The myth of globalization lives on in the minds of business people only (the economic miracle, open markets etc.) It’s all a bunch of hooey to justify the outsourcing of jobs and screwing the most profit out of a market place as possible.
When the major player in the so called free market is as isolationist minded as the current American Administration it is reflected in the attitudes of their people. With a foreign policy based on our way is the only way it makes it hard for anything new or different to penetrate.
Whether trade goods, raw materials, or intellectual ideas, it makes no difference. Goods and material are subjected to tariffs and other protectionist policies in contradiction of the aims of freer trade. Cultural items either are rejected out of hand or adapted to be more “American.” The case of two foreign authors, one famous and one not so, is a prime example of the cultural isolationism currently existing in the United States.
I recently wrote a review of a wonderful book by the Indian author Ashok Banker. He is in the midst of publishing an adaptation of a 3,000 year old epic Indian saga called the Ramayana. The tale has been used as a teaching tool for countless generations through the exemplary attitudes and behaviour of the central character Prince Rama. Through him concepts and philosophies central to “a good person” are explored and described.
In a comment Ashok posted on his web site in response to my review, he said that he was glad that I, a westerner, was able to understand the precepts espoused in the story. He had already lost one publisher in America who, after publishing the first book of the series, refused the rest on the grounds that the public would be unwilling to try and understand the ideas expressed in his books. His British publisher has recently taken on the responsibility for publishing the rest of the series.
This didn’t come as too much of a surprise to me. He is not the first author whose work has either been rejected, or been considered too “foreign” for an American audience.
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books have to be translated into American. All of those “difficult” to understand British figures of speech and sayings! Instead of a character “doing her nut” she gets angry, or being “barking,” they’re crazy. Now that may not seem like much, but to me it’s indicative of a culture that refuses to make the effort to understand the differences that give distinctiveness to a people.
In Canada, we have what we call a distinct society in Quebec. They have a culture and language that differs from the rest of the country, French. Even their civil law code is different from other provinces. Various provisions in Federal Provincial relationships have been developed to ensure the protection of that uniqueness.
Although it can be at times a serious bone of contention it is also one of the things that many of us celebrate. A diversity of cultures makes for a far more interesting country. Instead of trying to assimilate new peoples into our country, we encourage them to retain pride in where they come from, recognizing that each new flavour enriches us all.
The United States has always been a melting pot, where everybody has been encouraged, by one means or another, to be Americanized as quickly as possible. By cutting off the roots of their people, they’ve made a potage of blandness which discourages diversity. In their ego, they believe that after less then 300 years in existence they have created the ultimate in civilizations. When one considers that other countries have evolved traditions and cultures over the course of a thousand years plus, this claim becomes even more ridiculous.
But so firm are they in this belief that they have no hesitation in imposing their will in as many ways as possible on the world. Whether it’s a military invasion, the imposition of anti-family planning clauses in aid packages, or simply the exporting of mass culture, they continually attempt to make the world more in their image.
What I wonder most of all is what are they so afraid of? What scares them so much about other people’s way of thinking that they feel the need to change them? How is it possible that a country founded upon principles of freedom has fallen so much under the spell of repression.
Although Georgie boy has done nothing to discourage this behaviour, this can’t just be laid at his feet. Maybe it comes about due to the insecurity of being the new kid on the block and they’re just trying too hard. But like any one who tries too hard to impress, they end up just coming across as pushy and mean.
I wish they as a country could take the time to realize how far they have come, and try to see themselves in context of the world, rather then being the world. They desperately need to get their house in order, millions of people without access to medical attention or homes, a deficit in the trillions, and massive discontent and apathy among the young.
They have too many people who believe they have no future and they are a powder keg waiting to explode. Instead of manipulating people into believing what they want them to believe, governments should be asking the people what they need for their lives to be better.
Maybe some of you think I’m reading too much into the rejection of a book, or the re-editing of another, but those are symptoms of a society that does not want to expand their horizons beyond the familiar. The United States of America has the potential to stand as a beacon for liberty that could illuminate the whole world. It is such a shame to see them hiding their light under the bushel of isolationism and xenophobia.