Tyler Cowen’s Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World
Trade and commerce carry a crucial role in creating and changing cultures of races and tribes. In Tyler Cowen’s book entitled ‘Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’, trade is depicted as a living entity that builds, grows, and transforms, depending on the elements that influence trade. Cultural homogenization and heterogenization have the ability to work together, with some traits or phenotypes of the two cultures becoming more alike, while others become more different over the process.
However, Cowen has failed to realize that, given a specific environment, trade does not always lead to wealth or cultural diversity within a certain environment. With trade and commerce influencing the formation, transformation, and reformation of cultural diversity, there are significant roles that the individuals living in the society must carry. Tyler Cowen’s Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World: On the Issue of Choice and Positive Liberty in the Cultural Marketing Industry
Trade is one of the oldest trends, which has continued to change the world and the course of human history. It changed culture, language, the state of art and heritage, and thanks to trade, the alphabet of the Phoenicians and the numerals of the Arabs were both preserved even to this very day. Businesses and immigrants carry a crucial role in creating and changing cultures of races and tribes. Reflecting the Darwinian Theory, which says that individuals or groups of individuals compete so as “to achieve their goals of fitness and reproduction” (Saint-Paul, 2002, p. ), internationalization is being born. This pertains to “the geographic spread of economic activities across national boundaries” (Gereffi & Memedovic, 2003, p. 2).
The world economy started to form and be active; with trade and business spreading across boundaries… forming cultures that affect the way people live. In Tyler Cowen’s book entitled ‘Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’, it is stated that “Trade… shapes our sense of cultural self” (Cowen, 2002, p. ). This book proves how trade invasion both creates and destroys culture—that while one culture is being destroyed, another is being created. Trade here is being depicted as a living entity that builds, grows, and transforms, depending on the elements that influence trade itself. Globalization is a creative destruction because it multiplies diversity within a specific individual or race, as it decreases diversity outside the specific individual or race.
This paper revolves around Cowen’s book and his manifestation that creative products—those that pertain to music, literature, cinema, cuisine, or the visual arts—are at allies with trade and commerce. Nevertheless, we shall prove how Cowen (2002) failed to realize that, given a specific environment of a town or country, trade do not always lead to wealth and diversity within a certain environment. Groups and individuals carry the most significant roles on whether trade would transform them… or if they would transform trade. Main Body The version of Cowen
According to Cowen (2002), “To varying degrees, Western cultures draw their philosophical heritage from the Greeks, their religions from the Middle East, their scientific base from the Chinese and Islamic worlds, and their core populations and languages from Europe” (p. 6). He says that internationalization intensified starting in the 19th century, when the means of travel developed with the inventing of cars, railroads, and steamships, while promoting cultural diversity and creativity (p. 6). In contrast, the era of cultural decline during the Dark Ages (422 A. D. – 1100 A. D. ) also reflected “a radical shrinking of trade frontiers” (p. 6).
Through literature, music, art and cinema, and even sports, the tide of cross-cultural exchange of trade has influenced the exchange of creative production as well. However, as Cowen (2002) stated, “Just as trade typically makes countries richer in material terms, it tends to make them culturally richer as well” (p. 13). Cross-cultural trade and exchange have made way for greater opportunities in wealth, technology, and what he called as ‘cultural blossomings’ (p. 3). As diversity across societies forms or transforms (with the help of trade), diversity inside and outside the society moves in opposite directions: When one society trades a new artwork to another society, diversity within society goes up, but diversity across the two societies goes down. The question is not about more less diversity per se, but rather what kind of diversity globalization will bring. Cross-cultural exchange tends to favor diversity within society, but to disfavor diversity across societies. (p. 15)
In the broader prospect of the topic of globalization, Cowen’s version fit within the paradigm that says that, diversity over time is greatly influenced by trade and commerce between societies. Being the best manifestations of culture, creative products influence internationalization that, sequentially, influences the formation of these creative products. The paradigm of Cowen Cowen’s paradigm in his book ‘Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’ creates the thought that cultural diversity is being formed, transformed, or reformed out of a society’s trade and commerce industry.
