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In Cosmopolitanism, Kwame Anthony Appiah’s argument revolves around the topic of making nations united and turning the world into a cosmopolitan one. Cosmopolitanism means the acceptance of various cultures and societies whether or not one actually believes in them. According to Appiah, conversation is the tool that would make it all possible. Conversation is the element that unites people, whether it is person to person, or nation to nation. Ultimately, all cultures have their own standards that they believe are the norm, whether or not the cultures agree amongst each other. Appiah believes that in order for these cultures to be united, there has to be some form of communication between them. Dialogue may not have the power to completely resolve tensions amongst nations, but it definitely has the ability to simplify minor quarrels and miscommunications. Throughout his work, Appiah uses various examples that explain how his method of conversation has led to a positive social impact when dealing with the issue of division and conflict. Appiah puts into perspective some very important issues: the issue of whether or not beating children is a valid way to raise them and the issue of gender roles and how different cultures have evolved when it comes to how to approach the topic. Ultimately, Appiah values the power of communication as a vital source of worldwide progress. Appiah provides the example of beating children and the positive and negative opinions about the subject. He states that it is a logical solution to do so if one believes “it is a good way to teach them right from wrong and that, despite the temporary suffering caused by a beating, they will end up better for it” (Appiah 75). Some believe that beating youngsters is a valid way to raise children since it teaches them discipline and serves as a reminder for them not to misbehave again. But there are those who believe spanking is not a good solution to raising children and is a cruel way of bringing them up. Instead, this method entails the up bringers to teach the child that whatever it is they are doing is wrong and they should not be doing it again. For example, if a parent tells the child not to touch a hot stove and he or she deliberately does so just to disobey, the child will then have to learn the consequence of getting burnt because of touching the hot stove. Even though these are two varying opinions, Appiah believes that communication is the element tying them together. Even though one person may believe in beatings and another may not, communication amongst the two parties will give them both clarity as to why and how they believe in what they believe. Indeed, two very different opinions are being voiced. The notion used to be that women had no place in the work field. It was unheard of that they had jobs that included being lawyers or doctors. Appiah points out that “middle-class women would ideally be housewives and mothers” (Appiah 77). This is exactly what the world used to believe. Appiah claims that “there are still people, [he] know[s], who think that the ideal life for any woman is making and managing a home” (Appiah 78). Especially, in America, it is almost customary that women be heading out and experiencing jobs and positions that were unheard to have a woman be involved in in the 1950’s. It is true that America is slowly eliminating the whole “gender role” term from its vocabulary and now, women are stronger and not afraid to stand up for their rights. Today, no one thinks twice about a woman having the position of being a lawyer or even a politician. In today’s western world, men and women are looked upon as equal, while gender roles are still highly in tact in third world countries. There, the man is head of the household and the wife should be able to pay respect to her man, while here, it is more evenly distributed. There is no doubt that gender role habits have changed over the years and that the now norm is of greater variety when comparing the west world to the east. Of course, the third world countries will look upon women getting so involved in men’s positions with a frown, since it is not what they are used to. Furthermore, communication between the West and East cultures is an ideal way of keeping different cultures intact and updated on what the other cultures are standing for and whatever changes they are going through, if any. This is exactly what Appiah stands for when he talks about uniting the nations all across the world. Because of technology, the strategies that people use to communicate with one another all around the world are mind blowing. Appiah mentions, “most people knew little about the ways of other tribes, and could affect just a few local lives” (Appiah 68). When it came to trade, people were not educated enough about the countries they were trading with and therefore could only really see what was on the surface, without realizing more extreme pros and cons of doing so. Now, with technology’s advancements, Appiah claims “the human community has gradually been drawn into a single web of trade and a global network of information” (Appiah 68). A united as this single web seems to be, there are, unfortunately, some setbacks that come along with it. With such advanced trade in place, some humans can twist its goodness and abuse it for mischievous purposes. For example, the trading of weapons may be a dangerous act as people can then use them for the destruction of other nations. Likewise, such trade can also take many poor farmers out of their businesses because of how much richer and more powerful it is. And, of course, not to mention the number one setback: the inevitability of diseases that come along with arriving at the different nations. However, there is much good that comes out of trade. Today, nations all around the world can now achieve the unthinkable. Communication amongst nations has advanced so much that brilliant ideas can be communicated all throughout the world. This makes cultures come together and creates the feeling of unity amongst nations. Through this, the world as a whole can become a better place for all.
In the end, it is communication that makes the world go round. Appiah proves his point countless times throughout “Cosmopolitan” and uses several examples to elaborate how communication is the key to make a successful cosmopolitan world possible. Considering the child spanking example, some of the world will believe the sole action of beating is a terrible idea, while others will consider it to be the way to raise a child successfully. Additionally, gender roles may seem like the logical step in choosing whether a woman or a man should take on a certain role. Without communication, there would be so many unexplained differences in the world and in the end, nations would end up hating each other for not understanding the reasoning behind what the other nation is thinking. With so many diverse cultures and societies around the world there are so many questions about why other people other than ourselves have a different way they go about getting things done. It is what makes the world we live in an interesting place, after all. Ultimately it is communication that keeps nations sane amongst each other. Appiah presents various ways different cultures look at certain issues and helps put into perspective how different cultures are and how intensely their opinions on certain issues vary. It would be pretty much impossible to suffice everyone in the world and make them believe the same things to be true. Communication serves as the most reliable way to interact among the different cultures and societies of the world.

Works Cited
Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Cosmopolitanism.” Emerging: Contemporary Readings for Writers. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford, 2013. 67-82. Print

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