlled most major industries within the nation. Once India began its process of deregulation and privatization (economic liberalization), it managed to gain momentum in becoming important to the market economy from a global perspective. It particularly grew in the IT department, as the large pool of workers in India who had the knowledge for such a labor-intensive job was appealing in terms of outsourcing for companies around the world. The involvement of India in the digital, interconnected global economy has led to a path of development that is “increasingly open to foreign capital and competition” (Abraham 4). The reason India was able to reach such a state of importance and reliance is because it was providing labor for cheap costs with lots of people who were qualified to offer efficient surface. The growth of India in the global economy was not limited to only that nation. As a matter of fact, Malaysia, Ireland, Russia, the Philippines, and South Africa have also experienced similar growth (Abraham 4). This notes an important trend to notice in relation to the topic of contemporary globalization: the attractiveness of cheap labor and increased mobility of capital leads to the development of the concept of social capital and outsourcing. For example, with the development of social capital and globalization, citizenship consequently becomes privatized and depoliticized. In a world that advocates for human rights and an authentic sense of nationality and social justice, the concept of citizenship being framed by commercial ideals rather than social ideals is rather hypocritical. Thus, the rate of increase of globalization as competition for outsourcing rises internationally also leads to the development of a hypocritical construct: the more globalized and liberalized a society becomes the further the concepts of citizenship and equality go from regulated to deregulated. In this market-oriented citizenship system, those who can afford benefits such as health care are those who health care is favored towards. So, as economic productivity and job availability increases, equality and social justice fail to equilibrate to the rate of increase of those two sectors, pointing out a necessary dichotomy if contemporary globalization is sought. The hypocrisy of globalization incorporating the world but also segregating it is particularly interesting as globalization is analyzed as a historical construct, as a continuity that has remained central to boasting international and regional labor, mobilization, and incorporation.
Sarah Kessler furthers this point of globalization and economic productivity by stating while the construct of globalization is a continuity, the reality is that it is constantly in flux. As a matter of fact, Kessler’s tagline is “the end of the job and the future of work” (Kessler 1). She suggests that, economically speaking, the world prefers a state of flexibility where the work schedule can be set by the worker but owned by the employer. This preference of short term contracting and outsourcing is at the heart of the gigged economy, an economy that is unstable, flexible, and relatively low paying. Here, the worker (not really an employee) is able to sustain multiple jobs whenever s/he prefer to work, and makes money whenever s/he decides to work. It was calculated that over 40% of the US workforce did not have a full-time job in 2016 (Kessler 9). This is a major indication that while globalization is an important trend in seeking a stable force of work and outsourcing, some workers are looking for a deregulated system. Employers are able to temporarily have workers do designated tasks to boast company productivity, while not having to pay associated labor costs, health benefits, employee training, etc. Essentially, companies like Uber, that employ the gigged economy model, become less liable for what their workers do, and increasingly disassociate from the connection between company and employee. Kessler points out that “gig economy workers…like flexibility. But this data doesn’t take into consideration how much workers value this flexibility when weighed against factors like pay, job security, benefits, and safety” (Kessler 91). So, while the gigged economy has increased in appeal and size over the last decade, it still does not stand as competition to the traditional economy which offers those benefits. It appears, however, that although globalization is important to economic principles worldwide, there are people who want to make that globalization flexible and even more deregulated than it already is. Some people even prefer to make it so privatized that they own the business and run what it does and when it does it (entrepreneurship). Again, it is important to note the hypocrisy in that although contemporary globalization offers a method to use knowledge in conjunction to work that is increasingly privatized, at the same time there are people (gigged workers) not taking advantage of education and preferring to lead their own path in the workforce, not really making major contributions to the national, regional, or international market.
