The Effects of Globalization and the Internet on the Culture of Bhutan

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The recent trend toward globalization in mass communications has had a drastic effect on the world. The amount of information available to anyone at the touch of a button is astounding. Things that are taken for granted in first world countries are hardly thought of in developing nations. Common realities like the Internet, instant international exchanges, and globalization are of no consequence in the day to day struggle to survive. This will change as more people gain access to the technology. In theory, the power of globalization and the information it provides can make people's lives easier, especially those living in third world countries. One nation where such dreams have the possibility of being realized is Bhutan. A
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The diverse and rugged land aided this self-imposed isolation. The southern area is comprised mostly of plains leading into steep hills covered with dense forests and jungles. Central Bhutan, also called the Inner Himalayan region, contains the major river valleys and is the economic and cultural hub of the country. The capital, Thimphu, and other primary cities are found in this area. The northern region is home to the main Himalayan mountain range. Until recently, no roads existed except in and around large cities (United Nations 80-82). Journeys were difficult and dangerous. Not only did the population have little contact with the world; their internal communications were almost nonexistent.

Bhutan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Several factors are working together to raise the quality of life, but progress up to this point has been slow. The process from a mainly agricultural economy to one of industry is still taking place. Agriculture is the number one source of income, but fast growing fields include mining, manufacturing, transport, and communications (United Nations 87).

One reason for this transition is the increasing enrollment in public schools. Bhutan offers a free but noncompulsory education from first to twelfth grade. Enrollment was up to 70,000 in 1990, compared to 1,500 in 1959. Although acquiring qualified teachers has presented a problem, the literacy rate is slowly climbing (United

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