<< Unequal Economic Development | G101 | Global Moral, Religious, and Political Values >>
In this module you will learn:
- Arguments in favor of the "global culture," largely based on Western consumerism, that seems to be spreading around the world
- Arguments against a global culture
According to writer Thomas Friedman (author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree), no two countries that have established McDonald's franchises have ever gone to war. He argues that the presence of McDonald's franchises indicates a level of cultural and economic sophistication that makes it unlikely that a country would consider war as a solution to its problems. However, many people object to the idea of a global culture based on the crass consumerism represented by McDonald's and other international corporations. The appearance of global chain stores in virtually every country is seen by many as a form of cultural imperialism -- an attempt not just to sell products, but to encourage certain values and ways of life. The problem is exacerbated in under-developed countries, where substantial segments of the population in these countries see the goods in foreign chain stores as luxury items intended only for the rich. In the words of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Louise Frechette:
"Instead of widening our choices, globalization can seem to be forcing us all into the same shallow, consumerist culture -- giving us the same appetites but leaving us more than ever unequal in our ability to satisfy them."
Carefully consider the following questions:
1. Do you think some cultures or countries should resist being "invaded" by global companies that wish to encourage consumerism?
2. Do you think the spread of Western-style businesses will also help spread important political, moral, and economic values?
Click HERE for answers.
NOTE: The answer page contains substantive course material.