Imperialism may be regarded as a situation where a nation exerts a lot of effort to influence and dominate other countries and mostly politically and economically. Cultural imperialism on the other hand is considered as the situation where the western countries dominate the media worldwide and in the process exert a lot of influences on the cultures of the developing nations that in turn conform to theirs. Imperialism has both negative and positive consequences to both the donor and recipient nations.
One of greatest advantage of the imperialism to the donor nations which are generally the western nations is its success to influence the cultures and views of the residents in the third world nations. They thus end up embracing foreign cultures since they perceive them as being more superior to theirs.
This process has necessitated the growth and expansion of the western firms and in particular American companies. The advancement of technology and especially the Information Technology (IT) has greatly boosted the concept of American cultural imperialism as a result of the enhanced integration that is associated with the advanced IT that greatly enhances globalization through e-commerce.
The high spread of the American culture in many parts of the world has become an issue of concerns to many nations as is sometime being taken as a modern form of colonialism. The American imperialism is characterized by an increased consumption of American products and the dominance of the American culture worldwide.
Many nations are complaining because of the domineering aspect of the American culture. Many nations associate American cultural imperialism as a key factor that has greatly contributed in eroding their native values and traditions. The aspect of imperialism is not a new phenomenon in the 21st century; Imperialism has been in existence since the time of the Roman emperor and also the 19th century during the period of European colonization.
The cause of the great worry on the American cultural imperialism is the impact in which it is spreading. The American culture imperialism has seen widespread proliferation of the U.S. products across the globe. Despite the complain from some nations on the domineering aspect of the American culture, some nations such as Canada are now happier due to the American culture imperialism as it has caused them more good than harm (Culture and Globalization, 2011).
The concept of the use of media to promote imperialism has been an issue of controversial for long. It has been addressed by various scholars among them Latin American thinkers who included Tomlinson who argued that globalization is a term that is used to refer to the latest phase to a process that has a long history.
He considered the concept as a process that is aimed on propagating western cultures where the developed nations dominate all the other cultures. There is a perception that the media imperialism believe that the western countries apart from controlling the international media trade , also use the same media to convey their cultures, economic values and especially capitalism and consumerism to majority of the third world countries.
According to the renowned Herbert Schiller, the idea of cultural imperialism represents the manner in which society is transformed into the modern global system. To realize this objective, the western countries use the mechanism of pressurizing, forcing and occasionally bribing in order to change the social institutions so that to conform to those of the western nations and also promote their values.
The Cultural Imperialism model depicts that the worldwide culture is predominately American culture. He considers the global culture as being conquered by graphic and visual arts such that he considers it having been greatly influenced by the current televisions, films, images and methods of advertisement (Culture and Globalization, 2011).
The popularity of the United States of America books, music and films in many countries across the global has raised a lot of interest to many diverse groups of people ranging from politicians, economists and academicians. There have also been diverse views about the impact of globalization of American culture to foreign cultures.
There is a great concern of whether the propagation of American goods in these countries is causing any influence on the domestic or international policies of these nations. Similarly, there is also a worry of whether the Proliferation of the American goods to these nations and especially American films is a threat to the traditions and values of the indigenous people.
There are many benefits that are associated with the phenomenon of globalization of both the production and distribution of goods and services. One most important aspect of globalization is its ability to give individuals access to products/services that they do not produce.
In addition, some scholars argue against globalization as it creates a challenge in consumption of locally produced goods because of availability of foreign goods at a lower cost. Some countries are successful in producing their products at a lower cost due to their advanced technology, cheap labor, energy and other factors of productions.
This helps them to sell their produce at reduced prices. Thus, availability of such commodities can cause a lot of harm to local companies that are not able to lower their cost of their goods as a result of high cost of production. Globalization also is noted to enhance international trade and in particular in cultural products/services such as TV productions, soaps and operas, music among others.
The increase of cultural trade is associated with introducing all societies to foreign cultures which have in turn enhanced mutual cooperation and peace in the diverse global society. There is a perception that exposure to the foreign culture and products is associated with changing the local cultures, traditions and values adversely. This can result to a society undermining its own cultural identity
The issue of the American cultural imperialism is a significant issue under consideration. A study conducted by UNESCO revealed that there is a high rise in the growth of cultural trade. The film trade recorded a rise from $ 47.8 billion by 1980 to a high of $ 213.7 billion in 1997.
This represents a great expansion in demand and sale of cultural goods and especially games, films and sporting goods. The united States of America have realized the demand of these products and thus have greatly invested in this area to become the leading export of culture trade and especially the films.
According to the UNESCO findings, US has become the dominant country in the production and sale of cultural goods globally and mostly in the audiovisual sector. 85% of all the movies that are sold globally are produced in Hollywood. Surprisingly, even in the Europe the U.S. movies are the one that dominate the market.
The study reveals that 80% of the movies that are watched in Europe originate from Hollywood. This is surprisingly of the cultural dominance of the American culture worldwide even in Europe. This is despite U.S being not the leading in film production as it is currently ranked the fourth largest. The three leading film producing countries in the worlds are China, India and Philippines.
The dominance of the United States of America films worldwide has thus become a controversial issue since majority of the nations are complaining that their culture is under siege due to the cotemporary increase in the American culture as a result of increased globalization supported by current advancement in Information Technology.
The reason behind the extensive adaption of the American culture and especially the American movies and TV productions is as a result of the market mechanism the U.S. has established to retain a competitive advantage over its rival countries such as India and China, but not the presumed assumptions about its conspiracy to propagate capitalism agenda. The well established American competitive edge has enhanced the sale of American cultural products worldwide.
