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Question for Discussion: According to Friedman,
globalization mean Americanization of the world?

Readings: Friedman, pp. 379-388, 395-405;
Sen, "How to Judge Globalism"; Friedman, There's Something
Happening Here

Video: Material World CD-Rom

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The Struggle over Globalization

Is Globalization really Americanization?

Debating Globalization

Jihad vs. McWorld

Aboriginal Cultures on the Web

Globalization and Failed States

Global Wealth and Inequality

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Globalization and Americanization

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The Lexus vs. the Olive Tree

"Globalization is the international system that has replaced the Cold War system....Globalization is what is new" (Friedman, 29)

"Olive trees represent everything that roots us, anchors
us, identifies us, and locates us in this world--whether
it be belonging to a family, community, a tribe, a nation,
a religion, or, most of all, a place called home."
(Friedman, 31)

"The Lexus represents the drive for sustenance, improvement, prosperity, and modernization....The Lexus represents all the burgeoning global markets, financial institutions, and computer technologies with which we pursue higher living standards today." (Friedman, 33)

"The biggest threat today to your olive tree is likely to come from the Lexus--from all the anonymous, transnational, homogenizing, standardizing market forces and technologies that make up today's globalizing economic system." (Friedman, 34)

[ Because of Moody's and Standard and Poor's credit rating agencies, a country can't escape the market.] "You can't escape the system. Sooner of later the Lexus always catches up with you." (Friedman, 39)

Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee said: "The priority is to build a national consensus on the acceptance of global capital, market norms, and whatever goes with the acceptance of it. You have to go out and
compete for investments.
" (Friedman, 40)

"[Countries need] "to find a healthy balance between preserving a sense
of identity, home, and community and doing what it takes to survive within the globalization system. Any society that wants to thrive economically today must constantly be trying to build a better Lexus and driving it out into the world."
(Friedman, 42)

"The survival of globalization as a system will depend, in part, on how well all of us strike this balance [between the Lexus and the Olive Tree]. A country without healthy olive trees will never feel rooted enough to open up fully to the world and reach out into it. But a country that is only olive trees, that is only roots, and has no Lexus, will never go, or grow, very far. Keeping the two in balance is a constant struggle."

"With the end of the Cold War, globalization is
globalizing Anglo-American-style capitalism and
the Golden Straitjacket. It is globalizing American
culture and cultural icons. It is globalizing the
best of America and the worst of America.
(Friedman, 380)

"While the distinction between what is globalization and what is Americanization may be clear to most Americans, it is not--unfortunately--to many others around the world. In most societies people cannot distinguish anymore among American power, American exports, American cultural assualts, American cultural exports, and plain vanilla globalization. They are now all wrapped into one. I am not advocating that globalization should be Americanization--but pointing out that that is how it is perceived in many quarters." (Friedman, 382)

"We Americans are the apostles of the Fast World,
the enemies of tradition, the prophets of the
free market, and the high priests of high tech....
We want the world to follow our lead and become
democratic, capitalistic
...and most of all--with
everyone, everywhere, pumping their own gas."
(Friedman, 384)

"What bothers so many people about America
today is not that we send our troops everywhere,
but that we send our culture, values, economics,
technologies, and lifestyles everywhere--
whether or not we want to or others want them.
(Friedman, 385)

This type of power--a culture that radiates
outward and a market that draws inward--rests
on pull not push; on acceptance not on conquest
(Friedman, 386)

"Today, critics of America are referring to
America as "the capital of global arrogance
(Friedman, 388)

"...In the view of the terrorists, these American
values are nothing more than soulless consumerism
and mindless technology worship.
" (Friedman, 404)

"[For terrorists] the logic is that their own states
don't represent the real power structure anymore.
The relevant power structure is global. It is in
the hands of the American Superpower and the
Supermarkets and they are the ones who tell
all other governments what to do.
(Friedman, 403)

Jihad vs. McWorld (1992):
by Benjamin Barber

" Just beyond the horizon of current events lie two possible political futures -- both bleak, neither democratic. The first is a retribalization of large swathsof humankind by war and bloodshed: a threatened Lebanonization of national states in which culture is pitted against culture, people against people, tribe against tribe -- a Jihad in the name of a hundred narrowly conceived faiths against every kind of interdependence, every kind of artificial social cooperation and civic mutuality. The second is being borne in on us by the onrush of economic and ecological forces that demand integration and uniformity and that mesmerize the world with fast music, fast computers, and fast food -- with MTV, Macintosh, and McDonald's, pressing nations into one commercially homogenous global network: one McWorld tied together by technology, ecology, communications, and commerce. The planet is falling precipitantly apart AND coming reluctantly together at the very same moment."

