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World Market Place

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Nowhere can globalization be more simply observed than in a wine shop or in the wine section of a supermarket. Indeed, if one were to walk into a Costco in Napa, they would find wines from the other side of the world produced at similar prices to wines from E & J Gallo, right next to each other on a shelf, and with production sites often being on the opposite side of the world. Perhaps it is even more evident in restaurants. Just taking a trip into mid-town Manhattan on any given day and you could sample Afro-Cuban fast-food, Indian Style Persian cuisine, or find Chinese people working in a Mexican joint and vice versa. In the words of Duke University’s imminent literature scholar Frederic Jameson, ‘the concept of globalisation reflects the sense of an immense enlargement of world communication, as well as the horizon of a world market, both of which seems more tangible and immediate than in the earlier stages of modernity.’

In many instances Costco has also spawned a skewed vision of the world where the number of wine varietals is limited, as well as the food types on offer. Something advocates of wine diversity like Peter May find infuriating. In recent conversations on the way to San Francisco, Greg and I described the vision to turn every user’s doorstep into a portal to the culinary world. This is inevitable. No longer will the Cameron Hughes’ of the world, and he is good, or the Costco buyer be the only people with connections. In the future we’ll all have the same access to knowledge as any buyer or negociant. (more…)

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