Sunday, November 07, 2004

Americanization or Homogenization?

I hear complaints about the US all the time, imperialism, invasive capitalism, exportation of our culture etc all of which is feeding a fire of resentment against the US (whose flames are wildly fanned, by Gee Dubbya [more like fed with trash bags of petrol]).

But I wonder, is it all the US or perhaps, in part, a natural progression of modernization?

There are similarities between the expansion of many great empires. Aztecs, Egyptians, Chinese, they all came up with huge structures, writing (ok, not sure about
Aztecs for the writing part), art etc. now admittedly the structures were different, as was the art, and language but in a way they all became more similar as they modernized, even without influence from other cultures. Is it possible that as we become more and more modern we will become more and more similar? And that is not just one culture being invaded by another?

While I am sure there are about 100 ways my line of reasoning is flawed think about this: There are few instances where people are forced into taking on "American" lifestyles. Of course it could be said that there are all sorts of subtle ways that people are "made" to eat at McDonalds etc, ok, could be. But what about the copy cat places, those businesses that have come from American ideas (say Fast food) that are not owned by *any* American interests? We didn't start some of those fast food places, don't fund them, in some cases loath them (maybe for taking the idea?) but people are going to those places the same as they go to McDonalds.

Exporting our culture? In some cases yeah sure, record companies want to make more so they try to sell stuff over seas (though other countries try to do the same, its capitalism) but then the big supermarket, like PAM in Italy, I don't think it is American but I have been lectured by some Italians how we exported the big supermarket here... if the first large supermarket in Italy was American owned then ok I might believe it (and in truth I don't know one way or another) but until then.

PS I don't necessarily believe the above, but the thoughts crossed my mind, in truth I really just don't know.