The competitive advantages of the American products have ensured them being universally accepted worldwide and especially the American films thus dominating the market globally. The trade has also experienced some challenges such as an increase in piracy and bootlegging of the American films. This also explains why the high adaption of American movies is as a result their universal appeal worldwide, but not due to the presumed conspiracy of capitalism (Rauschenberger, 2003).
The American movies, music and other TV productions such as soap operas and sitcom enjoy the inherent advantage of being produced in America. This is because U.S. is among the countries that are leading worldwide both in technology and having the largest economy with a per capital GDP of approximately $ 37,600.
The capitalism of the American trade has also benefited their film industry greatly as it has established a competitive market economy where private individuals and firms make most of their business decisions with very minimal interference from the government in comparison to other films from other areas such as Europe or Asia that have ventured in the same industry.
American films are more flexible in their day-to-day operations such as have more flexibility in decision making processes such as; expansions lay off surplus and in the development of new products.
In addition, the American films have more advantage in being a bit ahead in the technology. The United States are regarded as the leading in the development of internet. The United States of America are thus leading in the internet development that has also enabled them become the leading in country e-commerce which greatly enhances the propagation of their products and especially in the film industry.
Thus, the U.S. cultural industry has propagated that much due to the prevailing conditions that are enjoyed by American films. The U.S. films enjoy a larger production budget, strong home returns, greater flexibility and a more advanced technology. The other factor that has enhanced the propagation of the American imperialism industry is the fact that these films are produced in English language which is among the commonly spoken language worldwide (Rauschenberger, 2003).
As earlier outlined, globalization allows firms to distribute American cultural products that range from films, books and music worldwide. The spread of these products goes hand in hand with the propagation of American culture.
To Americans a cultural industry is treated like any other industry and brings the country a lot of revenue in the form of local and foreign sales. For Canadians, cultural industries are not treated like other industries. In addition to bringing the nation a lot of returns, they create products that are responsible for the fundamental survival of the Canadian culture.
The globalization has seen countries like Canada being adversely affected by the American cultures. This is because Canada is one of the greatest consumers of the American products. In addition, the close relation that exists between America and Canada has greatly contributed to the high America cultural imperialism of the Canadians (Leonard, 2001).
Recently there have been an increased number of television productions that feature American films worldwide. Many United States companies have expanded outside the United States and particularly in Canada.
A study carried out between 1990 and 1998 revealed that the number of American films and television productions that were being produced outside U.S. has almost doubled from 14 percent to 27 percent. The same study showed that the number of U.S television films that were being produced in Canada had increased from 122 to 154.
The total value of the television productions and films amplified to over $ 3.5 billion in 1999.The major destination of the U.S. film and television productions are Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom and Australia. These countries are believed to share four characteristics that greatly boosts cross border trade and cooperation. The four aspects they share all share include; all speak English language, have very competent workforce, offer a range of incentive programs to the film sector and lastly all possess a fast growing film industry.
Despite these similar traits, Canada is by far the largest recipient of U.S. film productions. The estimated value of U.S productions in Canada is about US$ 573 million to US$ 2.24 billion by 1998. The film productions in Canada have currently greatly increased and this is closely linked with the U.S. film productions. The film and television productions in Canada have increased to as much as US$ 2.4 billion in 1999.
The industry is believed to create approximately 100,000 direct jobs in Canada alone with majority of them believed to be U.S productions. Canada has also benefited from the U.S films in enhancing its domestic film productions based greatly from the doings of the U.S film makers (Leonard, 2001).
The presence of the American films industries as identified there above have greatly assisted Canada in creation of job opportunities for its citizens. There are many films industries that have expanded their operations from America to Canada. These multinational companies have greatly boosted the Canadian economy greatly.
In addition to the job creation, they have also contributed in building the Canadian economy by the taxes they pay to the Canada government. This revenue has in turn been used by the Canada government to develop other sectors such as Canadian healthcare facilities, education and infrastructure.
These American films industries that operate in Canada has greatly enhanced the growth and development of Canadian films industries. They have done so by empowering the Canadians monetary through offering them employment opportunities. Through the money they receive as compensation for working for the American films industries located in Canada, many Canadian have saved these money and started their own film industry.
By working for these multinational companies, the Canadians have received a very important opportunities to learn from the Americans their sophisticated methods of films and TV productions. This has been a great step for the Canadian films’ since it has enabled their films productions to sell very well both locally and internationally (Leonard, 2001).
The America cultural imperialism has highly associated with eroding the values, cultures and traditions of many societies globally. There has been many complain worldwide to those that perceive the Americanization as a new form of colonization.
Such nations or individuals consider the America cultural imperialism as a mechanism that is designed by the U.S. to propagate their agenda of capitalism and individualism. Globalization has been noted to greatly boost the America cultural imperialism through the widespread adoption of e-commerce and particularly in the cultural trade.
Despite this outcry, there are some countries that have greatly benefited from America cultural imperialism. Canada is a good example of such a country that has greatly benefited from the Americanization phenomenon. The cultural trade and in particular the U.S film industries located in Canada have boosted the Canadian economy greatly through taxes paid to the government or salaries paid to Canadians employees and as a consequence of technology transfer among others.
Culture and Globalization. (30 September, 2011). Retrieved 25 July 011 from http://www.globalization101.org/uploads/File/Culture/cultall2010.pdf
Leonard, B. (2001). Migration of U.S. Film and Television Production: The Impact of Runaways on Workers and Small Business in the U.S. Film Industry. New York: Prentice Hall.
Rauschenberger, E. (2003). Examining the Mechanisms Behind U.S. Domination of the Global Cultural Trade. Retrieved 25 July, 2011 from http://politics.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/4600/rauschenberger_thesis.pdf