The United States must accept its role as a leader in globalization while working to preserve cultural diversity worldwide, Nobel Peace Prize co-winner F.W. de Klerk said.
If it fails to do so, the former South African president said in a speech at Northwest Missouri State University, globalization will still go on, but without the guidance that only the world's sole superpower can provide.
"It happens, and nobody can stop it," de Klerk said. "It is, perhaps, the latest manifestation of the universal drive toward ever more complex systems."
But that economic complexity, he said, often exacts a price on other cultures, especially those of developing countries.
"As a result of globalization," he said, "a new, colorless culture, I don't mean colorless in the sense of race, I mean in the sense of 'bleak', is developing."
That culture, de Klerk said, is consumerist, trend-driven and English-speaking. And with the values of Hollywood and MTV both saturating and conflicting with other cultures, a backlash is inevitable.
"Globalism is posing a threat to multilingualism, posing a threat to multiculturalism and putting identities under pressure," said de Klerk, whose own country has 11 official languages. "Somewhere, there is going to be a negative reaction."
And with more than half of the world's countries possessing significant minority populations, de Klerk said, the threat of cultural conflict is internal as well as external, reports the AP. I.L.