Thursday, October 30, 2014

Musing on globalization - Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay : and other sides to the story

Apple's Tim Cook made headlines today by announcing to the world that he was Gay (Tim Cook Speaks Up - surprising announcement in an opinion piece on Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

This announcement coming from a tech executive and CEO of a Fortune 500 giant made huge ripples in the business and tech media.  It is interesting to see western society not only embracing rights of LGBT but applauding outright while another leader comes "out."  Nothing surprising here, especially given how leaders in other sphere - political leader, Hollywood stars and sports stars - have been regularly making such "announcements."

The same "rights" seem to be non existent in other parts of the world. The reasons are obvious: even a decade after Tom Friedman famously proclaimed the "world is flat" in his book, historic cultural, linguistic and social variances continue to persist and thrive around the world. For instance, on the same topic of LGBT rights, there was a  news item just yesterday, from another "westernizing" country that is benefiting from offshoring and flattening world. A techie working for the offshoring giant Infosys, in Bangalore, was "slapped with Sec 377" by the Indian police after his wife caught his gay acts on spycam. Per Wikipedia "Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code dating back to 1860,[1] introduced during the British rule of India, criminalizes sexual activities "against the order of nature", arguably including homosexual acts."

One can argue whether westernization only goes so far. Countries and societies continue to selectively globalize, and only for aspects that suits them - especially when there are economic gains.

Bottomline: Societies may embrace western 'values' that are required for economic integration with global markets but will zealously continue to guard their cultural, linguistic, political and social identities.