Book Review: Creative Destruction

Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World’s Cultures is an important book. It’s also an accessible book, free of business jargon and consultant-speak. Tyler Cowen takes a very practical approach to globalization, illustrating how the flow of ideas and goods is nothing new to the world and, in the end, more beneficial to the world than not.

Global markets, according to Cowen, “bring more homogeneity and more diversity.” It is this dualism that makes globalization so hard to pin down. This books presents a broad collective of anecdotes and famous quotes, like “Art has no border” and “You can’t stop music at the border.”

But I what I liked most about this book is that Cowen grasps the counterintuitiveness of human nature. People don’t all think and act alike. Just because Spiderman did $10 billion domestically doesn’t mean all Americans love Hollywood, nor does the rest of the world for that matter. I’ll leave you with this passage from the book:

“…individuals now share more common cultural components than before. I know many of the same songs, movies and corporate logos as do numerous people in Bangkok. This was not true in the nineteenth century, or even as recently as thirty years ago. Different cultures have more common components than before, and individuals around the world are selecting from a commonly diverse menu of choice. The freedom to be different also means the freedom to sometimes choose the same things. … Ironically, individuals become more diverse only when their societies become more alike.”

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