Lastly, it is important to look at the anonymous piece The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes which was edited and translated by Alfonso J. García Osuna. Throughout this beautifuly intertwined story, Lázaro points out that survival and deception are more related and prevalent in society than meets the eye. He was born to one thief and then adopted by another, so he himself is a representation of the ideals of irony, satire, and deception. The novel relies on him serving a variety of people from different backgrounds. He goes from being an apprentice to a blind man, to serving a priest who starves him, a squire who is too prideful to beg despite being too poor to afford food, a friar who is supposed to withdraw from worldly matters but instead pursues sexual agendas, a pardoner who tricks people into buying bulls, a chaplain, and a constable. Through each of his experiences he learns that everyone is ignorant and everyone depends on lying, cheating, and deceiving either themselves or others to survive. For example, when Lázaro spends time serving the priest, he is not given any food to eat. This is completely hypocritical in the sense that a priest is supposed to stand for selflessness and charity, but instead chooses to starve Lázaro. So, Lázaro manages to convince the priest that mice had been stealing bread that he in fact had been eating to survive. Lázaro learns that the world is comprised of hypocrisy and irony. He witnesses honorable people doing not so honorable things and he witnesses people deceiving others and themselves, ignoring the truth right in front of them. His journey is truly one of “ignorance is bliss” and Lázaro encapsulates it by saying “so it went on, and we kept it up at a great rate, fulfilling the old saying that ‘where one door shuts another opens’” (Anonymous 40). He realizes that although the world is plagued by hypocrisy and dichotomy, that is what gives rise to opportunity and change. Most importantly, that hypocrisy allows for people to understand the world in which they live from a different perspective, allowing for a transcendence into maturity. For example, class hypocrisy is mentioned in the text in the sense that the poor tend to be generous whereas the wealthy tend to be more selfish. The mentioned change can be seen in the final chapter of the novel, where Lazarillo changes his name to Lázaro, signaling a change where he has lost his innocence and become morally understanding of the society he had witnessed from the forefront (Anonymous 72). He transforms from a poor innocent boy to a morally corrupt man who understands the necessity of injustice and immorality in exchange for money and/or power. The same can be said for capitalism and contemporary globalism: as companies and nations seek to become more capital-intensive, they rely on the work and labor from labor-intensive regions to further the dichotomy between elites vs masses, the poor vs the rich, and so on: here, the demands of ideal vs real become apparent.
All three texts show that contemporary globalism is a product of hypocrisy, created by the notion of change and sustainability in order to maintain a sense of social viability. Abraham’s text brings into context the concept of globalization and the consequences of increased privatization and economic liberalization. She maintains that as companies begin outsourcing to capable countries for cheaper wages to boast their profit and productivity, that is when the sense of social capitalism is formed, and this is also where social justice and citizenship begin to diminish. Globalization makes citizenship increasingly based on privatization and deregulation, meaning that equality is not being sought after anymore but rather capital is always being sought after. Kessler adds to the hypocrisy of globalization in that while the international capacity for labor is increasing, there are people who would rather not seek an education and rely on an unstable job marker to make minimal profit off of that. Such a system, however, still benefits the corporations utilizing it as now they are even outsourcing to domestic workers without giving them associated benefits of working as the traditional job market implores. The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes combines the concept of contemporary globalization and the gigged economy by noting that hypocrisy and deception are prevalent in society, and without them perhaps globalization would not even be sustainable. Capitalism and globalism rely on created a world systems theory, as hypothesized by Immanuel Wallerstein, where the world is divided into the core (capital-intensive) and periphery (labor-intensive). Such a dichotomy is necessary to optimize a system of profit, mobile capital, and mobile labor. There is a fine division between ideal and real, and although globalization might ideally strive to unite the world under and equal work force, the reality of the situation is that there is division, inequality and never-ending struggle. However, these negatives are also what continually strive to change the world system, as future leaders promise to change the echelon of excellence, equality, and opportunity to a new level. These changes are what make a gigged economy possible, because although it is relatively new it is an output of the needs and wants of the working gentry. Continuing with this trend, the possibilities of what is to come in terms of economic productivity and change are of wide range. This identifies the necessity of hypocrisy in the sense that without hypocrisy there would be no system to change and adapt, and because we do have a system that essentially idealizes hypocrisy, we also have a system that idealizes change and awareness for optimal social viability.
Overall, Margaret Abraham’s “Globalization, Work, and Citizenship: The Call Centre Industry in India” in Contours of Citizenship, Sarah Kessler’s Gigged, and The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes written by an anonymous source but edited and translated by Alfonso J. García Osuna are all important in giving a sense as to how hypocrisy makes it possible for a society to survive and be socially viable, leading to a world that requires them to maintain contemporary globalization. Complacency leads to an inability for a society to change and an acceptance for what is to remain. However, this system of hypocrisy makes it so the dynamic between capital and labor, inequality and equality, justice and division, elites vs masses to continually be in flux, changing and bending to the will of a changing world with changing goals.
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