We now live in a completely global world. Such traditional American companies, such as Coca-Cola, make the majority of their profits overseas and have the majority of their workforce based overseas.
Yet for all this globalization in terms of economics, the world is still dominated by the United States culturally and politically. American culture and English is spread around the world through various means such as movies, television shows and music.
According to a Dec. 15, 2010 article by Jeff Thredgold for the Deseret News, people must become proficient in English to succeed in this world dominated by the United States, at least in business. So in countries as different as Saudi Arabia, China, India and Brazil the only common denominator is that they are well versed in not only their languages but also the language of the United States.
Yet in the United States, all Americans have to do is essentially be born here and never have to bother learning about cultures and languages as different from our own because of our position of power. As Thredgold writes, a person who speaks three languages is multilingual, a person who speaks two is bilingual and a person who speaks one language is an American.
But times are changing, and the rest of the world is catching up to the United States, as evident from the rise of countries such as China, the world’s largest exporter, and India, whose economic growth has averaged 7 percent per year since 1997, according to the CIA World Factbook.
To retain our country’s primacy in the world, our generation must adjust to the cultures, traditions and languages of our foreign competitors.
In a purely business sense, with economics shifting away from a domestic economy towards a global one and several American companies doing business in other countries, there must be an effort to acclimate to foreign culture, which may be radically different from the American one.
Yet many Americans remain ignorant of any culture or language that is not their own. Even then, according to a Sept. 2003 article from VFW Magazine by Ernest Lefever, a national test used to determine U.S. grants to state school systems showed that only about 10 percent of high school students were “proficient” in American history.
To correct this, our generation must take the necessary measures to become globally savvy. These measures include learning other languages and customs. Yet the most important and basic measure that must be taken is a general awareness of what is going on in the world, not just in the American bubble. This starts with paying more attention to the news and reading more newspapers in general.
Our generation must start paying attention to the events that shape the rest of the world in order to be able to adapt and retain the primacy of the United States. Especially in this time of crisis in such Middle Eastern countries as Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan as well as the debt crisis in the European Union, we must pay more attention to how the world is shaping up, or we will be left behind.
If we cannot look at the fact that empires and powerful kingdoms have declined because of complacency and a refusal to learn the ways of other cultures and the events of the rest of the world, we are destined to follow. But our generation holds a unique position in that we can change history and prolong the primacy of the United States only through becoming more aware of the world in general.
We, as a generation and as a country, must put a heavy emphasis on paying close attention to the news as well as focusing on the intricacies of important events in the world. It is imperative that our generation casts aside the apathy and ignorance of the news and learn all we can about the rest of the world. This is possible, but only through a concerted effort to become more aware by paying attention to the news.
Jordan Rubio is freshman broadcast journalism major from San Antonio.