Globalization – Consumerism

    I don’t think there are many cultural specific items anymore. Globalization is a social process where people become aware that their own culture is relative to other cultures. Like a mass cultural exchange of the world. Not with history or ideology, but with media and technology.
With modern technology, we can see and talk to just about anyone instantly, and are able to purchase anything from any corner of the globe.
Something specific, like western fashion, has already moved across the globe. Hygienic products, cosmetics, and household basics, are all widely available across the world, even in 3rd world countries. Convenience items that cross country boarders, for the most part stay the same. The reason they’ve gone so far is because of their popularity and mass distribution as a westernized convenience.  Consumer products frequently move between cultures, and change in application, but the product still exists as it was intended.
Cars and trucks exist in  most countries, and all operate in a similar way, but they vary in style. Convenience marts and grocery stores exist in all countries, but the products change.  Western style clothing exists everywhere, but the brands change. The same can be said of candy and junk foods across different countries, they exist everywhere and are similar in appearance and availability.  Other countries enjoy our Hollywood movies and styles, just like we are able to see shows and fashion from other countries.
Large chain restaurants exist everywhere, (like McDonalds) but the menus differ slightly according to local preferences. Korean-McDonalds has ramen and kimchi burgers.      You can buy a Coca-Cola soda anywhere. In Japan, KitKat chocolate candy is extremely popular because the name sounds similar to the Japanese phrase meaning ‘you will surely win’.   Christmas is celebrated internationally, even in non-Christian countries. And even 3rd world countries have cell phones, maybe not the latest iPhone 6, but they do have them.
While, I am not sure where some items originated, the wide availability of them these days leads me to believe that it doesn’t matter. Red bull energy drink originated out of Thailand. Ikea is from Sweden. Nintendo came out of Japan. A lot of things in America are made in China.
In short, I don’t think there is anything at this time that I consider an exclusive American Cultural item, because I think something comparable can be found almost anywhere in the world. Mass production and mass distribution of consumer goods, coupled with the connection that technology provides, has gathered the whole world be part of the same global consumer culture.

Q7: What do you think of the way culture has spread across the globe. Take a specific cultural item and talk about how this item has “moved” into the world – not just America, but the whole world. And discuss in more general terms how cultural products move between cultures and what happens to them when they do.


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