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Project 3 Globalization- Adam Klaser

Page history last edited by Adam Klaser 9 years, 7 months ago

Adam Klaser

 

Globalization or Americanization?

 

     Here is a question. What does America + globalization + every other country equal? The answer is simple. If you take all three and combine them you get “Americanization”. Now, the current issue that will be discussed is whether or not the term globalization would be better understood by the words “Americanization” and post-“Americanization”. When leading economists and other policy makers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) talk about globalization they are saying that the world economy is becoming unified with numerous countries contributing their economic, political and cultural values. However, this is not true because, instead, globalization is simply America spreading its own values throughout the world and trying to model every country after itself. The definition of globalization that came into being ( after the 1980s by the IMF and WTO) might be better understood as the words “Americanization” because of the United States’ influence and dominance on the economic, political, and cultural levels and post-“Americanization” because of the rising of a new economic power in China.

 

     In order to follow along with the issue that will be discussed, a better understanding of the definition of globalization will be necessary. Before diving into the definitions of globalization, it is best to know that the one that will be argued is the one that became relevant after the 1980s. Now the definition for globalization (after the 1980s) is pretty much the same across the board no matter where one finds it. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, globalization is defined as “the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets”. Similarly, the WTO and IMF, as mentioned before, define globalization simply as the unification of world economy. As one can see these two definitions are pretty much the same in that they both define globalization as countries working together to create a global economy. However, these definitions do not take into account that America dominates the world economically, politically, and culturally which is why the term “Americanization” would be a better understanding for the definition of globalization. Also, the term post-“Americanization” would also be a better understanding for globalization on the economic level because of the rise of a new economic power in China.

           

     To begin with, the definition of globalization might simply be understood as the term “Americanization” because of the United States’ influence and domination in the world economy. Over the past century the United States had been gaining more and more power in the world economy almost to the point where the world economy in itself is actually the economy of the U.S. Now the reason why globalization should simply be defined as “Americanization” on the economic level is because of the overwhelming percentage that the United States contributes to the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), “The United States had the largest economy of any single nation ($13.9 trillion), followed by China ($7 trillion), Japan ($4.4 trillion), and India ($3 trillion)” (“International Trade” 1). Disregarding the European Union, the United States clearly has the most influence when it comes to the purchasing power of any country in the world economy. By having such an enormous percentage of the world’s GDP, the United States can easily influence what happens in the global market, which is one reason why globalization might be better understood as “Americanization”. Even more striking in the United States’ control over the world economy is the fact that almost all of the international transactions are completed with the U.S dollar. As stated by the Bank for International Settlements’ Triennial Report of the currency markets “the market share of the dollar in cross-border transactions has remained unchanged at 85% over the past 15 years”(“Economist Debates”). This is a staggering statistic considering the fact there are so many currencies around the world, and even the fact that the U.S dollar is not the strongest when it comes to the exchange rates with the British pound and the Euro dollar. This just shows that the United States, in economic terms, is the sole economic superpower because even when it is going through a recession other countries still rely on it for their own economy to function properly which even further proves that “Americanization” might be a better understanding for the definition of globalization.

           

     Secondly, globalization might be better understood by the term “Americanization” because of the United States’ influence in world politics. Ever since its birth, America has been advocating democracy and sometimes even trying to forcefully implement it on a foreign country. A specific example of how the United States political model has influenced other countries to follow suit is with Israel in the early 2000s. According to Myron, J. Aronoff, “Israel has taken dramatic political reforms in moving away from the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy to a system that resembles that of the American democracy” (Aronoff 92). There are numerous other examples like this one, which proves that America is the most influential country when it comes to politics on the global stage. Another situation that proves globalization would be better comprehended simply by the term “Americanization” is when the United States invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to overthrow their governments and implement a democratic political system. These two situations show how “Americanization” would be the best understanding for globalization. With globalization, on political terms, countries usually contribute their different ideas to make a better political system, however, this is clearly not happening because the United States is the only country that tries to advocate or make countries have a democratic system as shown with Iraq and Afghanistan. As one can see, “Americanization” would be the best understanding because one does not see another country such as China trying to spread its political ideologies to other nations around it like the United States does.

