The Cultural Intricacies Underneath Western Materialism

Luis Martinez-Fernandez in the Chronicle of Higher Education notes an interesting element of globalization and Americanism. Material American influences are ever far-reaching — music, books, clothes — but it doesn’t mean the underlying cultural norms are becoming homogeneous:

Although people around the world may wear, eat, and listen to American products, they continue to maintain their deeply ingrained values, beliefs, and underlying assumptions. They may embrace the material products of modernity, but they cling tenaciously to their underlying cultural cores — which remain vibrant and resiliently distinct…In fact, new forms of cultural hybrids have surfaced as the bedrock values and beliefs of the world’s cultures sport the veneer of an increasingly visible — and audible — North American material culture.

In a global marketplace, it will be important for entrepreneurs (and anyone else) to see through the material veneer and understand the cultural intricacies which shape someone’s perspective. I’ve learned in my travels that it’s not easy to see "diversity" amidst so many familiar Western icons, but diversity is there and thriving, and if you want to persuade anyone to do anything, you have to understand what’s underneath the Nike t-shirt.

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