View Full Version : The way the world thinks about America...
Thu, 5th Dec '02, 11:12pm
Seen a lot of this here, recently saw some polling data done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The world is schizophrenic.
I like stats, take em for what they are.
First, asked about whether they had a favorable view of the U.S.:
Great Britain 75
Czech Republic 71
Slovak Republic 60
Asia (question not allowed in China)
South Korea 53
Ivory Coast 84
South Africa 65
Tanazania 53 Now on to the schizo part since we have a background to start from. Asked whether the "spread of American customs and ideals" is Good? Those who said yes:
Great Britain 39
Czech Republic 34
Asia (question not allowed in China)
South Korea 30
Ivory Coast 69
South Africa 43
Tanzania 18 So, it appears the world doesn't like the spread of America's culture and ideals. But, this gets confusing, when asked whether they liked "America Popular Culture":
Great Britain 76
Czech Republic 59
Asia (question not allowed in China)
South Korea 53
Ivory Coast 84
South Africa 71
Tanzania 41 In some places the stats are close but in a lot of them, particularly Europe, they're really different. Isn't this a strange dichotomy?
Europe: "I'll tell you why the spread of American cultural hegemony is evil and must be stopped! First though I need to watch Baywatch, I love that show."
Something else of interest:
Despite criticisms of U.S. policy, most people around the world think that a rival superpower would make the world a more dangerous place. This certainly is the case amongst U.S. allies in Canada and Western Europe, where large majorities believe this.
It is noteworthy that Russians agree. By two-to-one (53%-25%) they see a bipolar world as potentially more dangerous. This sentiment is also broadly shared in the Middle East/Conflict Area, in spite of the deepr esentment of U.S. policies in the countries. Solid majorities in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon believe that the world is safer with the United States as a lone superpower. Even pluralities in Turkey and Pakistan agree. I probably should've used the last quote in a new topic. Two issues, whack away at em.
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 12:05am
I am a bit put off that so few western european nations were included in that poll. Europe isnt a very homogenous group.
I think that one reason that the results are so divided is that the average joe doesnt have an all too clear view of what culture really means. It is such a broad thing that more or less include anything that is created by man so it isnt all that easy to answer a question with that word in it if it isnt specified.
Even so I can understand the results as they are pretty similar to my opinion. I think that overbearing american culture (popular/political/whatever) that has spread around the world and more or less suffocated all native cultural expression is a bad thing, but that doesnt stop me from going to watch Hollywood movies or listen to american music. I dont find it strange or even hypocritical to think that a phenomenon is a bad thing but at the same time enjoy some of the fruits from it. Just because I find it quite boring and even annoying to find a MacDonalds restaurant on every streetcorner in the world doesnt mean that I dont like hamburgers.
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 1:17am
I'm really curious, what is "overbearing american culture that has spread around the world and more or less suffocated all native cultural expression?" I'm really serious about that. I'm curious as to what people think this overbearing culture is and how it has suffocated and destroyed your native culture.
I suppose maybe Japan? But then Japan was a conqured nation so that's a special case. Besides, going to Japan you quickly see that the native culture of Japan is still strong.
It's the complaint about McDonald's that honestly baffles me and I think many Americans. One, I don't really look at McDonald's as "American culture." That isn't the biggest part of the complaint that baffles me though. I remember watching a segment on the news once about protests in France about the McDonald's. People gathered about them and threw bricks through their windows etc saying that McDonald's was destroying their culture. Meanwhile I was thinking, "so, don't buy their hamburgers." I'm genuinely puzzled by this. McDonald's doesn't go anywhere unless they can make a good profit. They only make a profit if people like what they offer and buy it. When people don't buy it and it starts to not make a profit McDonald's quickly closes and leaves. So, if the people of France really don't like McDonald's, why do they go to it? Similar thing with Euro-Disney. Originally many Europeans were happy that it was doing so poorly. Now though, I understand that it is doing quite well. I still see complaints about it and I'm not sure why. If you don't like it, don't go, it'll close down and be gone.
