Gangnam Style and Globalization

Gangnam Style, the K-Pop mega-hit has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for most liked YouTube video and is now nominated for MTv Video Music Awards. Impressive.

In this fast moving and increasingly “global” paradigm in which we work and coexist I’m pretty sure not many of us know the Korean language. It’s just so far away and not really used in places like the United States, the Caribbean or anywhere except Korea for that matter. In a globalized world all that we learn should be conducive with trade or productivity. You know, the kind of stuff they teach in business school.

The Korean language is not “global” as many would say, reason being an international language such as English, French or Spanish is widely spoken hence very useful almost anywhere you go, hence it is global. This is especially true in the case of English or ‘the language of business’ as it is called.

I was pleasantly surprised in seeing the Korean rapper, PSY dominating the internet; where it should be noted cultural diffusion on a worldwide spectrum is taking place. In fact the K-Pop sensation has garnered the praise of Hollywood elites like Britney Spears and Tom Cruise.

So how did this happen? How did PSY get people who have never heard Korean walking around singing every word of lyrics they don’t understand.


Elementary my dear Watson, (always loved that phrase) the internet, yes, that’s right, the internet. The YouTube, the Facebook, the Twitter, the endless blogging, tweeting, sharing………. it is globalization in full effect.

Often times when we think about globalization we only think about trade, balance of payments, deficits and surpluses. Rarely do people take the time out to evaluate the role of the internet, HBO, Disney, IMAX….. social media. These have become fundamental components of peoples lives all over the world. Can you imagine, a man in Lagos and a woman in Bosnia watching the exact same thing at the exact same time. They like the same shows, footballers and musicians.

It’s all a big soup pot or melting pot if you rather. We are teaching each other our ways and customs and don’t even realize. We are learning from one another on a scale and at a rate that has never been seen before.

The overnight rise of PSY in the West is a perfect demonstration of how an Asian wonder who doesn’t communicate in the same language as we do can somehow find a place on our computer screen, in our ears and heart.

Its culture redefined as in some ways we all know one another. My people from the Caribbean will know what I’m talking about, for the most part we are separated yet connected in so many ways. The global community might just be catching on 🙂



  1. Such a well informed post, until now I never new how the spread of media based product, products or PRODUCTS, could be spread, oh thank you Internet, and thank you webpage for informing me that the rise of a specific piece of product was via the Internet, you’re review does nothin but insult our intelligence, so I hope I’ve insulted yours

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