American Cultural Products have an Impact on Other Cultures
About the American Culture
How the American Culture Affects Products Globally
Influences of Culture on One Another
American Culture in China
American Culture in Korea
Major American Cultural Values
Globalization has created a completely new way of life for billions of people. It has provided people with new technologies and alternative ways of consuming everything, from products to music and films to literature and even language. In other words, globalization has impacted entire cultures in various countries (Friedman, 2005). The trend has been aided by the creation of the ability to purchase life changing goods for consumers; providing many varieties of consumable items at reasonably low prices on an international market has spread different cultures.
Understanding the impact of globalization on the regional and national cultures requires the understanding of the process and the meaning of globalization. While the term globalization originates from the global exchange of business and trade, the resultant effect of globalization can now be seen in almost every aspect of people’s everyday lives (Stiglitz, 2006). The process that is created and aided by trade, immigration, and the exchange of information and ideas that affect and influence one another’s cultures and that has the tendency to make the cultural alike is termed as globalization.
On the other hand, the culture of a country or a region can be defined as the way humans and such human groups behave and the patterns of their behavior they exhibit. It also resides in the way they speak and act and the various products resultant from the human behavior in the form of artifacts. Culture and its development are often dependent on the ability of a human being to capture and assimilate knowledge and learning and then transmitting that knowledge to the generations that follow them. Therefore culture is also often referred to as the personality of a society (Moschella & Weaver, n.d.).
The term globalization is also used when people generally visualize the worldwide trade and international business world. This is trend is definitely a part of globalization. The rapid advancements in technology in communication, media and transportation have made it possible for companies to transcend the political boundaries of production and offer new products in new markets. Therefore Globalization is defined as the worldwide exchange of goods and services irrespective of the national boundaries.
Globalization became a common term during the 1980s and has become even more ubiquitous after the 1990s. The four basic principles of globalization, as identified by the International Monetary Fund, are trade and transactions of goods and services, movements of investments and capital for business from one country to another, migration and movement of people and their labor between countries as well as the dissemination of knowledge worldwide (Moschella & Weaver, n.d.). Activities like business and work, economics, and the natural environment are all affected by globalization and consequently these forces also have an effect on globalization.
This exchange of products has made it possible for companies to start and set up businesses in new countries and regions which make different varieties of consumer products available to more people around the globe. This intrusion of new products and consumer items into new cultures can also foster new behaviors or habits resulting from the use of such products (Friedman, 2005). Having access to new products can have an impact on someone’s daily habits and routines. Thus when any new products that are introduced into a society they can begin to influence the culture; sometimes minimally at first until it eventually gets integrated into the daily life and routine of the users in the society.
This habit of using and integrating new products into the daily lives of consumers’ eventually small changes in the behavior of the consumer consistent with the particular genre of products (Bhagwati, 2004). Such products can be consumer usable products as well as artistic products like films, songs and books. Creative products ultimately get assimilated into the culture of the society and influence the culture of the society through the change in behavior of the people using the products. While such cultural influences can be considered to be good by some, not everyone views cultural changes beneficial to the users and to the society in general (Stiglitz, 2006).
The rise and advancement of technology has widened the scope and reach of globalization. This means that more and more people can now be reached and influenced through the process of globalization. Therefore developments in hardware and software have begun to influence the way individuals, communities and nations are united through the process of enhanced communication capabilities. For example, people can now talk about global products and global brands as well as cultural items such as films, music, and literature. The process of globalization has also been greatly enhanced by the rapid and phenomenal growth of the internet and the communicating devices (Scriven, 2015). Cultural boundaries between societies and nations are being broken down and there is greater exchange and acceptance of each other’s ideas and views in the societies.
In this paper we would discuss how the process of globalization has made it possible for the American culture to spread and influence the cultures of other countries. To illustrate this trend, a discussion about how the American culture has impacted the Chinese and the Korean cultures will be used. These two cultures have definitely been affected by the globalization and the rapid spread of American products, food and artistic products (Bhagwati, 2004).
About the American Culture
The American culture is essentially a large melting pot where different cultures have united to form a new culture. There have been waves of immigration in the United States where cultures of several continents and societies have left their influence creating unique blend that has now come to be known as the American culture. The American culture is diverse and unique and began with the European conquest of the continent. The influence of the European cultures on the inhabitants of the sparsely populated indigenous people of the country represents the first outside culture that entered the country. In the fields of language, arts and political institutions, there is a predominant influence of the European culture, style, and values.