Through cross-cultural trade, there is an exchange of creative production through the intention of gaining wealth, technology, knowledge, and what Cowen (2002) defined as ‘cultural blossomings’. This, however, is just another way of reusing or reinterpreting Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which states that “the proportion of organisms in a species with characteristics that are adaptive to a given environment increases with each generation” (American Heritage Science Dictionary, 2002).
It is like saying that, in a world where cross-cultural interaction takes place frequently—especially under internationalization—the favorable characteristics of a cultural society are transmitted for adaptation to another trading society; while the unfavorable ones of that cultural society tend to diminish against adaptation within the spectrum of the two societies. What Darwin calls the ‘phenotype’ (i. e. observable characteristics of organisms) reaches the cultural society though trade and commerce, and according to Cowen (2002), this is being transmitted in the form of creative production by means of music, literature, cinema, cuisine, or visual arts. Not only wealth and goods are shared but also the ideas, the art forms, and the basic culture that is most prevalent within the society. As they reach places that are beyond the border of that society, people tend to choose and adapt the favorable phenotypes, rather than the unfavorable ones.
It is like saying that cultural human evolution revolves around the sharing and reproduction of creative, cultural phenotypes; and those that are being categorized as ‘favorable’ increase in frequency and power, as when compared over to the ‘unfavorable’ ones. As a result, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Mickey Mouse became as global as the number of countries that the government of the United States has reached and occupied. International capitalism serves as both the cause and effect of cultural diversity. The gap filled by Cowen “The question is not about more less diversity per se, but rather what kind of diversity globalization will bring. –Cowen, 2002, p. 15 Trade and commerce influence the formation, transformation, and reformation of cultural diversity. Reinterpreting diversity-over-time as a value, Cowen (2002) has come up with the term operative diversity or “how effectively we can enjoy the diversity of the world” (p. 16).
Stating how the world was much diverse during the 15th century than how it is today, he reinterpreted human evolution by stating the following lines: “Markets have subsequently disseminated the diverse products of the world very effectively, even when those same cross-cultural contacts have damaged indigenous creative environments” (Cowen, 2002, p. 6). Cultural homogenization and heterogenization, according to Cowen (2002), have the tendency to go together, with some phenotypes of the two cultures becoming more alike, while others becoming more different over the process. This is the gap filled up by Cowen (2002) when he wrote ‘Creative Destruction’. Although there is some truth over the natural selection theory, it does not clearly state how the organisms (or societies) react to one another, especially regarding culture. It just summarizes that the strong, favorable phenotypes survive, while the weak and unfavorable ones tend to diminish.
Unlike the theory of the natural selection, which interprets adaptations and human evolution by defining traits (e. g. , cultural, environmental) as strong or weak, or as favorable or unfavorable, Cowen’s theory clearly points out that, in a certain cultural environment, there is a specific kind or manner of diversity, which sprouts out of the interaction. Cultural diversity does not just strengthen or weaken, they do not just live or die, but have the tendency to form, transform, or be reformed through homogenization and heterogenization of traits and cultures.
It is not merely ‘destruction’ but a creative destruction because of the many ways that may bud or develop out of a specific cultural interaction. The gap left by Cowen Cowen’s book states that, as trade and commerce intensify, internationalization and globalization also intensify… and, with this, the promotion of cultural diversity and creativity. Cultural decline happens with the weakening of trade and commerce, and this brings lesser diversity to culture and creative production.
Trade and commerce should bring more wealth, technology, and cultural blossomings, in the same way that all these bring more numbers to trade and commerce. It is a two-way process that is resilient and ongoing… changing culture and diversity inside and outside the society. However, it would be utterly wrong to explain cultural evolution in such a plain, simple picture between trade and culture inside and outside the society. Given a specific environment, Cowen (2002) has failed to recognize that trade does not always lead to the intensification of internationalization or globalization.
