James L. Watson’s essay on the spread of McDonalds to Hong Kong took an in-depth look at the spread of a decidedly western business model into a foreign and culturally different atmosphere. The essay does a great job of describing the differences between the normal McDonald’s business model and the business model that has emerged in Hong Kong. Watson does all of this with a focus on a specific question: “who’s culture is it?”, and seems to conclude that the mixture of cultures is creating a new hybrid culture that is distinct from either the originals. Watson seems to praise this kind of mixture and change as an example of the power of globalization. It blurs the line between local and transnational, and it shows that cultural change is happening at a faster rate because of globalization.
I think that Watson fails to adequately address the problematic sides of this increase in global cultural change. With sweeping global change spurred on by corporations, sports, arts, or anything else, there is also an increase in resistance to this change. It is a common human characteristic to fear and resist change, especially in a cultural sense. Many of our cultural practices were developed over time in such a way that deeply engrains them in our understanding of the world. Because of this, many people are likely to be upset and bothered by the increasing rate of cultural change around the world. Groups like Al Qaeda are a perfect example of a problematic resistance to sweeping global change. I think that Watson should have given a bit more attention to the potential problems spurred on by globalization. His article was insightful and informative, but it failed to recognize an important aspect of the big picture.