In The Global Village Finally Arrives Pico Lyer asks the reader: how do you know where you live? The rest of the world appears to have eagerly embraced all things American, but this has not been a one-way transaction…
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According to Lyer, the traditional metaphor for the changes globalization has made and is making to the world is that of a mosaic. The fragments that the world is composed of combine to make one big picture, and if you stand back to look at it from a good distance, it seems to be one image and those fragments are now part of a whole. As well as this, the mosaic itself is not static, and the fragments are constantly shifting this way and that to form new images. Using the mosaic as a metaphor illustrates how the lines of what constitutes national or country identity can begin to blur as cultures borrow heavily from one another. It also reinforces the idea that despite the love affair that many people have with all things American, it is definitely a give and take situation, where countries all over the world both give to and borrow from other cultures. “As fast as the world comes to America, America goes round the world”. (170)
Globalization is driven by people – “defined…by an international youth culture that takes its cues from American pop culture.” (170) This may be true, but it is an America that is increasingly diverse, with the multitude of cultures in the country constantly borrowing ideas from each other, and from the world. Even as teens in Asia and Europe are wearing Levis jeans and watching American TV, Americans are eating sushi and watching Japanese anime cartoons.
The America that sets the style for so many other countries is and always has been a melting pot for a host of different cultures and perhaps it is this that drives globalization now. American culture as a whole is surprisingly rich simply because it is a mix of so many different cultures.
Interestingly, while globalization maybe more widespread than ever before, as Lyer points out, it is not a new thing. Cultural diversity has always existed, in Biblical times and before. Modern technology, however, has made a very significant contribution to the spread of globalization - in the age of phone, fax, internet, satellite television and rapid transit nothing is very far away anymore. As countries all over the world become increasingly modernized, they beam information all over the world, so that "the news is in Mandarin; today's baseball game is being broadcast in Korean". (169)
Lyer's essay points out in no uncertain terms that globalization is a two-way street. The fascination of other countries with America has certainly been one of the driving forces. However, it is just as certain that America has always been a multi-cultural society, and borrows just as heavily from other cultures and nations as they do from
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