This is I suppose what puzzles me and other Americans. We also don't really see McDonald's as American culture I think (I can see how you might say it is though)but we really don't see how America can be blamed for pushing McDonald's down peoples' throats. If they don't like it, don't go. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head.
I guess what I'm saying is I'm not sure why the ire of many French people is pointed at Americans regarding McDonald's and not at other French people, they're the ones keeping McDonald's in business.
It kind of reminds me when many Americans were mad about the "invasion of Japan." Japanese bought Pebble Beach, a number of major building etc and upset many Americans who wanted to blame the Japanese. I was baffled. This is a relatively free nation and if you don't want the Japanese to buy Pebble Beach then buy it away from em. What's the big deal?
[ December 06, 2002, 01:20: Message edited by: Laches ]
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 1:49am
People complain all the time, not just about the US, you give yourself too much credit. It's only human nature. I should know, i live in the country that "invented" complaining. :D
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 1:51am
In the case of the french protests outside McDonalds restaurants they generally have nothing to do McDonalds specifically but are a protest against american tariffs and customs on french agricultural products. French farmers are pretty illogical I can grant you that.
You take for granted though that free competition and market effects should be the base for everything and that if they can make a profit they have right to be there. I dont disagree generally as I think thats more or less the best system we have figured out but there is a line where by a free market native things gets completely shoved aside by strong american corporations. Look at Europe, it is very americanized. Most big movies are american, most music is american, loads of american owned foodstuffs, loads of american restaurant chains. Sooner or later there will be no difference at all between nations. Foreign influence is for the most part a good thing that provides variation but the american influence is so big that shoves aside all other. There is no one to blame really except ourselves as you say but that doesnt mean that I cant find it to be a bad thing. How would you find it if the japanese influenec you speak of more or less completely annihiliated all competitors on the american market? What we buy isnt only about will, we are quite controlled by the media and commercials as well.
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 2:04am
To start, I want to say this whole thing wasn't about being combative, I'm genuinely curious.
The one thing that stands out to me as being a justifiable complaint is the complaint about U.S. tariffs on French agricultural goods. Now, I could understand if I was a French farmer, or a French restaurateur if I was losing business to American owned companies while I didn't have an opportunity to go to America and open my own business there due to a difference in tariffs etc. I would think that who I would be upset with though would be my own country for not providing me protection identical to what American businesses are receiving in the U.S.
I'd be interested to hear about how the U.S. has taken away its market from French agriculturalists via tariffs.
I really think I wouldn't mind if the Japanese culture started to be felt more and more in the U.S. Indeed, I think it is. I won't cry to see more Sushi or steakhouses around.
Maybe that is the difference? The U.S. as a multi-cultural nation hangs on to one culture less and therefore is able to assimilate change more easily than a nation which has been doing things their own way for so long?
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 2:33am
People get mad because it's change.
And they might have to change the way they think, walk, talk, act, or even have sex.
It's like the first time a girl has a G-spot orgasm. Most of them think they are going to pee.
Except they can't. It just doesn't work that way.
It just "feels" different...
The Deviant Mage
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 8:00am
First off, I'm amazed that at how many nations had large numbers of people with favorable opinions of the United States. I've often gotten the feeling from these boards that citizens of foreign nations saw the US as a selfish and psychotic semi-authority figure bent on ruining the fun of others out of sheer spite. And all that time it turns out that 85 percent of Uzbekistanis polled like us.
As for the second question, it's completely understandable that people in other nations don't want American culture shoved down their throats. Hell, neither do I. :rolleyes:
And the last one makes sense as well. Someone who agreed to both would probably agree with the first of them on sheer principle. The second is more practical..."I don't want American culture drowning out Homenationia's and homogenizing the world!...What? Yeah, I like Pepsi. Yeah, I drive a Ford. What of it?"
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 10:52am
What are those numbers? Percentages?
