Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Americanization Article

Americanization Article



|Views: 677|Likes:
Published by patrickmendis6338

More info:

Published by: patrickmendis6338 on Jan 13, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF or read online from Scribd
See more
See less


FA L L2 0 0 5
ong before the Washington consensus became a driving forc ein global policymaking in the 1990s,a confluence of actorsand events laid the foundation and unleashed the momentumto expedite the process of globalization.Among those whoinfluenced the globalization process we re Ronald Reagan,M a r g a re tT h a t c h e r,Mikhail Gorbachev,and Pope John Paul II.Their actions andpolicies had an unprecedented domino effect on global institutions andnational capitals,f rom Tiananmen Square in China to Gdansk in Po l a n d .No single theory perfectly captures the complexities of thedynamic processes of globalization unique to each culture and nation.However,we can discuss the three broad forces that drive globalizationand make the world a rapidly shrinking global village:
The rapidly changing Information Revolution (the marriage of t e l e c o m munications and computers that led to the Internet) driv-en largely by multinational corporations facilitated by open gov-e rnment economic policies and competitive business strategi e s
The spread of democratic values after the collapse of the former Soviet Union,which is reaching out to individuals in the form of freedom of religion and expression (for example,Cuba and
Is the United Statesthe uncentralizedworld power for life,liberty, and the pur-suit of happiness? A former StateDepartment officialreflects on his voy-age of exploration tostudy the impact of global forces on theever-changing localeconomic, social,religious, andcultural realitiesaround the world.
by Patrick Mendis
 A m e ri c a n i z a t i o n
G l o b a l i z a t i o n
W W W. T H E P U B L I C M A N A G E R . O R G
China are transforming,even under heavy-handedgovernment control)
Liberal economic and trade policies advocated bythe World Trade Organization and the structuraladjustment policies imposed on developing andemerging former communist and socialist coun-tries by the Bretton Woods Institutions—theInternational Monetary Fund and World Bank.
 Voyage of Exploration
With this framework in mind—coupled with my“ThirdWorld”upbringing (in Sri Lanka),Americaneducation,and international organization experience— during the spring semester 2004,I took a voyage of exploration to the Caribbean,Latin America,Africa,and Asia to study the impact of global forces in thesesocieties and to learn how they responded to an ever-changing local economic,social,religious,and culturalethos.During and after this “Semester at Sea”programat the University of Pittsburgh,I reflected on the expe-riential learning,in-country interviews,and field obser-vations to better understand the dynamics of globaliza-tion processes that have typically been interchangeablyassociated with the concept of Americanization.
In the pro c e s s ,I learned more about A m e rica fro mo t h e rs p e rs p e c t ives and began to appreciate the priv i-leges of individual freedom and liberty enshrined in theU. S.Constitution (as opposed to the ascendance of group rights over individual freedom in the East A s i a nand Confucian culture s ) .A single pers o n ,an institution,or a nation cannot monopolize these forces and pro c e s s-e s .As in the evolving A m e rican experi m e n t ,a collectivee n t e rp rise drives the dire c t i o n ,s p e e d ,and scope of glob-a l i z a t i o n .The footprints of globalization are less distinctin the autocratic and re l i gious states of the Middle Eastthan the free and open economies of East A s i a .C o l l e c t ivee n t e rp rises only succeed where freedom re i g n s .
All but two of the countries we visited conform tothis rule:
Cuba is one exception:despite itsauthoritarianleadership,global economic forces are at work inthe undergrounddollar economy.Also,the his-toric visit ofPope John Paul II has opened a smallwindow of freedom for religious worship.
To some extent,China is another:it manages itseconomic and religious freedom,but is influencedby the changing nature of its duality of gover-nance in Hong Kong and Macao (former Britishand Portuguese colonies,respectively).It seems that every country—from Brazil to SouthAfrica to India—searches for greater freedom becauseits citizenry demands it.In Brazil,those who live in
seek greater democratic participation in economicd eve l o p m e n t .Racially divided black townships inAfrica look for greater political and economic integra-tion.India,the largest democracy in the world,shows usits global aspirations with its growing middle class aslarge as the European Union.Indians accurately claimthat their growing purchasing power is catching up tothat of the nations of Western Europe combined.Cambodia tries to overcome its legacy of tragic “Asiangenocide”and moves toward democratic governance.With its greater cooperation and friendship with theUnited States,Vietnam is on its way to greater econom-ic prosperity.Culturally,Confucian South Korea andBuddhist-Shinto Japan attempt to cope with the para-doxes of globalization and national identity.One way or another,every country displays some elements of theAmerican experience or democratic footprint.
Understanding Globalization
The Lexus and the Olive Tr e
U n d e r s t a n d i n g G l o b a l i z a t i o n
,Thomas Friedman observes the follow i n g :