Jihad, or the Lebanonization of the World:

"OPEC, the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Red Cross, the multinational corporation...there are scores of institutions that reflect globalization. But they often appear as ineffective reactors to the world's real actors: national states and, to an ever greater degree, subnational factions in permanent rebellion against uniformity and integration -- even the kind represented by universal law and justice. The headlines feature these players regularly: they are cultures, not countries; parts, not wholes; sects, not religions; rebellious factions and dissenting minorities at war not just with globalism but with the traditional nation-state. Kurds, Basques, Puerto Ricans, Ossetians, East Timoreans, Quebecois, the Catholics of Northern Ireland, Abkhasians, Kurile Islander Japanese, the Zulus of Inkatha, Catalonians, Tamils, and, of course, Palestinians -- people without countries, inhabiting nations not their own, seeking smaller worlds within borders that will seal them off from modernity....

" Jihad delivers a different set of virtues: a vibrant local identity, a sense of community, solidarity among kinsmen, neighbors, and countrymen, narrowly conceived. But it also guarantees parochialism and is grounded in exclusion. Solidarity is secured through war against outsiders. And solidarity often means obedience to a hierarchy in governance, fanaticism in beliefs, and the obliteration of individual selves in the name of the group. Deference to leaders and intolerance toward outsiders (and toward "enemies within") are hallmarks of tribalism -- hardly the attitudes required for the cultivation of new democratic women and men capable of governing themselves. Where new democratic experiments have been conducted in retribalizing societies, in both Europe and the Third World, the result has often been anarchy, repression, persecution, and the coming of new, non-communist forms of very old kinds of despotism. During the past year, Havel's velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia was imperiled by partisans of "Czechland" and of Slovakia as independent entities. India seemed little less rent by Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, and Tamil infighting than it was immediately after the British pulled out, more than forty years ago."

"To the extent that either McWorld or Jihad has a NATURAL politics, it has turned out to be more of an anti-politics. For McWorld, it is the anti-politics of globalism: bureaucratic, technocratic, and meritocratic, focused (as Marx predicted it would be) on the administration of things -- with people, however, among the chief things to be administered. In its politico-economic imperatives McWorld has been guided by laissez-faire market principles that privilege efficiency, productivity, and beneficence at the expense of civic liberty and self-government."

"For Jihad, the antipolitics of tribalization has been explicitly anti-democratic: one-party dictatorship, government by military junta, theocratic fundamentalism -- often associated with a version of the Fuhrerprinzip that empowers an individual to rule on behalf of a people."

Terrorism and Globalization

"It is ironic that global terrorism, the phenomenon of terrorists operating in and against several nations simultaneously, was facilitated by globalization and now it has become the biggest challenge to globalization. Global terrorism depends on the success of globalization. In fact one may very conceive of global terrorism as a facet of the global culture resulting from globalization. "

Terrorism May Have Put Sand in its Gears but Globalization Won't Stop (2002)

Friedman: "I don't know enough about where the proper compromise should be there, but what I know is this. People want to talk about whether we globalize; them, I don't have much patience for, because globalization here is being driven by technology, and it's the wave of the future. But people want to talk about how we globalize, how we do it technologically, how we do it legally, how we do it in terms of trade, and how we make it fair; that's a discussion I'm ready to have all day long. So I would have to defer to the experts on where the right compromise is on issues like patents, but it's certainly a discussion we should be having."

Friedman: "I don't see it at all. I see Latin America afraid in my golden straightjacket, struggling to find a way to succeed in this system, consistent with its own culture. The reason globalization is going on so successfully, I think, is more and more countries are learning how to glocalize - how to fit their own culture, society and social needs into the demands of the global market. And the countries that are doing the best, I think, are countries like India, which hasn't opened up its markets fully, or China, which has gone slowly into this, but at the same time moved ahead. I always say, in this globalization system there is just one road; folks there is just one road. When someone comes and they say they've discovered a whole new road to prosperity. Oh, I grab my wallet. I know I came in here with $50; I'm leaving with $50. There is just one road, and it's the road, I believe, of free markets, of liberalized markets, and liberalized politics. But there are many speeds, Nayan. There's one road, and there's many speeds. Every country should go down the road in a way that is consistent with maintaining its cultural cohesion, its social cohesion, but at the same time its economic development. For some it might be 5 miles an hour, for others it may be 50. But promise me you just won't do one thing - not go down the road at all. If you do that, I promise you, you'll bring nothing but ruin and devastation to your people."


