World Market Place

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.

Social networks are already becoming more than social discovery devices and are bound to grow into vast marketplaces where information can be freely exchanged between people. Social networks are going to link people into a global community, and nowhere more will the work of Smith’s invisible hands be seen than in the digital-market place where communication and exchange is regulated by supply and demand. California will be able to see huge amounts of its wine find markets in places as far a field as to Japan, whilst any number of global delicacies will find their way into the United States.

For now, California may not worry too much about export and may have it in their interests to fight too much import, but if all 50 of America’s states have started to make wine (often to replace increasingly unfashionable tobacco plantations), direct sales better become a reality fast: because Costco doesn’t have the shelf-space or the right market. On the internet, and through Social Networks however, there’s a potential place for everyone’s goods on everyone’s doorstep.

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