Globalization is theoretically after popularizing the American culture across the globe as a fulfillment of what is suggested to be the key objective of the United States. The move is already evidenced by the various symbols that represent the culture in almost every country and are like the Hollywood movies, rapid growth of shopping malls, fast-food restaurants, and others. Thus, Americanization is already changing countries culturally, economically, politically, and socially. In China, the Americanization is found to have made a significant change on the country’s economy and culture more than it has affected its politics. Thus, China abandoned its traditional practices of building its economy and today, the country is making use of the western ideas and products to grow. Thus, in China, Americanization or globalization is partial as the country is still resisting changing its political system (Haozhou, 2012). Perhaps Americanizing China could be responsible for the country’s rise from economic slumber and rather than being angry for being asleep for centuries, the nation intends to have a peaceful awakening. Nevertheless, the future of the global economy is dependent on the continued influence of the United States in China. China has made a tremendous economic growth and this growth is about to match with the United States’ economic strength within the next decades. With this trend therefore, the relationship of the two countries is yet to be determined as the United States is after maintaining its superior power globally (Page & Xie, 2010). This paper narrows its focus on this topic to establish the limit of Americanizing the Chinese values. Based on the global objectives of each country, the paper will also determine what can be done to improve the cultural values of each country. What will be used to accomplish the goals of this paper includes- understanding how different cultures have different values and how values are improved at different cultural levels. The study ends with a conclusion that sums up the findings.
The growth of China is dependent on how the Americans view it and therefore, it is important to establish how the Americans appreciate the current growth of China and understand how it will affect their country economically. The interest placed here is determining if the United States perceives China as a friend, ally, enemy, or competitor. To begin with, the views of the American nationals matter because they are the ones that elect their leaders who act on the country’s foreign policies. China has taken close to three decades to rise from a poor and stagnant economy to its current position and this change according to economic analysts, is among those economic successes that have been greatest in history. The quick growth challenges the Americans creating a need to review its foreign policies (Page & Xie, 2010).
Santoro (2009) informs that the United States has a concern for China mostly in its political system that is found to violate the human rights of its nationals. China’s economic growth implies that the American market is flooded with the country’s products that are cheaper than the locally made products. Even though people may be moved to buy the products due to the tough economic times, purchasing the Chinese products is feared to promote the child labor practices of the country. Due to increased corruption, the national government has supported the production of poor quality products that may be harmful for human consumption. Even the increasing foreign direct investments in the country are having a way of suppressing the rights of the nationals. Thus, there is fear that supporting the country’s economic growth is misleading the government in suppressing the citizens’ basic freedom. Apart from the humanitarian perspective, the United States intends China to upgrade its business standards in order to have a fair business competition. China needs to review its labor and quality standards as the low standards it maintains is ruining the business environment globally. Another concern is that, the Chinese government is not keen to address environmental issues. For instance, the country is currently emitting carbon in larger amounts than the United States does and hence, China is responsible for most of the carbon pollution globally.
Another important concern is that the United States would be unwilling to share its superior power with a country that has an undesirable system of governance. That is to say, that China’s influence in other countries would contradict the political influence the United States has in those countries. Thus, China’s superior position is feared would create problems globally unless it changes its political system locally by respecting the rights of its nationals and being accountable for their welfare (Santoro, 2009).
Walker (2017) constructs that values guide people’s behaviors and provide the perspectives they have on the world. Values also enable people to define themselves as individuals and as a group. The values that people hold are those that are responsible for their normal practices. In the United States, the main value is that every human being is equal and this equality principle is found to guide the country’s political and social systems. Culture begins at the individual level when one interacts with others and therefore, each person has a cultural background that reflects the values of the group of people he/she belongs to and as the person continues to interact, his/her culture continues to change. For a group of people to be cohesive, members need to adapt to their common values and these shared values define their group. Applying this knowledge in the relationship the United States has with China, it can be constructed that there are values that need to be changed and shared and the shared ones are those that each of these countries would be proud to be identified with. Walker (2017) continues to note that a society also has values that define the membership its members need to have. Therefore, the global society that the United States and other western countries are striving to develop is one that is founded on appropriate values. Hence, the United States may continue putting more effort to influence the values that China upholds for the best interest of the country and the global society.
The western values and the universal values
Yang (2010) explores if China is ready to accept the values from the western countries, which are- equality, democracy, human rights, and liberty. In I993, the “Second Parliament of the World’s Religions” comprised of members from all over the world held a meeting in Chicago. The parliament passed a Declaration that had two major principles and were- every person should be humanely treated and a person should do others what he/she would want to be done. The by-products of these principles became- people upholding the culture of respecting life and therefore, choosing to lead peaceful lives and the society ensuring fair political, economic, and social order. More so, people becoming tolerant, honest thus promoting partnership activities, and remaining committed to observing human rights. Countries and organizations committed to the Declaration are claimed to be advocating for the world to have common values and ethics. The stage at which globalization has reached; it is acknowledged that the phenomenon cannot be reversed. Thus, as countries are being one, the more they have to deal with their differences and create shared values and this is the point at which China is said to have reached. China longs to rise economically peacefully and not to have confrontations and conflicts with other countries. When all countries accept to respect and observe the universal ethics and values, the world can remain peaceful and sustain it for a long time.