It does not always bring more wealth, or technology, or cultural blossomings; and a fall in trade does not always mean a fall in terms of diversity. One good proof is the Asian crisis that transpired in the year 1997. In a changing era of globalization, East Asia received much criticism when what was called the ‘engine of the world’ financially collapsed because of some unregulated flows of the global capital. In the same way that Mexico experienced financial collapse in 1994, East Asia’s version was much worse, since it reached many countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea.
This is an economic collapse, and the crisis was brought about through the globalization of the financial markets, where local banks and finance companies subjected more on foreign loans that, by 1996, were much loaded with non-performing loans. This gives the conclusion that, despite successful trade and commerce industry, an exchange of goods does not always lead to the intensification of internationalization or globalization. It does not always bring more wealth, and although it can intensify technology, diversity, and cultural blossomings, it can degrade wealth at the same time.
The lens used by Cowen Cowen’s paradigm sets the thought that cultural diversity is being formed, transformed, and reformed out of a society’s trade and commerce industry. His lens is better than that used by the Darwinians, which is a way of saying that the strong and favorable characteristics of a cultural society are transmitted for adaptation to another trading society; while the weak and unfavorable characteristics of that cultural society tend to diminish against adaptation within the spectrum of the other society.
Cowen’s lens appear to be more concrete and detailed—like a microscopic device that takes into account how individuals react, what are the changes, or which characteristics are maintained. More flexibly, he takes into account the true complexity of the environment—with individuals or societies that have the ability to choose which ones are to be accepted or left behind. It shapes the cultural self by making a decision on which kind of diversity globalization should be allowed to bring. Thus, cultural diversity do not just strengthen or weaken but forms, transforms, and reforms itself.
Homogenization and heterogenization can blend together, and the type of diversity that springs forth out of the interaction is influenced by the members of the trading societies. Cowen’s lens are, in a way, similar to the lens used by Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, when he stated in his book entitled Anarchy, State, and Utopia that the “market society offered a cultural utopia based on freedom of choice” (Cowen, 2002, p. 2). He portrayed in his paper about a ‘libertarian’ world, where individuals have the freedom to choose their own lifestyles, mores, and their culture (p. 2).
Cowen has criticized this, as he raised the question on “how much choice actually is available in the market” (p. 2). True, there are not many choices left for a society that has done almost everything in coming up with the best type of environment (not precisely cultural environment) that would be best for the society. Yet for those that have much more left to do, there are a thousand choices that can be used in improving the state of their environment. The market, still, has its own liberty. Conclusion “[T]he market does in fact expand our positive liberties and increase the menu of choice.
If not, the freedom to engage in marketplace exchange will stand in conflict with other notions of freedom… More generally, the question at stake is what kinds of freedom are possible in the modern world. ” –Cowen, 2002, p. 4 The lens used by Cowen (2002) is far better than that used by the Darwinians. Despite the fact that Cowen (2002) supports the Darwinian Theory that everything utterly revolves around ‘natural selection’ in the society, he supports the idea that there are meaningful ways on how trading societies influence one another’s culture and traits.
His views, however, has failed to acknowledge the following statements: first, that trade and commerce do not always lead to wealth, technology, or cultural blossomings; second, that trade and commerce do not always lead to an intensified state of internationalization; third, that trade and commerce do not always lead to an intensified state of globalization; fourth, that a failing finance, due to failure in trade and commerce, does not precisely mean failure in terms of diversity or creative production; fifth and final, that liberty is exceedingly available, especially to societies that have much more to improve.
Cowen’s lens is more focused on the surrounding environment of the West. Despite being more concrete and detailed, it has failed to take into account the meaningful ways that people can approach the state of liberty, which people can have, especially concerning trade, commerce, and even culture. Cowen’s book has given enough evidence to prove that trade and culture undergoes a two-way process that is resilient and ongoing, as it changes the environment inside and outside the society.
It is not a simple interaction, however, and we can say that failure in terms of trade and commerce could be the effect of a failure in terms of wise and proper execution of choice and liberty. As citizens carry the most significant roles in a society, the choice on whether culture will be formed, transformed, or reformed lies on their bare hands.