I was privilged to be a guest of the Business Roundtable at Te Papa on Tuesday night for the annual Sir Ron Trotter dinner. It was a lovely night, and I’ll blog in a seperate post the social side of it.
The guest speaker was Professor Tyler Cowen of George Mason University. His topic was “The future of culture in a globalised world”. Tyler also is the co-author of highly popular and respected Marginal Revolution economics blog.
I won’t attempt to give a full summary of what Tyler said (I will link to his notes if put online) but I will cover his main issue:
It was the concern of some that globalisation is bad for culture as we may become a McWorld with one (American) culture. Tyler pointed out that so called national culture is invariably already a synthesis of culture from dozens of places.
He also made the point that the greatest growth for culture historically has been times of globalisation such as the 19th century while when you look at a period of deglobalisation such as the fall of the Roman Empire, the impact on culture was devastating.
I especially liked the idea of talking about the fall of the Roman Empire as deglobalisation. It is a good way to look at things.
There was also mention made of the role of the Internet in promoting culture and allowing greater exposure to other cultures. All that led to his conclusion that globalisation is a friend not a foe of culture – a conclusion it was hard not to share.