Thursday, August 11, 2005

M.I.A and Globalization

Lately, I've been digging the wonderful sound of M.I.A, the young woman of Sri Lanka origin. Her orignal beats and quirky rap style makes Arular a must-have album. Sure, most of her music on the surface sounds like a strange mixture of a good time and dance music but beneath the layers of synthetic pop lies a complex and refreshing blend of styles. Remixing is the heart our culture and M.I.A understands this more than anyone (of course, the Gorillaz don't do a bad job either.) Her music is an assortment of various styles including Jamacian dancehall, UK garage, Dirty South, bhangra, electro and popular rap from NYC. Besides her music and clean production, her lyrics are as otherworldy as her beats. Just check out this chorus from "Sunshowers:"

I bongo
with my lingo
And beat it like a wing yo
To Congo
To Columbo
Can't stereotype my thing yo


(If you want to hear the whole album go to M.I.A's website. Several songs stand out including Fire, Fire; Amazon; Hombre; Sunshowers; and Galang.)

Borders and oceans don't mean much anymore. M.I.A, despite living in a remote place like Sri Lanka, still managed to be influcenced by the music circulating the internet and airwaves. M.I.A has gotten many raving reviews, was nominated for the Mercury Prize and because of this attention there are some that try to hate on her but in the end she's a perfect example of where this world is heading, which leads me to my text topic: globalization, China and IBM.

In Wired's July issue (the one with the infamous article by William Gibson on remix culture and Burroughs), there was an article entitled "The New Face of IBM." It was an article regarding China's purhcase of IBM'S PC division. According , to Kevin Maney, "The purchase creates the first truly globalized--as opposed to global-corporation." The Lenovo-IBM deal's sucess will soley depend:

"on a truly transnational approach to everything from merging cultures to the making and selling of computers, one that brings together world-wide talent and resources and combines them to pursue a larger goal."

It's not a surprise that Lenovo decided to buy "the one thing from IBM that can't be commoditized," i.e. extraordinary leadership. In a move that I call reverse outsourcing, Maney states, "the next great US export could be corporate executives."

Yesterday, I read an article in the NY Times entitled "M.B.A. Students Bypassing Wall Street for a Summer in India" It cemented what Kevin Maney wrote about in his article in Wired. According to the NY Times article, MBA students are "vying for internships at India's biggest private companies." For many recent graduate business students, India is the premier location to "study globalization firsthand." Whether or not the Lenovo-IBM deal influenced this course of events is not only too early to tell, but it's irrelevant. The same mechanism is at work: the one that helps a girl in a remote part of Sri Lanka give birth to a fresh global approach to music and the one that is helping China emerge as a major competitor in the global market, i.e. globalization. We can't escape it, soon we'll exist in "the internet of things," soon we'll be part of the machine.

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