Globalization of Culture and Cultural Imperialism
Communities that are living side by side for centuries compete with all their might in their cultures demonstrating the most attractive features in their growth. From ancient Romans and Greeks to newly formed countries or Eastern Europe national conflicts always separated cultures emphasizing their peculiarities.
But with impetuous development of technologies cultural conflicts caused the most destructive wars in human history. Only 20th century took lives of one million Armenians; tens of millions of Russians; 10 million Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals; 3 million Cambodians; and hundreds of thousands of Bosnians, Rwandans, and Timorese.
20th century showed vivid necessity for people from all over the world to learn living together. The world history can bring a lot of examples, such as the United States, European Union, Australia and India, where various nations are united in harmonious society.
The United States is the greatest exporter of culture and life style, broadcasting its music, movies and TV-shows to the most distant corners of the planet. Of course it influences lives and tastes of millions of people, often in greater extent that their local radio stations or television. Penetration of American culture is viewed as corrupting in some countries. France and Canada have both passed laws to forbid the satellite broadcasting of foreign – meaning American – content into the homes of their citizens. Communist Chinese government restricts Internet websites fearing of objective information from international sources.
Restriction of information leads to closed societies that are unable to compete on the international marketplace. If national culture wants to enter global market, it should take into consideration definite rules that facilitate interaction. For example, Japanese film director Takeshi Kitano achieved worldwide popularity when he began to shut movies, which Western spectators can understand, such as “Battle Royal” or “Dolls” – it goes not about language, but about way of thinking.
Worldwide community provides a set of rules in business and policy, why rules in culture must be absent? In this case rules are not something restrictive, instead they should provide a common platform for interaction, as business suit, Swiss watch and Financial Times inhere attributes of a businessman of any nationality. Although business is primary engine of the globalization, it would be a mistake to consider that implications of globalization will be limited only to the commercial arena.
The United States made a lot to became the world’s greatest provider of culture and life style. Hollywood is worldwide known as dreams factory; modern technologies are able to support simultaneous demonstration of the last blockbuster in cinemas from Alaska to Australia, as it happened with “Lord of the Rings”. News from CNN is considered as authoritative and timely in all large information agencies even for local news. Weather forecast with use of American satellites is often treated as more reliable then one from local sources. All this puts important obligations on the United States to be a stronghold of serenity and reliability in roughly advancing flow of discrepant events.
Very important issue in cultural mission of the United States is to let live national cultures that are different from Western world perception and therefore seem strange. Moreover, if such cultures develop and became more adapted to Western perception, they will enrich world’s heritage for descendants.
When local leaders are promoting separatism, the United States should show on its own example that joint efforts for mutual benefit is much more constructive. Americans now live in a world in which ideas can be successfully exported and media delivery systems are powerful, so they have right and opportunity to use all their potential to influence world history. A lot of common sense and healthy criticism is needed here to avoid a trap of narcissism, but just variety of national composition the same way as diversity of ideas give the United States sufficient strength to fulfill its high mission.
Significant part of economic potential and political influence is concentrated in the United States so the most brilliant minds from the planet are aspiring here to obtain the greatest opportunities. Therefore, the United States provides necessary firing pad for supremacy of the Information Age.