Today,globalization often wears Mickey Mouse ears,eatsBig Macs,drinks Coke or Pepsi and does its computingon an IBM PC,using Windows 98,with an IntelPentium II processor and a network link from CiscoSystems.Therefore,while the distinction between what isglobalization and what is Americanization may be clear to most Americans,it is not—unfortunately—to manyothers around the world.In most societies people cannotdistinguish anymore among American power,Americanexports,American cultural assaults,American culturalexports and plain vanilla globalization.They are now allwrapped into one.I am not advocating that globalizationshould be Americanization—but pointing out that (this)is how it is perceived in many quarters.
Dr.Patrick Mendis
teaches MBA courses in international trade policy and management at the UMUC Graduate School of Management and Technology at the University of Maryland.This article is drawn from his forthcoming book,
Freedom on the March:An American Voyage toExplore Globalization
,based in part on his Semester at Sea teaching and  field study tour.Dr.Mendis served at the U.S.State Department under Secretaries Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell.He is a governing board member of the USDA Graduate School,an editorial board member of 
ThePublic Manager 
,and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.He can be reached at pmendis@umuc.edu.
FA L L2 0 0 5
It seems that the American legacy continues glob-ally in the name of a silent revolution for fairness,jus-tice,and liberty for all in a global society,where,asHarland Cleveland says,“no-one is in charge.It is thensafer to state that the changing patterns of Americanization—from a “melting pot”to a “saladbowl”—appear to capture the dynamics and the work-ings of globalization in a form of “glocalization,”whichis the dynamic process of interplay of local and globalforces that is uniquely local to indigenous culturesaround the world.
 Americanization as “Glocalization”
For many of us,Americanization has been a histor-ical movement that started during the first threedecades of the twentieth century after western andnorthern European immigrants came to the UnitedStates and became Americans.In the process,theyassimilated A m e rican traditions and the idealisme n s h rined in the founding documents,A m e ri c a nEnglish language,and our way of life.Even before the1900s,cascades of eastern and southern Europeani m m i grants gave momentum to the assimilationprocess,making America a melting pot in the NewWorld.Thus,assimilation was easier then than in thesecond half of the twentieth century because the valuesand ethics of European descendants were commondenominators.The new waves of legal immigrants,foreign work-ers,and illegal immigrants since World War II havetended to maintain their national heritage and identitymore than previous immigrants.Chinatowns,Buddhisttemples,Hindu
,Korean language churches,Jewishsynagogues,mosques,and many more have taken root.Different nationalities are more likely to live in thesame neighborhoods,likeArab-Americans in Detroitand Irish-Americans in Boston.The newAmerica ismore like a salad bowl than a melting pot.These diverseAmericans somehow manage to live together becausethey can live apart if they wish,by moving out in thisvast land.Likewise,all of them are free to shop at Wal-Mart,eat breakfast at McDonalds,pick up a box of Chinese food for lunch,and go to dinner at an Indianrestaurant.Yet we are all still Americans and uncentral-ized if we wish,as opposed to decentralized,in terms of w h e re we could and would live and wo r k .( U n c e n t r a l -ization differs from decentralization,which connotesthat a central individual or institution is in charge or hasa superior power over another.) Uncentralization is howf reedom and liberty work in a democracy—similar tothe World Wide Web or the Intern e t ,w h e re no one per-son is in charge,it works as a collective enterp rise in a
l a i s s e z - fa i r e 
economic system.
 American Globalization
In many ways,globalization is an extension of Americanization.Our American experience presents aset of powerfully positive features that can transformother countries,but also detrimental forces that nega-tively impact traditional cultures and their human con-ditions.For example,our promotion of democracyaround the world causes many of the global citizenry towant democracy and freedom as preconditions for their economic development.
Caribbean and Latin America
In Cuba,citizens look for ways to profit from avail-able local market opportunities,but some are willing toimmigrate to the United States at great personal risk.Fidel Castro told us that his idea of “equality and free-dom is alive and well”on the island—a myopic and ide-ological statement when one considers the realities.Castro argued,“Freedom without equality is flawed.He reasoned that people first needed to have econom-ic and social freedom as a precondition for other formsof human freedom and welfare.He asked us,“What’sthe value of freedom if you don’t have medicine for healthy life and textbooks for education?”During my field study,however,Cuban peopleexpressed that freedom is critical in unleashing their entrepreneurial zeal and benefiting from the emergingopen market system.The English-speaking hotel man-ager at Las Yagrumas,who works for 300 pesos per month (about $12),for instance,receives a bonus inAmerican dollars that is more than her monthly salary.Compared with others,she lives a comfortable life,yetshe wants to leave for Florida to join her relatives andfriends.She asked me,“What’s the value of life if I don’thave the freedom to dream and to reach higher goals?”Many Cuban students and cooperative workers sharedsimilar aspirations.In playing with capitalism (openingup free market opportunities and allowing internation-al investment through joint ventures and partnerships)and allowing gradual religious freedom after the his-toric visit of the Pope John Paul II in 1989,Castro

Activity (3)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
Milla Garnyk liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->