The value of democracy
In China however, there are those said to oppose universal values, as according to them, the values are western values being imposed on other countries. To them, they perceive that China is being forced to change its values especially its political (authoritative) system to adapt the western values (democracy) in the name of universal values. Democracy is articulated to be a term that originated from the western countries and the question is should all countries across the globe accept the system just as it is in its western form rather than having it perfected? Thus, in order for other countries like China to accept the value of democracy, the system needs to be changed and continually improved and should not be used together with the “western” reference. That is said to mean that, democracy cannot be completely objected because the western countries also have some weak points but rather understanding its concepts and improving it to make the world better for every country (Yang, 2010).
The democratic system that the United States applies is no better than the one used in Sweden says Yang (2010). Democracy is not a divided system according to its definition but a practice that employs the principle of equality and allowing everyone to have a say in the government. In the United States, democracy can be said to be weakened by the varying influences of the majority and minority groups where the former are heard more than the latter ones. Thus, the United States does not employ the true concept of democracy where everyone enjoys equal rights and opportunities. What is constructed from this is that the disadvantaged groups like the minority groups in the United States and those nationals in countries that have a one party system are those that need the universal values. Having universal values will also address the fears that the majority groups have when they let others rule, as they believe that they will be treated negatively (Yang, 2010).
The Americans believe that their values are drawn mostly from their Christian beliefs. The key values they hold are the following -they like to take control in effort to make things better. According to the Bible, a man is responsible to take care of what God has created and not vice versa and therefore, everyone should have an individual control to make things that are around him/her better. In line with this also, individualism is upheld and therefore, people first prioritize on their own interests. More so, the Americans believe that human beings are high achievers and therefore, they do not believe that there is anything on earth that can stop anyone from realizing his/her dreams. Thus, change in America is acceptable if and only if it brings improvement, development, growth, and progress. Time to the Americans is a crucial substance. They like doing things on time and therefore, they strictly follow their schedules. Equality is another value that is cherished by many as taught in the Bible. However, the Americans seem to have a different opinion how to make what is taught become a reality. The Americans prefer being viewed as individuals and not as groups and therefore, they are not keen on succeeding as a group but as individuals. Out of being highly individualistic, Americans appreciate competition and being recognized for what they have personally achieved. The other key value in the United States is privacy, which is a satisfying factor for all people. In regards to future orientation, the Americans are claimed to aspire to have a brighter future and therefore, they become less concerned about the past and the present. In regards to the future, the Americans believe that the future can only be better if the human nature is improvable because human nature is not evil but good. The Americans are action oriented, are more informal in their behaviors, are honest, and open, are realistic, and appreciate wealth acquisition as a reward of a person’s hard work (Walker, 2017; UMSL, 2013).
How the United States’ cultural values affects how the country does business
The United States is claimed to make use of its business practices to Americanize the entire world. Multinational firms have an effect on their hosts’ local cultures. Hence, the American multinational companies spread in most parts of the world and globalization itself are the ones that have created a room for the country’s values to dominate globally. The cultural change is facilitated by the decisions consumers make in regards to consuming what is foreign to them. Statistically, it is evident that most consumers across the globe have preferred American products and therefore, the size of the United States has become larger making its culture become more dominant. With this statistics, companies across the globe have continued to take advantage of the American market since it comprises of about 300million people by manufacturing products that target the market. By doing this, the American culture becomes more reinforced. The United States is a wealthy country and the impact it can have on the world is significant. Only the European Union can challenge it. Nevertheless, the objective of the United States to Americanize the world is not an easy approach since there are other countries that have an influence on the culture that should be adapted globally. Thus, the United States stands to accepts changes that other foreign cultures will demand it make (Hummel, 2012).
According to Walker (2017), the Americans are likely to do business with foreigners who are familiar with their ways of doing business and respecting them. More so, the Americans expect foreigners to focus on beginning business and not taking time to build relationships. In this regard, the Americans expect the foreigners to understand what their interest is and not be offended. In that, to them, time is money and it should be spent in a valuable manner. In this regard, the Chinese people may be weak since they focus more on relationship building. Where the Chinese may find it easy to work with Americans is being punctual to their appointments but may be unable to meet agreed deadlines. Communication may be a problem for the Chinese because the Americans are open, and mean what they say verbally and non-verbally who do the opposite. The Americans develop trust in their business partners based on their work performance unlike the Chinese who build trust on the relationships they build with their partners in the long-term.
