Dwight Watt Internet Article #60

#60 - The homogenization of America and the world 11/28/2000

#60 - The homogenization of America and the world

Have you traveled anywhere recently? Did you look around and notice how different the place you are visiting is from home?

We continuously hear how the people of the world are so different and how we continue to battle each other. We hear rumors that it is getting worse and that we are growing more Balkanized. Having observed things in the United States over the years and in Canada, Brazil, and Mexico and watching world news I would pose that maybe it is moving in the opposite direction. A reader of this column made the same observation after recently traveling from the east coast to the west coast.

In any city I have visited in recent years you can find McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Wal-Mart etc. When I look at Swainsboro and Elberton Georgia, most of the stores and the restaurants are the same. After the football games Friday night, odds are the kids from each town in America will be eating in the same restaurants. When I was in Brazil a year ago, we went to the mall and ate ice cream at McDonalds. We were no where near the United States of America, but same place and restaurant. You go in the malls across America and they all have the same stores.

This has grown tremendously from less than 100 years ago. For a long period of time, Sears, JC Penney, Howard Johnsons and Woolworths were the only things you could find in each town that was common. Now every exit off the interstate looks like the one 50 miles ago.

With this commonness of where we shop and where we eat and where we buy our gas, we have the capability to learn to live better with each other. That person is the northern states is not that different that the one in the southern states who is not that different than the person in Brazil who is not that different from that person in Moscow when you consider that they probably all eat at McDonalds at some point or all drink Coke at some point. With this commonness we can learn to live together more peacefully and understand our differences.

The homogenization of the world is here, and it is not coming form the top down, but from the bottom up, because the people like seeing stuff that looks familiar. The bad part is that in the process our communities are losing their uniqueness and the reasons for us to go see the other communities unique qualities.


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