Culture and personality are two ideologies that compliment and supplement each other. So several times, society has never failed to use culture in the process of convincing and influencing people to believe in the same beliefs as it have. This paper sought to justify the effect of each towards one another and to establish that several of these effects can be geared towards the positive or the negative side.
Keywords:Culture, personality, globalization
Consumer: Culprit to the Disintegration of Culture
The image the public have about a particular gender is dictated by the society. In other words, in a male-dominated culture male will always have the upper-hand and women will always be type-cast as subordinate to men. It also goes to say that men are expected to do better, perform better and achieve more than their female counterparts. So for a culture experiencing male dominance, men will always be portrayed as professionals, reputable and strong while women will have secondary roles of being housewives, subordinate to men, plain and in need of rescuing. This is where media has a significant role to play.
Social norms are defined as sets of standards that a culture or a society has that determine what is acceptable or not. If one tries to relate how social norms and gender roles connects with one another, it is this set of standards that gives meaning to what behaviors are acceptable for a particular gender. Specifically, in a male dominated culture, the social norm is that men are supposed to be the stronger gender. Men are expected to rule over his household, provide for their needs, and hold a profession and display superiority and machismo. Contrary to women, society has very low expectations of them. In such a culture, women are just limited to work inside the house, waiting for orders, cleaning, doing motherly duties and being submissive to their husbands. In addition, women would also be seen portraying common roles of mothers, housewives, assistants, prostitutes and vagrant which will not been typically seen among men.
There is a huge difference of how men and women are being stereotyped. Some advocates of a male dominated culture would argue that the feminists are just being too sensitive about this issue. According to them there is no point arguing a creative presentation of media calling it freedom of expression, or a creative pursuit of the plot. However, they failed to realize that there is a subtle implication of these roles being aired. Consequently, the public are being conditioned to believe that men are superior to women.
For quite some time women were regarded as second class citizens. Women were not given the opportunity to express their views, more so participate in the affairs of the society. The patriarchal system refuses to acknowledge the inputs of women during the 16th century until later 18th century. However, by the end of the 18th century women have slowly gained their liberation. They were given little liberty to speak about the injustices they’ve experienced and reforms addressing their right to be educated had been considered.
When nations decided to participate in trade with other nations, the exchange of goods and information also facilitate in the intercontinental flow of culture which significantly altered the world (Ritzer& Malone, 2001). This event in history is broadly termed as globalization. The definition of globalization varies depending on the context by which the author wishes to use the word. Too often than not, the term globalization is associated with the concept of commercialism. However, globalization does not only account to economic activities; rather it covers a wider perspective. Given its multidimensional facet, globalization includes cultural, social, political and ideological events (Prasad, 2006). Consequently, the plethora of controversies and debates on the significant effects of globalization to culture and the society remains under researched. Controversies surround the effect of the globalized economy in the maintaining the integrity of cultural diversity (Acosta & Gonzalez, 2010). The principle of consumerism has led to the materialization of the society that is perceived to cause cultural disintegration and degradation.
For the purpose of establishing this argument, this paper would utilize the comparison of how consumerism works within the context of two distinctly different cultures. This is done to see how much of commercialism prevails in both countries and how this level of consumerism affects the nation’s culture through the behavior and attitudes of its people.
When nations decided to participate in trade with other nations, the exchange of goods and information also facilitate in the intercontinental flow of culture which significantly altered the world (Ritzer& Malone, 2001). This event in history is broadly termed as globalization.
The definition of globalization varies depending on the context by which the author wishes to use the word. Too often than not, the term globalization is associated with the concept of commercialism. However, globalization does not only account to economic activities; rather it covers a wider perspective. Given its multidimensional facet, globalization includes cultural, social, political and ideological events (Prasad, 2006).
Consequently, the plethora of controversies and debates on the significant effects of globalization to culture and the society remains under researched. Controversies surround the effect of the globalized economy in the maintaining the integrity of cultural diversity (Acosta & Gonzalez, 2010). While many businesses take pride in their respective diversity protocols, there are still loopholes to this practice.
