Friday, May 22, 2009
Who Sleeps Most? Takes the Longest time to Eat? Watches television the most?
A recently released study by the Paris –based Organization for Economic cooperation & Development (OECD) (www.oecd.org) answers these questions in their just released survey Society at a Glance.
According to their research the French sleep more than Americans (an average of 530 minutes per day versus 518), the Mexicans spend much more of their leisure time than Germans watching television (48% versus 28%). France and New Zealand spend over two hours eating and drinking over an hour more than either Canada or Mexico. (The US clocks in third from the bottom of the list allowing at an average of one hour 14 minutes per day for eating and drinking).
While these few items may only seem humorous at a casual glance, good tidbits for a casual conversation that isn't the point. This study gives us another way to look at the similarities and differences in the cultures, the habits of daily life, that exist in the world around us. Seemingly small details help us understand the people that are part of our lives as we spread our connections for business and pleasure around the globe.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
We know that sports, as well as art, music, language, tell us about a people and their culture. We seldom think of the statement made by the place where the sport is played.
In The Wall Street Journal’s (www.wsj.com) article "Taking a Stand in the Grandstands" online.wsj.com/article/SB124147578109184945.html Rod Sheard of sports architecture firm Populous says the design of American sports stadiums, where the audience sits rather than stands, makes a strong statement about American attitudes. He notes that the design concept goes back to the middle ages when the nobility sat during events and the commoners stood. He goes on to say “Everyone thinks they’re king in America” hence stadiums where they sit rather than stand.
While you may not agree that all Americans think they are royalty - his point does remind us that Americans' independent, individualistic attitude, where each person considers himself or herself unique and special, reveals itself in unexpected ways.
Monday, May 4, 2009
If we think that globalization is only about trade: ships, products and money flowing we’re thinking to narrowly. It’s more. It’s personal, alive and growing. It’s information flowing around the world from person to person. According to to Moises Naim writing in Foreign Policy (www.foreignpolicy.com), thanks to our internet connectivity, today’s globalization differs significantly from historical versions. It’s individualized not just institutionalized. Teenagers in Africa and Scotland can share music, we can read the newspapers from around the world, set your own personal Google Alert and learn what’s new in Dongguan, Santiago or Karachi. Talk (via Skype (www.Skype.com)with your friends who live in Lithuania while they vacation in Dublin. We are personally connected globally as well as locally.
We not only are able to talk, shop and get local news from places we may never visit, but many of us are now global by our choice of what we eat. We enjoy Sushi and spaghetti in Chicago as well as Tokyo or Rome and almost everywhere we visit. We find Starbucks in Paris, KFC in Beijing, Ethiopian restaurants in Los Angeles and Indian food everywhere in London.
We are all changed, enriched, challenged in subtle ways by the reality that we can reach out and touch the world with the click of a mouse. We are global whererever we are.