           

     In addition to the other reasons, the term “Americanization” might be the best understanding for the definition of globalization because of the United States’ influence on world culture. American movies, food, fashion and music are highly influential and have been for the past half century. However since the invention of the internet and the beginning of the information age, American culture has been in the spotlight and shows no signs of letting anyone else in, ever. Take this example, for instance, of how American music is spreading all over the globe and how surprisingly well it is doing in foreign countries. In December 2010, according to Billboard’s European Hot 100, 6 of the top 10 singles were by American artist or bands (“European Hot 100”). This is a striking statistic considering how culturally diverse Europe is and the variety of languages spoken there. However, one can simply realize that after looking through more of the chart, American music reigns king on the European radio. An even more striking example of how American culture is taking over the native cultures of foreign countries is shown with, everyone’s favorite, “Ba da ba ba ba, I’m lovin’ it”. According to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), in 2008, “ McDonald’s employs over 1.4 million restaurant employees in more than 31,000 restaurants throughout 118 countries” "(“McDonald’s Global” 1). By being stretched out across so many countries, McDonald’s is able to make an impact on a variety of cultures and also influence the native citizens of what American culture really is. Also, the simple advertising phrase, as mentioned before, also shows how American culture remains in a person’s mind because of how influential it is. A third illustration proving that globalization, culturally, might be better understood simply as the term “Americanization”, is the worldwide popularity of American movies. One would think that because of language barriers and different social wants and needs of countries, American movies would not have an impact on global culture. However, this is not true as shown with these statistics which show how the American film industry dominates the cinema market in Europe. In 2009, the European Audiovisual Observatory, estimated that the “market share for US films climbed from 65.6 percent to an estimated 67.1 percent” and also that the “3D blockbuster Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs topped last year’s European charts, selling around 40.2 million tickets in 2009, followed by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince taking second place with 33.9 million admissions” (European Box). By having such influential movies, America is able to spread its cultural ideas throughout the entire world and therefore be able to have a native culture model itself after the United States. All of these examples show that American culture is spreading rapidly throughout the world, whether it is food, cinema, or music and that globalization, on the cultural level, would be best understood simply as “Americanization”.

           

     Lastly, the term post-“Americanization” would be a better understanding for globalization then its current definition because of the fall of America being the economic superpower and the rise of a new economic powerhouse in China. Over the past few years (since the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis), there has been much discussion whether the United States will remain the sole economic power, or if there will be a new nation to claim that title. According to chief economist Justin Lin “if China continued to grow at an annual rate of 8%, it would be twice the size of the US economy in 20 years” (“China” 1). Now, this may seem as a big “if” since it very difficult for a country to grow at 8% each year, but by just looking at China’s past decade and even thirty years, one can see that since “post-1978 China saw average real growth of more than 9 percent a year with fewer and less painful ups and downs”( Hu, Khan 1). This fact gives reason that the previous prediction about China surpassing America is very possible and even more likely to happen. This simple statement proves that globalization is not about countries that are the same size working together, but is better understood as the term post-“Americanization” where one country will take the place of the United States in dominating the world economy. Not only is it predicted that China will have the largest economy by 2020 it is also predicted that it will dominate in trade. According to the PwC, “China is in a dominant position in terms of bilateral trade. It appeared in 17 of the top 25 bilateral trade pairings in 2009” (China 1).  Here, it is clear that the United States is losing its hold as the world’s most important trader and that China is starting to take that title, which proves the point that the term post-“Americanization” would be a better understanding for the definition of globalization on the economic level in the near future. By growing so quickly over the past thirty years or so, China has taken the world by storm and is rewriting the very definition of globalization.