However other popular cultural influences can be found elsewhere. For example, the daily diets of the people in the United States were also partly shaped and influenced by the cultures and tastes of the people from Asia, Africa and other places in North America (Cismas, 2015). Thus this mixture of influences in the early formation of the American civilization has created an unusual mixture of patterns and forms that are a result of the forging and coming together of the people from many cultures and populations. This has also given the culture a level of complexity and the uniquely casual personal style of the people of America that becomes evident in American everywhere around the world.
The diverse mixing of the cultures has also given the American culture a unique characteristic of tolerance that was achieved through years of struggle within the American society and which has resulted in a homogenous culture and a society that is governed by general uniform societal norms. This diversification has left a deep impact on the American culture. According to the estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 300 languages that are spoken in the United States that include English, Spanish, Indo-European languages and languages of the Asian and Pacific Islands.
There are also people of varying religions in America with Christianity being the predominant religion. The varying climate of the country has also brought in varying clothing styles with the predominantly casual style being the one preferred by most Americans. Such style has come to become identified and known as the unique cultural trait of the country. The American culture is also identified by the type of food that the people eat. Food like hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and meat loaf are typical American food that is recognized as part of the American culture the world over.
Mass media is the predominant art form that defines American culture. The country is the global leader in mass media productions like television and films and is among the largest producer of such mass entertainment in the world (Cismas, 2015). Music is another art form that has unique American cultural traits like the jazz, country and western, rock ‘n’ roll and hip hop among others. American culture is also defined by the sports that the people play. Sports like basketball, American football and baseball are known around the world to be unique of the American culture. All the above have developed and have been given shape by the people from diverse populations who have settled down in the country over the years and help form the unique culture of America.
How the American Culture Affects Products Globally
Perhaps the greatest influence that the American culture has had on the rest of the world is in the way American products and the style of using them has impacted and influenced and often changed behaviors in other cultures. Being arguably the biggest global economy, America has a very strong influence in the global business community. American products and popular cultural items have found their way into numerous other cultures in the world. For example, the American style of wearing casual clothes-jeans and T-shirts and sports shoes, are now common and often considered style statements in many cultures. In many cultures people often wear jeans and sleeved shirts with a tie to an office. This illustrates the influence of the American casual style on other cultures. This dress culture is an important aspect of the American culture, and has popularized by Hollywood films and music videos. American music culture has also influenced many cultures and impacted traditional music. American jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll and American rap have been assimilated, popularized and styled in local and national music cultures.
The way people view fast food has also been drastically influenced by the American food habits and eating culture. Brands like KFC, Burger King and McDonalds are household names in most cultures with retail outlets from these companies seen in most metropolitan cities around the globe. Apart from the brands, the style of having meals made up of fast foods such as hamburgers, French fries (chips), soft drinks, fried chicken, and ice cream are popular in many cultures. These are visible impacts of the American culture on other cultures. In many developing economies and even in some developed economies, owning American products is often considered to be a status symbol owing to the superior quality and competitive price. This is also represents a behavioral change in such cultures that have been influenced by American culture.
Influences of Culture on One Another
The American influence on other cultures is not one-way relationship. American cultures are also affected and influenced by other cultures. The American economy and its way of life have attracted people from all over the world throughout its development. Immigrants from diverse populations bring along their distinctive cultures, food habits, and way of life. For example, the Asian and Pacific food habits have become very popular in America. Indian yoga and classical music have gained popularity in the U.S. Soccer, a traditionally non-American game, is gaining popularity among American enthusiasts. The interchange of cultural influences occurs with social perception and comparison that encourages people to accept and acquire the better option among their choices. Motivations and bias towards a particular aspect of any culture is another reason of cross influence of cultures (Cismas, 2015).
American Culture in China
It is a well-established and documented fact that the Chinese culture can be traced back to more than five thousand years. The national culture of the country had been influenced by the numerous dynasties that ruled over the country. The culture of China was influenced by large impact leaving dynasties and groups like the Han, Mongol, and the Manchurians. The culture of China has been strong and upheld by the societal norms built over thousands of years (Liu, 2002).
The influence of the American culture on the Chinese culture really began to gain momentum in the late twentieth century and the exertion of the American influence in Chinese culture still prevails and is growing according to some experts. The age old and strong Chinese culture while is still being upheld by the older generations, however it is without doubt that the younger generation of communist ruled China has been readily accepting the American culture, concepts, and practices. One of the most important influences of American culture has been in the food that the Chinese have adopted and with a certain degree of passion.
