Local culture serves as more than just color for tourists

“When you strip people’s homes of their distinctiveness — either by homogenizing them or by destroying them environmentally — you undermine not only their culture but also social cohesion. Culture, at its best, can be one of the most powerful forms of voluntary restraint in human behavior. It gives life structure and meaning. It sanctions a whole set of habits, behavioral constraints, expectations and traditions that pattern life and hold societies together at their core. When unrestrained globalization uproots cultures and environments, it destroys the necessary underlying fabric of communal life.

“And this brings up back to sustainable globalization. You cannot build an emerging society — which is so essential for dealing with the globalization system — if you are simultaneously destroying the cultural foundations that cement your society and give it the self-confidence and cohesion to interact properly with the world. That is why my concern for developing countries that get stream-rolled by globalization goes beyond a narrow preoccupation with wanting them to remain colorful places that we can all enjoy as tourists. My concern is that without environment there is no sustainable culture and without a sustainable culture there is not sustainable community and without a sustainable community there is no sustainable globalization.”
–Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree (2000)

Posted by | Comments Off on Local culture serves as more than just color for tourists  | April 22, 2004
Category: General

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