Previous Page An Issue 65.
The rise of multinational corporations is leading to global homogeneity. Because people everywhere are beginning to want the same products and services, regional differences are rapidly disappearing. (Homogeneity : sameness and similarity) Question
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above. Support your point of view with reasons and / or examples from your own experience, observations or reading. Analysis
Although global homogeneity in a broader sense may not be as inexorable as the speaker here suggests, I agree that multinational corporations are indeed creating global sameness in consumer preferences. This homogeneity is manifested in two concurrent mega trends.
(1) The embracing of American popular culture throughout the world
(2) A synthesis of cultures as reflected in consumer preferences.
The first trend is toward Americanization of popular culture throughout the world. In food and fashion, once a nation's denizens fall into the Gap or get a taste of a Coke or Big Mac, their preferences are forever Westernized. The ubiquitous Nike swoosh which nearly every soccer player in the world will soon don, epitomizes this phenomenon. In media, the cultural agendas of giants such as Time-Warner now drive the world's entertainment preferences. The Rolling Stones and the stars of America's prime-time television shows are revered among young people worldwide while Mozart's music, Shakespeare's prose and Ghandi's ideology are largely ignored.
A second mega trend is toward a synthesis of cultures into a homogenous stew. The popularity of world music and of the New Age health care and leisure-time activities aptly illustrate this blending of Eastern, Western and third-world cultures. Perhaps nowhere is the cultural-stew paradigm more striking and blander than at the international food courts now featured in malls throughout the developed world.
These trends appear inexorable. Counter-attacks, such as Ebonies, rap music and bilingual education promote the distinct culture of minority groups, but not of nations. Further homogenization of consumer preferences is all but ensured by falling trade barriers coupled with the global billboard that satellite communications and the Internet provide.
In sum, American multinationals have indeed instigated a homogeneous global, yet American-style, consumerism one which in all likelihood will grow in extent along with free-market capitalism and global connectivity.