American fast food is among the most popular dining options in China. The concept of fast food in China beforehand was limited to small street vendors who served one or more of the local cuisine or noodles. However, today the image of fast food in China is a large and well organized business that operates through multiple stores and chains with very attractive outlays (Haugen & Musser, 2007). In 1987, Kentucky Fried Chicken started off its first store in Beijing. This was but just a path opener for other American food companies to set foot in china and to engage in the sale of fast food, one of the identifiable characteristics of American culture.
There are now over 30 chains of American fast food companies in China that has added to the street food vendors and the small eateries. Now most of the American multinational fast food chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell run successful operations in China and is accepted by the Chinese consumers (Liu, 2002). The companies have created new dining habits among the Chinese consumers. This represents a significant change in the very old Chinese cuisine. The foreign fast food chains have also incorporated the local Chinese favorites into their menu creating a mix food culture in the country. This has created a new culture for fast food in china that the American culture brought into the country after the country opened its doors to foreign company in the early 1980s (Klein, 2000).
American cultural influence can also be seen in the way American clothing giants have started and expanded their operations in China. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, western clothing had become popular and had been worn by many. It had become a way of life for many in Taiwan and other parts of China since then. However in some parts there were instances when traditional Chinese clothing was preferred over the American clothing style. But now all the major American brands in clothing and fashion have set up shops in China influencing the way people dress in the country. T-shirts and blue jeans, the embodiment of American fashion and an unmistakable identification of American culture are now very popular in China and is one of the major fashion trends in the country. This has been another influence of American culture in China and has left an undeniable mark on the local culture of the country (Klein, 2000).
The use of the internet is another aspect of American culture that has influenced the way the Chinese people communicate with each other as well as others in the rest of the world. U.S. companies like Google and Yahoo has surged in China after the country adopted the internet usage about a decade ago. This once predominantly western and American culture was has now become part of the Chinese culture and has shaped the way people of the country look for information. The advent of the internet culture into China has also brought with it into the Chinese culture many foreign concepts and influences many from America and American culture (Haugen & Musser, 2007).
The influence and impact of American music and American films have also influenced the culture of China. Chinese popular music has been influenced by American style rock music. Musicians like Wu Bai and other popular rock bands in China have fashioned their works of art on the base of American rock music. The American rock culture has been incorporated into the traditional Chinese music thus giving it a unique flavor and distinctiveness (Haugen & Musser, 2007). One of the major influences in the aspect of fashion has been Hollywood movies that have, to a certain degree, molded the views of the Chinese audience, especially the young audience.
American Culture in Korea
Unlike China, America’s relations with Korea go back to the 1950s and the 1960s when the American culture had a big influence on the culture of Korea. This was approximately the time when Korea had begun its modernization processes. The influence of American culture in Korea was more due to financial reasons more than anything else. In the 1960s, Korea received financial assistance from America in exchange for sending its troops to Vietnam and supporting America during the Vietnam-war. In return, America helped Korea develop into a modern economy based on the American capitalist model (Lee, 2002). North Korea however remained sealed from any outside influence due to the stranglehold of the communist government there.
The process of modernization in Korea was followed by a profound interest among the Korean people to adopt and acquire anything American (Klein, 2007). This was due to the urbanization and consumerism aspects of modernization of the Korea. The acquiring of American culture by the Koreans was also a show of the social status of an individual at that point in time. The socially mobile society that the American culture provided was in stark contrast to the absolute nonexistence of social mobility in the Confucian society in Korea and this was very appealing to many Koreans (Lee, 2002). This urged the Koreans to pick up on American culture and American societal norms along with America’s help in modernization of Korea.
In the book “Big Brother: The American Influence of Korean Culture in the Lyndon B. Johnson Years” Sang-Dwan Lee says that the Korean attitude towards the American culture was complex in nature. The writer states that the Koreans often looked at the Americans as with respect and with a feeling of gratitude. America at that time was viewed as a rich country. Therefore acquiring anything from America was viewed by Koreans as an enhancement of their social symbol. Thus apart from the products and goods from America, Koreans also adopted some of the cultural aspects of American culture (Lee, 2002).
The most influential factor that influenced the once Confucian Korean culture was a the adoption of consumerism and capitalism. This was a direct result of the modernization of Korea under the American aegis. During the 1960s, the economy of Korea was poor with a very high rate of unemployment. The major thrust of modernization came between 1965 and 1975 with a 800 million dollar U.S. aid package. This investment helped transform the Korean economy and install the consumerism culture among the Korean consumers which also ushered in a subsequent change in their cultural perceptions.