"Our world is at a turning point. On the one hand, we are witnessing the emergence of a unified global economy that is rapidly ushering people everywhere into the
fast-paced, prosperous future of television, computers and instant communication. On the other hand, human consumption of resources and population growth threaten to pull the earth into anarchy, starvation and environmental collapse.
Rapid advancement or self destruction: Which will prevail?

This question has been in the back of my mind for the past 20 years as I worked as a photojournalist in 52 countries. But media emphasis on extremes provides just one small part of the world picture. I wanted to give some insight into the rest of the world...

The next question was how to accomplish this. I came up with the idea of comparing 30 statistically average families from around the world by taking a photo of each family surrounded by all their possessions outside their house. By living with the families for a week, we hoped to capture their daily lives, hopes, and fears with video, still images, interviews, and journals. Once transferred to CD-ROM, the visit remains intimate and our observational power are enhanced by being able to browse through their family album see them at work and play, hear them speak, and use charts, graphs and statistics to analyze and compare what we observe.

Don't worry about the heat and dust, ice and snow, logistics and expense, bureaucracy and frustration, language barriers and culture shock. Sixteen award-winning international photojournalists do the tedious part, leaving you to explore and experience intimate glimpses of life from every corner of our incredible planet in the comfort of your own home. By collaborating with the 30 families, we present you with a unique tool for grasping cross-cultural realities. We learned an incredible amount from our journeys. I hope we succeed in sharing this knowledge with you in your corner of our Material World.
from the Introduction by Peter Menzel, 1995

Is Globalization Americanization?

Pro-globalisation :

It does not make sense to talk of a world of 6 billion people becoming a monoculture.

The spread of globalisation will undoubtedly bring changes to the countries it reaches, but change is an essential part of life. It does not mean the abolition of traditional values. Indeed, new global media, such as the internet, have proven a powerful means of projecting traditional culture (and the culture of radical opponents of globalisation).

Capitalism is essentially diverse, as the traveller from Tokyo to Hong Kong, Zurich, Buenos Aires and New York will discover. The fact that American cultural products are successful in world markets reflects no more than their popularity. US cultural exports are strong, and it is influential. That reflects the success of the US economy and the popularity of its products.

American culture should no more be vilified than should non-American culture be placed on a pedestal beyond criticism, for example cultural practices as female genital mutilation.

To the extent that globalisation does imply some integration of culture, this may be no bad thing. Tribalism, and fundamentalism have been divisive sources of violent conflict throughout history.


A report by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), showed that the world trade in goods with cultural content almost tripled between 1980 and 1991: from 67 billion dollars to 200 billion dollars. At the core of the entertainment industry - film, music and television - there is a growing dominance of US products. World Trade Organisation rules do not allow countries to block imports on cultural grounds.

It is argued that one of the consequences of globalisation will be the end of cultural diversity, and the triumph of a uni-polar culture serving the needs of transnational corporations. Hence the world drinks Coca-Cola, watches American movies and eats American junk food.

American culture is seen to be dominated by monetary relationships and commercial values replacing traditional social relationships and family values.

Globalization and Culture

Where to From Here?

Opponents of globalization argue that the playing field isn't level.  Free trade naturally favors larger economies, they say, and so the predominant western influence stifles the cultures and traditions of the developing world.  Free traders argue that globalization enhances culture, and that, in any event, culture can't thrive in poverty.  Both sides generally agree that subsidies, tariffs and other protectionist policies by developed countries against goods commonly produced in the third world (textiles, for example) hamper both culture and economic growth there.


One thing is certain:  as we move forward, transnational trade will only become more frequent, and will continue to find new participants in new corners of the globe.

And activists on both sides will continue to debate whether or not the intermingling of cultures and influences that will inevitably accompany the growing global marketplace is a good or bad thing for both the developed and developing world.

Radley Balko

Looking at the Material World CD

By looking at the families and lives of peoples from the
United States, Ethiopia, South Africa, Italy, Iceland, and
Uzebehkastan, we concluded that culture and traditions shape the lives of diverse peoples from throughout the world. Despite wide variation in standard of living and material comfort, the majority of families wanted to improve their children's education. Peoples needs for technological gadgets such as VCRs, TVs, radios, and telephones varies. The size of families, the age at marriage, the hours worked, the time families spend together, the time spent watching TV, the quantity and quality of personal possessions varied greatly. Despite the growth of a global industrial economy, diverse peoples still manage to hold onto their cultures and traditions. The Material World CD-Rom demonstrates that despite the pressure to create a global modern industrial culture, people still live their lives based on their own culture and standards. Despite the power of global development, culture and tradition still shape people's lives and expectations about the future.

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Created 1 June 2000:  Last Modified: 14 October, 2011