In discussing cultural accommodations and market conditions, it was demonstrated that cultural diversity fuels the market. The more diverse the population, the more specific the demand for niche marketing, all of which translates to more capital flowing through the system.
From this account of diversity and accommodation, it was then suggested that cultural accommodations are reserved for those groups that have demonstrated their economic viability, suggesting that cultural accommodation arises as a consequence of economic contribution rather than as a consequence of heightened moral awareness.
Thus, in accounting for the historical increase of tolerance throughout Americana, one must take note of how such levels of tolerance were attained. Since tolerance is a consequence of cultural accommodation, and cultural accommodation a consequence of a group’s economic viability, the basis of tolerance, at least within capitalism, is itself rooted in capital.
Cultural groups are tolerated insofar as they ultimately contribute to the expansion of capital. Thus, those unable to make such economic contributions have little if any platform for articulating their grievances. Granted, their grievances will be heard, but the ability to affect change is itself grounded in capital.
Take, for example, President Obama’s revolutionary campaign finance machine during the 2008 Presidential Election. President Obama was able to solicit small donations from millions of contributors directly through their email inbox. His ability to affect change was intimately tied to his campaign’s ability to generate capital. The more capital he was able to generate, the more accessible his message became.
What both he and his campaign administrators understood, better than anyone in the history of U.S. politics, is that convenience is the ultimate source of power within a capitalistic economic model. Were he and his campaign managers to solicit contributions by having constituents mail in checks, he would not have approximated the amount of money he actually raised.
In capitalism, convenience is power. To suggest that the machine is built on impulse speaks more to the psychological aspects of capitalism, which I am not qualified to discuss. But in understanding the ease with which consumers are able to purchase things they are emotionally attached to suggests that the main obstacle in acquiring capital is the method with which their money is procured. The easiest method of procuring capital results from its digitization.
Returning, then, to the notion of cultural accommodation, since innovation and niches may be tailored to satisfy particular demographic needs, and since there are always multiple manufactures producing similar products, there will invariably be redundancies within the market, namely, product redundancies.
Generally speaking, product redundancies support competition, and competition ensures that monopolies are not established. With respect to an analysis of Americana, however, knowing that redundancies are an inherent aspect of the system, consumers expect both variety and convenience, two key elements that will be discussed in greater detail. Not only do consumers have an understanding of these expectations, corporations do as well.
For example, an industrious family opens a deli shop in their community. Their business is supported by the sandwiches they make and consumers have recognized that this location is an ideal location for a sandwich shop. The business thrives, which motivates others to enter the market, but to be competitive they offer specialty items and hard to find meats and cheeses, thereby catering to an even more specialized niche market.
The more businesses that enter the market, the more specialized the market becomes. The more specialized the market becomes, the more convenient it is for the consumer because there are more sandwich shops to choose from.
A major sandwich corporation has also taken notice. Though it cannot possibly provide the level of specialization that currently exists within the community, shareholders understand that the power of their advertising dollar, coupled with a well-established market and cheaper sandwich prices, will ultimately factor in their favor.
A good businessperson would franchise a corporate sandwich shop in the same location where mom-and-pop shops have been for years. Consumers have already associated these locations as those where sandwiches can be purchased, and with prices substantially lower than the specialty shop, it is only a matter of time before they all go out of business.
Culturally speaking, however, what has happened is far more ominous than it may seem. It is not merely that these businesses have been forced out of the market or that their ingenuity in establishing and sustaining the market has been absorbed by billion dollar conglomerates with which they could never fairly compete. The true cultural devastation results from a reduction in specialty shops (diversity) and a proliferation of franchise shops (uniformity).
Culturally, then, as major corporations take over mom-and-pop shops, they essentially rob the surrounding community of its cultural specificities and specialized products and services, which established the market in the first place. The community becomes more uniform. It becomes a template with which all communities may be constructed, thereby “franchising communities.”
In nearly every strip mall in the United States of America there is bound to be a Chinese restaurant, a sandwich shop, a dry cleaner, a pizza shop, and a video store. Three out of five of these shops will be retail franchise stores, which leads me to believe that it is only a matter of time before America’s next household name will be a company franchising dry cleaning.
The idea of franchising communities, of incentivising corporate expansion through neighborhood expansion is easily recognizable in Florida. As a Floridian I have noticed this trend over the years. To no surprise, Florida also leads the nation in foreclosures, because when business expansion ceases, so too does the expansion of the neighborhood.Powered by Sidelines