The integration of foreign western cultures, especially the American culture, had become very important to the Korean population and even a wrist watch from America was seen a status symbol. The adoption of the American culture and its growing influence was also evident in the Korean women from the middle and the higher classes who also sought social status by the adoption of American culture and ways. The popular entertainment culture in Korean society was also influenced by the American music, films and television and films (Topics-mag.com, 2015). The influence was assimilated into the existing Confucian culture and his day the influence can be seen in this field. This is how the Korean culture managed to develop a new culture that was greatly influenced by the American culture, its ways and values. The impact of American culture of Korean culture was so influencing that some experts even claimed that the century old national culture was also influenced by the new found popular culture and consumerism. This was aided by rapid economic growth and rampant Westernization (Lee, 2002).
Major American Cultural Values
With the development of a diverse culture, America also developed unique cultural values. These values were related to individual and group characteristics of the American people. Independence and individuality is one of the major personal characteristics of the American culture. Since childhood, American children are encouraged to be independent with their own goals in life and to become self-dependent financially and not depend on family and friends too much while they grow up. They are expected to become financially independent when they finish school or college (Haugen, 2009). American culture also encourages people to be as self-dependent as possible in every stage of life. Privacy of the individual and especially the personal views are well established and respected values of the American culture (Klein, 2007).
Another very important value of American culture is the equality of all American citizens not only by law but also according to social norms and customs. This culture of equality is evident from the non-use of words like ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ in the American society and in official hierarchy. It is common culture in America to address people in official hierarchy by their names and not by the use of words like “sir” and “madam’ that is often used in other cultures to denote upper status in society.
Time is also of great essence in American culture. Maintaining punctuality is one of the characteristics that Americans take pride in. punctuality is sort to be maintained in everything that the American do, be it is business and official work or in society. Such punctuality is expected from everyone irrespective of the social status of the individual and being late or delivering late is considered to be a social crime (Haugen, 2009). However, Americans are also known to be informal and casual in their lifestyle. This includes what they wear and how they conduct themselves in public. American culture often allows for the wearing of casual and comfort clothes even on official occasions. The way people interact with each other in society is also mostly informal.
Americans are also often distinguished by their direct and assertive nature. This is a part of the American culture which encourages people to talk directly and speak up to give their opinions. This is in distinct difference to some other cultures like the Japanese culture. There is a stereotype about America people in which they have a tendency to blurt out their mind without being worried about hierarchal norms and customs seen in some other cultures (Haugen, 2009). Another result of the capitalist influence on the American economy is the tendency for individuals to be hard-working and achievement oriented while at work and enjoy the fruits of their hard work during spare time; American culture encourages people to work hard and play hard.
Globalization is one of the primary forces that have enabled the American culture to influence other cultures around the world. Another factor is the economic dominance of the United States which allows many American multi-national corporations to venture into new markets thus taking American culture into most of the countries of the world (Scriven, 2015). The greatest influence of American culture on other cultures has been the way in which clothing, food and popular culture has been impacted. The spreading of American business into new markets and cultures has also influenced the way people interact with each other and the organizations in such companies through the international standardization of business practices. While countries and cultures like Korea have been under the American cultural influence of quite some time now, communist ruled countries like China have also been influenced by American cultures. The rapid advancement of technology is one of the primary drivers of globalization (Scriven, 2015). This trend has increased the spread of American culture into other cultures while the American culture also absorbs new bits of cultures from foreign cultures as well.
Bhagwati, J. (2004). In defense of globalization. New York: Oxford University Press.
Cismas, S. (2015). The impact of American culture on other cultures: Language and cultural identity. http://www.wseas.us. Retrieved 26 March 2015, from http://www.wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2010/Cambridge/AIKED/AIKED-61.pdf
Friedman, T. (2005). The world is flat. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Haugen, D. (2009). American values. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Haugen, D., & Musser, S. (2007). America’s global influence. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Klein, N. (2000). No space, no choice, no jobs, no logo. New York: Picador USA.
Klein, N. (2007). The shock doctrine. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt.
Lee, S. (2002). Big brother, little brother. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.
Liu, D. (2002). Metaphor, culture, and worldview. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America.
Moschella, M., & Weaver, C. Handbook of global economic governance.
Scriven, J. (2015). The Impact of Globalization on the Consumer. http://www.neumann.edu. Retrieved 26 March 2015, from http://www.neumann.edu/academics/divisions/business/journal/Review2014/Scriven.pdf
Stiglitz, J. (2006). Making globalization work. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Topics-mag.com,. (2015). Inflluence of American Culture on Korea | TOPICS Online Magazine for Learners of English. Retrieved 26 March 2015, from http://www.topics-mag.com/globalization/culture-korea2.htm
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