           

     In refutation, one might argue that the words “Americanization” and post-“Americanization”, might not be the best understandings for the term globalization on the economic level because of the rise of multiple nations. Now, the argument that would be made would not be against the term “Americanization” because it is almost universally agreed upon that the United States is going to lose it grip as the sole economic power in the near future. However, it would be argued that the word post-“Americanization”, in terms of China taking the reign, would not be the best meaning for globalization because of the rise of other countries such as Brazil, Russia, and India.  As of right now, Brazil is the world’s fifth most populated country and has the ninth largest GDP. Similarly, Russia and India have the seventh and fourth biggest GDPs respectively. All of these countries have seen double digit growth over the past decade just like China, making them relevant on global economic stage and therefore putting them in the ranks alongside China as the future global economies. It is clear that these three countries are emerging extraordinarily fast and providing competition with China as the future economic power proving the point that China, in the future, will not be the sole economic superpower. However, there is a flaw with each one of these countries that will disprove this argument quite easily. Starting with Russia, it is predicted that by 2030, “Russia’s working-age population will fall by 17m” (“The BRICs” 1). Without a stable working-age population Russia will not be able to keep up its current production meaning that its economy will eventually stop growing at exponential rate making it irrelevant on the economic stage. As for the other two countries it is shown that, in terms of open and closed economies, “India and Brazil are more closed, with exports less than a fifth of GDP” (“The  BRICs” 1). By having closed economies, India and Brazil will not be able to keep their current growth rate because of two things: the inability for other countries to invest in their markets because they are closed and the fact of diminishing returns because of the lack of new capital coming into their economies. By not being able to grow at an exponential rate, India and Brazil, along with Russia, will see a leveling off in their total production making them less competitive to China and therefore proving that the term post-“Americanization” simply means China being the only nation to take the place of the United States.

          

     Taking all of reasons together it is clear that the terms “Americanization” and post-“Americanization” would be better understandings for the definition of globalization. Currently, it is obvious that the United States is the leader on the economic, political, and cultural levels. By the look of things, “Americanization” looks like it will continue in politics and culture, but when speaking of things economically, it looks more like the term post-“Americanization” will be the best understanding for globalization. However, only time will be able to tell whether or not America will fall and China will take its place. The biggest question that comes when talking about post-“Americanization” is whether China will just be another Japan or USSR or whether it will actually succeed in surpassing the U.S.

 

 

Works Cited

 

"China 'to Overtake US and Dominate Trade by 2030'"Http://www.bbc.co.uk. 24 Mar. 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2011.             <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-     12848449>.

 

"European Box Office up Twelve Percent, Group Says | Digital Cinema Report - News. Perspective. Analysis."November 1, 2011. Ed. Nick Dager. Web. 09 Nov.  2011.

 

"European Hot 100 | Billboard.com."Music News, Reviews, Articles, Information, News Online & Free Music | Billboard.com. Web. 01 Nov. 2011.         <http://www.billboard.com/charts/european-hot-100>.

 

Hu, Zuliu, and Moshin S. Khan. "Economic Issues 8 -- Why Is China Growing So Fast?". International Monetary Fund. Web. 09 Nov. 2011.         <http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/issues8/index.htm>.

 

"International Trade and the United States' Place in the Global Economy."The American Economy. Kim Masters Evans. 2009 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Information Plus Reference Series.Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 9 Nov. 2011.       <http://ic.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?>

 

Jen, Stephen. "Economist Debates: The Yuan: Statements."The Economist - World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. The Economist Newspaper Limited, 2011. Web. 09 Nov. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/debate/days/view/751>.

 

Myron J. Aronoff. Israel Studies. Vol. 5, No. 1, The Americanization of Israel (Spring, 2000), pp. 92-127. <http://www.jstor.org/pss/30245531>

 

"The BRICs: The Trillion-dollar Club | The Economist."The Economist - World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. The Economist Newspaper          Limited, 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 09 Nov. 2011. <http://www.economist.com/node/15912964>.

 

Workman, Daniel. "McDonald's Global Sales Advantages: 2008 Revenues for World’s Top Fast-Food Company Are $23.5 Billion”. 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 09 Nov.   2011. <http://daniel-workman.suite101.com/mcdonalds-global-sales-advantages-a95598>.

 

 

 

 

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