Anyway, as the saying goes, statistics is the biggest lie of them all. (Because there are so many factors that can influence the results, and especially because 90% of such researches are flawed in one way or another, so the results are usually far from the truth.) Putting blind trust in those numbers is pointless.
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 7:13pm
Modification to the AMaster plan to secure America:
We nuke the country that comes in last in the "do you like America" poll every year.
Thank you, that is all.
Fri, 6th Dec '02, 9:02pm
Welcome back. I was wondering if you would turn up.
Like Tal said, statistics are always open to scrutiny. Polls even more so.
Sat, 7th Dec '02, 12:58am
Modification to the AMaster plan to secure America: awww, someone does remember!
Sat, 7th Dec '02, 1:05am
Bah, they didn't put Australia on that thing... stuck up Americans :D ...
Did you know that 69.2% of statistics are made up on the spot :D :D :D .
[ December 07, 2002, 01:07: Message edited by: Void, of Unknown Stuff.... ]
Sat, 7th Dec '02, 2:10am
I think that for most of us the problem is that you seem to want to take over the world through terrible TV shows.
Did you Yanks know that you are the only country that take great shows from elsewhere and change them to suit the idea of "beautiful people in beautiful places" type thing? [Latest is that you're the only country out of 40 odd to want to change a recent UK proggy. "The Office"] We don't mind laughing at ugly people here you know! ;)
Sat, 7th Dec '02, 5:58am
People can have a favorable view of USA while wanting to maintain their own culture. That's probably the main reason between the differences in question 1 and 2.
The two questions are different and I fail to see why anyone would expect them to result in similar figures.
What really surprises me is the extremely low percentage from Egypt on the first question. :eek:
Sat, 7th Dec '02, 11:23pm
Well I like to look at it this way, there are good things about the US, and bad things, but IMHO the good far outway the bad. I feel safe knowing that America could pretty much smite the world (even if they were destroyed doing so), because I know that they'd never target the UK, and that my homeland's shores will always be safe with America standing by us. Sure there are things I don't like about America, there are things I don't like about the UK as well, no country is perfect.
Wed, 11th Dec '02, 7:40pm
All of you who are complaining that American business is taking over your country, Americans currently buy far more foreign goods than we sell to citizens of other countries.
Also, all other people have to do to compete is to do something better. The Japanese did it with cars, Europe does it with most luxury items. I drive a Mercedes, most of the items in my home were made in another country.
Is our culture pervading the rest of the world? Perhaps, but the way I see it, they are altering ours as well. It's called globalization, and it is affecting all countries equally.
are a protest against american tariffs and customs on french agricultural products.If the French have a problem with our tariffs, then why don't they go and put taxes on our agricultural stuff imported into their country? Nothing stopping them, and it seems far more logical than destroying a McDonald's restaurant (which by the way, would be owned and operated by a Frenchman).
Thu, 12th Dec '02, 5:07pm
Viking, I think the reason for that is you only have ugly people to put on TV. Americans, as you know, are all attractive.
Thu, 12th Dec '02, 8:09pm
Rastor the farmes would love to see taxes and tariffs on american goods and it is actually that their demonstrations are aimed at. That they dont get it for the most part is that the EU dont want a trade war and believes strongly in free world trade and the rules laid down by the WTO.
Fri, 13th Dec '02, 6:40pm
Maybe Americans just want to share the gift of good food. :D
Sat, 14th Dec '02, 12:08am
Shralp, do you actually think Roseanne Barr is beautiful ? :D
Sun, 15th Dec '02, 12:18am
Does anyone here think that the Americans actually care what others think of their country? If you say you hate it you're accused of being a communist in those backward staes who still live in the 80's (give em time lads and lasses, theyll catch up in a few years) and in others you're an Iraqi terrorist sympathiser with few who could actually sit and discuss this issue with you rationally. Shralp, you're my only candidate for this, don't let me down by flaming people now ;) .