Companies hire employees of diverse background to comply with ethical standards and corporate social responsibility provisions that usually come in the territory of being globalized or globally competitive. However, in their compliance some might have overlooked the aspect that goes beyond the hiring process. This is particularly referring to the workplace environment that accounts to the bigger picture of global cultural diversity. This is a practice endorse by the concept of free trade.
While globalization supports economic stability and mobilization of knowledge, information and commodities, it also facilitates for the transmigration and the trafficking of contrabands and people. In fact, among the plethora of debates on the implication of globalization are social injustices, abuse, exploitation and trafficking. The sad truth to this is the fact that several people who are clueless of the law and their intrinsic human rights are often the subject of abuse and exploitation.
In the book entitled Not In Our Genes: Biology, Ideology and Human Nature, the authors narrates how globalization has caused the transmigration of people that comes with globalization (Lewontin, Rose and Kamin 1984). However, the authors suggest that the transmigration is not always intentional or voluntary. In fact, this when the transmigration has been in pursuit of exploitation, and this usually involves trafficking of people.
The dawning of liberalization and globalization opened many countries’ door on free trade. Dating back to as early as the barter system and the Spanish’s galleon trade, the concept of international trade and seeking market for one nation’s excess in production has been implemented. At present, countries from different parts of the globe now participate in trade, generating a portion of their revenues for this transactions. In fact with the proliferation and growing demand for trading, it eventually paved the way for the creation of organizations that shall overlook the best interest of it member countries that participate in international trade. One example of this organization is the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The World Trade Organization is an international group that is responsible in the implementation of rules concerning trade among nations. Founded in 1995, to officially replace the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, the WTO was institutionalized as per the provisions stated under the Marrakech Agreement. It provides a framework for trading regulations, negotiations and the formalization of trade among nations. Thus, with organizations like the WTO, trade liberalization and globalization has immensely improved the economy of many countries following the aftermath of the global economic crisis.
Aronowitz’s book entitled Human Trafficking, Human Misery: The Global Trade in Human Beings (Aronowitz, 2009) narrates how not a nation in the world escapes the impact caused by human trafficking. Nations are at the forefront in the drama of this widely controversial issue as a source, a transit or a destination. While governments redress the effort to address the trans-border trafficking, it continues to prevail because issues on poverty, hunger and unemployment exist and are drastically increasing. In addition, the book stresses on the purpose of human trafficking which include sexual exploitation, forced labor and even as laboratory guinea pigs. The book explores the criminal liability and accountability of countries that partake in this crime.
However, the concern that most critics have on the growth of the global economy and competitiveness is not brought about by fierce product or market competition but the increasing dominion that Asian drivers have. This dominion of Asian countries like Singapore, China and Japan in the global trade has completely paralyzed the development and participation of countries from the South particularly from the Sub-Saharan region, Latin America and Africa.
Although international organizations on trade like the WTO secure to protect every nation’s interest that participate in global trading, this has not been sufficient to implement that small-scale economies will be given equal participation in trade. Notwithstanding the fierce competition brought about by Asia’s machinations to capitalize on delivering products and services above and beyond quality, these countries also have the capacity to engage in bilateral agreements with other nations, which can strengthen international relations that could eventually be utilized to serve during trading transactions.
In 2010, a book on anthropology narrates about the challenges that our modern society faces in relation to the challenges of human survival (Haviland, McBride, &Prins, 2010). The authors tried to give a picture on the concept of human organ trafficking in one of its section. It emphasizes on the connection between culture and biology and what triggers people to use their bodies, specifically their organs as means of commodity. The authors also pointed out the role of globalization in the proliferation of the idea that anything and anyone can be sold in the market. This book leaves a very daunting image of the ill effects of globalization to people and to the society in general. It appears as a degradation of our moral and ethical persona.
Among the highly diverse social institution is a business sector. The major players in this industry are China and the United States. On both accounts, these two countries are exclusively identifies as the world’s melting pot aside from pioneering significant breakthroughs. Independently, each country has a rich cultural heritage that distinctly sets it apart from other nations in the world. China has a rich historical past, colored by the ancient Chinese Dynasties to make up centuries rule of the Chinese Civilization.
