You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Many people think that increasing business and cultural contacts between countries is a positive development. However, others believe that these are leading to the loss of national identities. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that growing business and cultural contacts are part of the modern process of globalisation. While some people mourn the loss of national identity which they believe occurs as a result of this process, I disagree with that view on the basis that it is important to embrace change and accept new realities.
The expansion of business and cultural exchanges across the world is a positive feature of contemporary life. Companies have broken into new markets by doing market research and taking into consideration local differences in consumer demands and preferences. They introduce new products without dismissing traditional ideas. The appearance, for example, of McDonald’s fast food outlets in Malaysia, China or Vietnam is not incompatible with the success of restaurants serving time-honoured cuisine. Such innovations do not necessarily mark the disappearance of traditional ways of life and to accept new customs is to extend choice for every consumer.
Thus, it is an exaggeration to maintain that these developments will lead to the loss of a strong sense of identity in countries. For example, people in many former colonial nations have embraced change, but they still proudly preserve traditional cultural traits. In India, English – the language of the former colonial power – is widely spoken, but this has not led to the disappearance of local languages or indigenous culturalpractices. Therefore, joining modern culture does not always mean that national or local customs have to be abandoned. On the contrary, enforced isolation from trade and cultural contacts with other countries will have the inevitable consequence of withdrawal from all the changes taking place globally.
In conclusion, I would argue that the growth of contacts in commerce and culture is a positive development which will not destroy national identities.
to embrace change: to accept change with enthusiasm
to break into a market: to enter a new business market, despite some difficulties
to do market research: to collect information about what people buy and why
to take into consideration: to consider or remember something when judging a situation
to dismiss traditional ideas: to decide that traditional ideas are not important and not worth considering anymore
to be incompatible with: not able to exist or work with another person or thing because of basic differences
time-honoured (adjective): respected because it has been done or used for a long time
the disappearance of traditional ways of life: the fact that traditional ways no longer exist
to accept new customs: to agree to adopt new ways of behaving
a strong sense of identity: the feelings and beliefs that distinguish people from others
to preserve cultural traits: to cause or allow the main features of a culture to continue for a period of time
indigenous practices: practices that naturally exist in a place or country rather than arrive from another place
to join modern culture: to become part of modern culture
enforced (adjective): that somebody is forced to do or experience without being able to control it
an inevitable consequence: certain to happen and unable to be avoided or prevented