“The rise of multinational corporations is leading to global homogeneity*. Because people everywhere are beginning to want the same products and services, regional differences are rapidly disappearing.”

  * homogeneity: sameness, similarity

  Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion expressed above. Support your point of view with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

  Although global homogeneity in a broader sense may not be as inexorable as the speaker here suggests, I agree that multinational corporations are indeed creating global sameness in consumer preferences. This homogeneity is manifested in two concurrent megatrends (n. 大趋势): (1) the embracing of American popular culture throughout the world, and (2) a synthesis of cultures, as reflected in consumer preferences.

  The first trend is toward Americanization (美国化) of popular culture throughout the world. In food and fashion, once a nation’s denizens “fall into the Gap” or get a taste of a Coke or Big Mac, their preferences are forever Westernized. The ubiquitous Nike “swoosh,” which nearly every soccer player in the world will soon don, epitomizes this phenomenon. In media, the cultural agendas of giants such as Time-Warner (华纳兄弟娱乐公司) now drive the world’s entertainment preferences. The Rolling Stones and the stars of America’s prime-time television shows are revered among young people worldwide, while Mozart’s music, Shakespeare’s prose, and Ghandi’s ideology are largely ignored.

  A second megatrend is toward a synthesis of cultures into a homogenous stew. The popularity of “world music” and of the “New Age” health care and leisure-time activities aptly illustrate this blending of Eastern, Western and third-world cultures. Perhaps nowhere is the cultural-stew paradigm more striking, and more bland (blander), than at the international “food courts” now featured in malls throughout the developed world.

  These trends appear inexorable. Counter-attacks, such as Ebonies, rap music, and bilingual education, promote the distinct culture of minority groups, but not of nations. Further homogenization of consumer preferences is all but (adv. 简直是,几乎跟..一样) ensured by failing trade barriers, coupled with the global billboard that satellite communications and the Internet provide.

  In sum, American multinationals have indeed instigated a homogeneous global, yet American-style, consumerism—one which in all likelihood will grow in extent along with free-market capitalism and global connectivity.