The geographical location of US and China may have contributed to the country difference in cultural background. Aside from the geographic location, both countries are governed by different teachings and influences.
China is more conservative. They are governed and influenced by the teachings of Confucius. The Chinese are particularly influenced by Confucius teachings relating to loyalty, relationships of families and friends, and the respect of elders. On the other hand, the Americans or rather their culture is more liberated. It must be remembered that American are freedom-loving people. They embrace the ideals of democracy, and this is something that governs their everyday transaction.
Considering the factors the shapes each culture—the Chinese and the Americans, it can be said that these have great effect on how each country does business. Both cultures have positive and negative implications on businesses. In the case of China, its conservative culture and the regards of the country to the teachings of Confucius translates to how they commit to work ethics. These values translate to the principle of collectivism which has both advantages and disadvantages. Collectivism in an organization suggests team work and strong work ethics (Twitchell, 2006). On the other hand, collectivism may also pull an economy down because liabilities are also shared under this principle.
In the case of the US or the American culture, they value individualism. They give due importance to the principle of democracy and allowing people to have a certain degree of freedom. This even relates to their personal affairs like in the family. At the age of emancipation, children are encouraged to live the house to be independent. Contrary to what is typically practiced in the Chinese culture, the Americans are highly independent and they encourage their children to practice the same. Innovations are also being introduced and encourage by the American culture. Innovation is a product of modernization and these results from a culture that welcomes the concepts and ideologies of commercialism and free trade (Farrell, 2006).
However, if there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. The cultural influences of both countries massively affect their lives. In the case of China, its closely-knit culture facilitate for communism to be freely embraced by this culture. The tendency for the Chinese culture to practice and embrace a monopolistic culture is brought about by its collective behavior. Monopoly is an important characteristic of a planned society. This only suggests that it limits the effect of competition in this particular society. A disadvantage of the American culture to its daily affairs is how its values tend to create a culture of consumerist. Although there is nothing wrong about consumerism, the effect of consumerism leads to people hoarding things and causing impulsive buying. It becomes a culture that considerably produces waste with no significant use.
Culture plays a significant role in the sense that can manipulate and control enterprise management (Mazur &Koda, 2006). For countries like China and the US, culture has been utilized to facilitate improvement. It also contributes to the countries individual status in the global economy suggesting economic competitiveness. From the global trade perspective, one can assume that culture has a significant contribution. Equity refers to getting what is due to the individual. This is in accordance to what is commensurate of the effort that one renders for the completion of a task (Green America, 2012). Some companies tend to take advantage of the worker’s condition to abuse them.
After due consideration of the cultural differences in both countries, it led to the conclusion that these differences gave each country their respectively unique characteristics that gave them leverage to conduct business from a global perspective. The Chinese cultures are collective, while the Americans are individualistic. Thus, the Chinese enterprises have been highly influenced by Confucius teachings relating through their values of family, loyalty, and respect. However positive the Chinese’ cultures and values, there are also disadvantages in their cultures particularly relating to in monopoly and infringement. As mentioned earlier, the American culture is individualistic. They manifest qualities of being fearless in relation to progress and developments. This is where the Americans drew their advantage. The Chinese can adapt this quality of the Americans. However, like any other culture, the American culture also has a disadvantage. This western culture is disintegrated and has to bear the ill effects of consumerism.
Overall, the lessons from Lewontin, Rose and Kamin (1984) about the relationship of personality and culture are quite a simple phenomenon of cause and effect. Whatever one does would instantly create a reaction on the other like a ripple effect. Society tends to shape people individually and collectively. The society does this by influencing people and motivating them to believe, behave and react in a certain way. In the same manner, society tends to create a culture. Depending on what the society perceived as important to their survival and to their hegemonic ideology, would be the same mentality that it will try to inculcate to people. Therefore, to put it more simply culture and personality necessarily has to compliment and supplement each other. Culture defines an individual or a nation’s personality. While it is not meant to generalize, it only means that is an important force in shaping an individual. It gives the person a distinct character because of how he or she was raised and what the individual has seen from the environment.
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