The Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter famously characterized capitalism as a process of “creative destruction.” While this phenomenon may help propel economic development, many people around the world are coming to question the impact that the worldwide expansion of the capitalist model is having on the most precious aspects of their identity.
For many people, their own cultural values are too important to put a price tag on, and no destruction can be considered “creative.”
On the other hand, globalization can also be a profoundly enriching process, opening minds to new ideas and experiences, and strengthening the finest universal values of humanity.
Many policy makers have not yet considered how the protection of local or indigenous cultural values conflicts with the forces of globalization. Many of the questions raised pertaining to cultural issues are new—and, as you will see, some of the ways that cultural issues are approached may be of questionable merit.
This Issue in Depth explores some of these especially sensitive and subtle issues involved in the globalization debate.
Readers of this Issue in Depth should try to think of cultural issues pertaining to globalization in terms of conflicting values, and decide for themselves what aspects of globalization may be positive, negative, or truly indifferent to cultures around the world.
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