BRAIN FOOD: Words-Worth - Glocalisation

The next time someone complains about globalisation, offer a word in their ear: 'glocalisation'. That's what's happening now, and it's different.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The next time someone complains about globalisation, offer a word in their ear: 'glocalisation'. That's what's happening now, and it's different. Glocalisation means running an international business that tailors its output and organisation to local tastes. The word emerged in the early 1990s, used by Japanese economists and industrialists. They were translating an agricultural term, dochakuka, meaning to adapt your farming methods to local terrain. All of which nicely describes the Japanese approach.

At first they called it 'global localisation', but that quickly turned into the ugly but useful glocalisation. (Anita Roddick produced a homemade version, multilocalism, but no-one bought it.) Glocalisation has since become a key term in the language of academic sociology. At heart, though, it is a practical technique combining cultural respect and self-interest.

Even the Americans get it. Which is why you can drink wine in Disneyland - but only in Paris.

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