Cultural values are not fixed and therefore, they can be adjusted as people continue to interact with different groups of people. The United States is not perfect in the values it holds and therefore, it should be ready to be corrected in those areas where it is weak. China also is ready to make changes in its values but not to adopt those being imposed on it and those which have not be improved to perfection. The values that China holds are completely opposite to those desired universally and therefore, just as it has allowed social and economic changes; it should allow changes in its political systems. The changes are for the best interest of the nationals and other countries across the globe. The United States seems to be pulled by both selfish interests and humanitarian needs and it should reduce its selfish side to reduce the conflicts it has with other countries. Thus, both countries need to change their values in regards to democracy, equality, liberty, and human rights (Walker, 2017).
China and the United States seem to hold a lot on those values they need to change and are assuming that the differences are unchangeable for their own selfish reasons. The two countries need to make changes in reference to the universal values the other countries are advocating for the world to have to make it a better place for all. That means, neither of the two countries is adapting to the other country’s culture but each having the ability to overcome other cultural barriers present in other countries (Walker, 2017).
Borrowing from what Walker (2017) writes about globalization, it can be agreed that globalization is more than countries making economic evolutions since; there are changes that can take place socially, culturally, and politically. Anti-globalization movements some of which- violate human rights, promote child labor, ignore good environmental management practices, and others challenge globalization. China is suggested to have some of these movements and that is why it is still struggling to be fully globalized. The United States is perceived to play an important part in the spread of globalization across the globe because; the phenomenon is associated with many characteristics that reflect the country’s culture. Human rights and the use of the English Language are some of the characteristics. China is found to be like France that resents the phenomenon because of its association with the United States. However, for China to realize its global vision, it needs to make certain improvements, which are in the area of cultural competence. Under this, the country needs to have an open attitude by avoiding making hasty judgments about globalization. If the country is patient enough, it can realize that the United States is not rigid but makes changes where it is demanded to in effort to realize its global vision. Another effort that China needs to make is to establish how its beliefs, attitudes, and values affect its relationship with other countries especially the United States that influence its global vision. In this regard, the country needs to take note of the cultural preferences of these countries, the values they are striving to express, and their expectations from the relationship they have with it. Hence, China will be able to determine what is disconnecting it from others and establish the common ground that all can have.
One of the main objectives of this paper was to establish the limit of Americanizing the Chinese values. Americanization has been of great value to China as it awakened the country economically and socially. However, the main goal of the process is to change China’s political values, which violate basic human rights and promote inequality. Despite the fact that the United States values are better than those of China are, they are not suitable to make China become a desirable leader globally. The United States does not demonstrate the true concept of democracy as its society still promotes inequality and allows some degree of human rights violation. All countries across the globe are advocating for universal values and ethics that will make the global society beneficial to all and peaceful in the long-term and China is willing to make the required changes. China is not after adapting to imperfect values but those that are true and are continually improved to become perfect. The values are those that agree with the universal values. Thus, the United States and China need to change their values to match the universal ones in order to meet their global objectives and these values are- equality, human rights, liberty, and democracy. What has been gathered from this paper also demonstrates the importance of cultural competence. In that, these skills do not only apply to individuals but also to organizations and countries as well. From the study, it seems that China can improve its relationship with the United States by addressing its weak points in regards to cultural competence. China is weak in the following aspects- open-attitude, self-awareness, and other-awareness. France can also be said to have the same weaknesses and such weaknesses are those that challenge the efforts of globalization. The findings of this study support the argument that the influence of the United States on globalization has been exaggerated making countries that have weak cultural competence fear the phenomenon.
Haozhou, P. (2012). From “ping-pong diplomacy” to “hoop diplomacy”: Yao Ming, globalization, and the cultural politics of U.S.-China Relations. Ann Arbor: ProQuest.
Hummel, D. P. (2012). Understanding the importance of culture in global business. Retrieved< http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/profit/archives/opinion/050312-dhummel-1614961.html>.
Page, B. I. & Xie, T. (2010). Living with the dragon: How the American public views the rise of China: The United States and China. New York: Columbia University Press.
Santoro, M. A. (2009). China 2020: How western business can- and should- influence social and political change in the coming decade. New York: Cornell University Press.
UMSL (2013). Key American values. Retrievedhttp://www.umsl.edu/~intelstu/Admitted%20Students/Visitor%20Handbook/keyvalues.html.
Walker (2017). Doing business internationally 2nd ed.: Global environment: The cultural orientations model. New York: McGraw-Hill Education
Yang, H. (2010). Universal values and Chinese traditional ethics. Journal of International Business Ethics, 3(1), 81-90.
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