When one looks at the North America and Southeast Asia, there are various unique things that these two continents display that create incessant curiosity. An ambitious person will therefore start to explore these two regions and try to come up with something that will quench their inquisitiveness. In this paper, this study will compare and contrast North America and Southeast Asia and particularly look at the cultural differences and similarities of their populations. As the paper will demonstrate, people of these regions exhibit cultures that in some cases are similar and in others different. In both cultures it can be observed that people like independence or freedom and both spend heavily on entertainment. It is interesting that while North Americans want to do things at the exact stipulated time and place, Southeast Asians will do things at any time; the most important thing for Asians is that work is done. In other words, North Americans and Southeast Asians are time oriented and work oriented respectively.
These two regions differ in some physical and demographic aspects. North America covers an area of about 24.7 million square kilometers. It has twenty three states with an approximated population of 528.7 million. This means that its population density is 23 persons per a square kilometer. Southeast Asia is smaller than North America with an area of about 4.5 million square kilometers. Southeast Asia is more densely populated, with a population density of 136 persons per a square kilometer. North America has a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of over $100,000 whereas Southeast Asia has a per capita GDP of less than $4,000 (Kim, 98-99). Economically, these two regions have similarities and differences. The treaties, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were formed in these regions to promote economic growth. I am interested in writing about culture and economy since they appear intertwined and the roles they play in the betterment of the world cannot be overemphasized.
Cultural nationalism and economic convergence
There is a very diverse culture in Southeast Asia consisting of Arabs, Chinese and Indians while in North America there is a distinct culture. North America consists of Caucasians, blacks and Mestizos. Generally there are ways that Asians and Americans behave and from this research study, the findings are fascinating. The study will look at their inclinations especially in doing things.
North Americans differ from Asians in some ways. The latter are not inclined to what will happen as a result of what they are doing currently while the Americans are inclined to possible crisis in future. Asians are focused more on what is happening now rather than what will happen. Therefore Americans are better prepared and can avoid likely threats through contemplating about the outcomes (Rowntree, 124-125). However, it does not mean Asians are disadvantageous but since they are exploratory and focus on work underway, they always find a way out in case of an emergency. Another difference is that whereas North Americans are inclined to time, Asians are inclined to events. An American is timely while an Asian is not. An American wants to do things at the exact stipulated time and place: being time oriented. An American wants to a certain extent of work within a certain time limit while an Asian will work at their pace to finish regardless of how much time is consumed. This difference has diminished though because of the degree of interaction between Americans and Asians.
In both regions, people struggle for independence. Liberty is critical in North America. History has it that America strove hard for autonomy. Southeast Asian countries also were colonized but struggled for freedom. Everyone regardless of the race whether Asian or American is pursuing freedom. No one wants to be discriminated or abused (Kim, 98-99). This desire for independence has resulted in independent countries in both North America and Southeast Asia. Another situation where Asians and Americans match is in entertainment; both spend time, money and energy in entertainment. What only differs is the kind and value of entertainment one seeks because preferences are different to different cultures.
It is crucial that we understand the similarities and differences between the two cultures so as we can appreciate each other. It takes time before one is aware of the differences and similarities between any two cultures and great sacrifices have to be made. One has to meet conflicts with various individuals to finally appreciate each other’s values and culture. The utmost result of appreciating one another’s culture is living in peace and unity in the world and making it a healthy place to live (Rowntree, 124-125).
Culture progress and economic advancement apparently are correlated. Both regions have trade agreements, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). NAFTA began working in 1994 by making trade free. Through free trade, competitiveness and wealth has increased, families, manufacturers, farmers, workers and consumers have got the real benefits of trade. This treaty involves Canada, North America and Mexico. Before it was created and signed, countries used to impose tariffs on other partner countries on imported goods. NAFTA is paramount as it joins the nations; United States of America, Canada and Mexico and cultures which bring about cultural nationalism.
ASEAN on the other hand was instituted and signed in 1967. Other countries joined the agreement in 1997 like Laos and Cambodia. They came together in order to speed up economic development, cultural advancement and social headway by promoting conjoint respect and peace among all the countries involved. These treaties differ in that NAFTA considers trade zones while ASEAN treaty allows countries to solve things on their own peacefully and independently. They also differ because NAFTA focuses more on economic progress while ASEAN focuses both on economic advancement and cultural progress (Rowntree, 124-125). The NAFTA was established to alleviate the unfair trade between the United States and Mexico while ASEAN was set up to foster peace and fortify Southeastern Asian countries. And eventually, the fact that the NAFTA and ASEAN treaties are based in North American nations And Southeast Asian countries respectively makes the treaties to differ greatly.
Both trade agreements are similar as they benefit the countries involved. NAFTA and ASEAN both want an improved country. They both focus on economic development in the countries involved. They both have the aim of settling things peacefully and that is why NAFTA is aimed at purging inequitable trade by removing excessive trade tariffs (Kim, 98-99). ASEAN on the other hand purpose to see concerns settled calmly and autonomously. Albeit the two treaties being very different, their intention is similar: their goal is the country to become better and benefit.
North America and Southeast Asia has got the differences and similarities concerning their environments. North America and Southeast Asia have got monsoon rains that are very important to the cultures of agriculture and economies. In these continents, people have sown and harvested crops and bred livestock and planned the outdoor activities based on the calendar of arrival and departure of monsoon rains. In North America, the arrival of summer monsoon rainfall is good news since it replenishes waterways besides providing a critical supply of water for agriculture and other economic activities. In Southeast Asia, there are weak monsoon winds which cause a drought to develop leaving fields and waterways dry and parched. North America also experience extreme weather conditions associated with monsoons like floods. The two continents have dug deep wells to enable them get to water table in order to sustain agriculture.
The average global surface air temperature is estimated to be increasing especially in the North America and Asian continents. This increase is estimated to be between 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius. The areas of high latitude especially the north America, during winter season, warm more rapidly than the Southeast Asia. The warming in Southeast Asia is less than it is expected in comparison with North America both in summer and partly in winter. This is because of difference in latitudes and the measures that are supposed to control greenhouse effect. These measures are emphasized in Southeast Asia than in North America.
I have touched on cultures of North America and Southeast Asia, their differences and similarities. It is good to emphasize that understanding the differences between the two cultures will enable us to appreciate each other and live at peace with each other. This makes the world a better place to be in.
I have also written about trade agreements, NAFTA and ASEAN. They both correlate and diverge from each other. The treaties’ goal is to work out matters serenely and freely in differing sides of the world and from different things. ASEAN utilizes it in upgrading countries as NAFTA utilizes it to advance trade. These trade agreements are both imperative in benefitting the world to become an improved place.
H. J. de Blij, Peter O. Muller, Jan Nijman. The World Today: Concepts and regions in geography. John Wiley and Sons, 2010.
Kim, Vintage. "Orientation of Western and Asian people." Just another word press (2009).
Shirley, Duong; ASEAN & NAFTA treaty COMPARE & CONTRAST. Retrieved on 29th October 2013: From http://myclass.mypanthers.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=979
Rowntree, Lester. Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2014. Print.