Will Economic Globalization Result in Cultural Product Homogenization, in Theory and Practice? (pages 405-418)

Todd J. Barry

ABSTRACT: Globalization is resulting in complex decisions by businesses as to where and what to produce, while free trade is resulting in a greater menu of choices for consumers, often with the blending of products and goods from various cultures, called ‘glocalization.’ This paper reviews the theories and practices behind these current happenings, which are each economic, politicaleconomic, institutional, and sociological, first by looking at the supply side of why certain countries produce the goods that they do, and then at the demand side, why consumers have particular, cultural tastes and preferences for goods. It also proffers theories to explain firm location and that of intra-industry trade. This occus when countries trade similar products rather than differentiating, as economic theory would suggest. After reviewing the literature, through numerous examples of political-economy and culture, it argues somewhat normatively that differences in culture and goods are a strength to the world community, and that globalization in the end will not likely result in a singular global culture with a uniformity of exactly identical economic goods anytime in the near future

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