SOCIAL SCIENCE: American Influences Abroad
A tourist walks along a muddy Indonesian street looking for a souvenir that represents the local culture. He stops by a small street vendor to look at the goods for sale. What he sees shocks him: T-shirts and posters
Line 5 promoting American football, basketball, and baseball teams, brand-name American food and drink, and an assortment of other items of Americana. Although this example may seem surprising, it is a reality in many countries. American culture has inflitrated
10 many nations around the world that Americans generally consider the most exoitc. In these places, the importation of American culture—be it by consumer goods, media, or otherwise—is affecting indigenous peoples and their traditions.
15 The presence of American culture in other countries receives mixed reactions. Some people praise American business or simply find the so-called invasion innocuous. American logos appear in quite unexpected places, embodying the ubiquitous American symbols
20 worldwide. The presence of such American food and retail goods in a foreign market might indicate that the companies producing them are eager to support the local economy. American corporate confidence in a country’s markets can boost additional foreign
25 investment. In many cases, the populations of developing countries and highly industrialized and modern nations have embraced Americana. Many other people reject what has been called American “cultural imperialism.” Some sociologists,
30 anthropologists, and cultural experts lament the steady decline of distinct national, ethnic, and cultural identities as omnipresent American influences overpower ancient traditions and beliefs. For example, Mexico and the United States have
35 often had a tense relationship unhelped by the language barrier. Regardless, there has been an overwhelming influx of American ideas and products into Mexico. Look to the typical Mexico tourist resort. Only about fifty years ago the sleepy towns were still untouched by
40 commercial development. They held their local culture close. Now, however, grand international hotels tower above the traditional colonial architecture. A walk down a main thoroughfare in a tourist town could reveal a plethora of American businesses. The local cantinas
45 and native boutiques are losing the battle against large American corporations. Despite these issues, however, many other experts have applauded the spread of American institutions across the world. They point to jobs created, as well
50 as the modernization of infrastructure that comes with American commerce. They explain that these things will help bring lesser-developed nations into the modern world and help to decrease poverty and other social ailments. In fact, many of the jobs offered by
55 American companies pay handsomely compared to the local market’s average wage. Furthermore, some experts point to Japan as a prime example of where American involvement has been beneficial. After helping to rebuild the country
60 both politically and economically after World War II, America left a pervasive cultural footprint on the country. Although the Japanese people have embraced many American concepts and products, they have maintained a distinct culture that is rich in the traditions of the past
65 but open to Western ideas. American commercial and cultural expansion abroad has created both benefits and problems. In many places, there is still no clear picture of the future effects of Americana.
According to the first paragraph, the tourist was shocked because:
The best answer is B. The first paragraph states that the tourist was “looking for a souvenir that represents the local culture.” However, when he stopped to browse at a small street vendor, he was shocked to see a plethora of American items. This best supports answer choice B. The other answer choices are not supported by the context of the passage.
As it is used in line 19, the word ubiquitous most nearly means:
The best answer is H. As written in the passage, “American logos appear in quite unexpected places, embodying the ubiquitous American symbols worldwide.” Because American symbols appear in unexpected places worldwide, it makes the most sense that these symbols would be described as “far-reaching.” Answer choice F is incorrect; the price of these symbols is not mentioned anywhere in the passage. Answer choice G does not make sense in the context of the passage. Answer choice J does not make sense because if American symbols were localized, they would be found solely in America.
According to the passage, some people reject Americana because:
The best answer is D. It is stated in the passage that those people who reject Americana do so because they “lament the steady decline of distinct national, ethnic, and cultural identities as omnipresent American influences overpower ancient traditions and beliefs.”
According to the passage, the spread of American influences resulted in which of the following in certain foreign countries?
I. Increased number of jobs
II. Modernized infrastructure
III. Decline in tourism
The best answer is H. The passage explicitly states that jobs have been created due to the spread of American influence, and that with American commerce comes the modernization of infrastructure. The passage does not state that declines in tourism result from the spread of American influences, but rather that American businesses are quickly spreading to tourist areas abroad.
The passage suggests that tourist resorts in Mexico:
The best answer is B. When the passage states that “The local cantinas and native boutiques are losing the battle against large American corporations,” it is clear that these places are straining to even stay in business and retain their cultural uniqueness versus the American businesses that are invading the resort towns. The other answer choices are not supported by details in the passage.
The passage indicates about America’s influence on Japanese culture that it:
The best answer is G. The passage states that Japan is a “prime example of where American involvement has been beneficial,” and that “America left a pervasive cultural footprint on the country” while maintaining “a distinct culture that is rich in the traditions of the past.” This clearly indicates that American influence was beneficial to Japan and that a well-balanced mix of American and Japanese culture ensued. This best supports answer choice G. The other answer choices are beyond the scope of the passage.
It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that, if American cultural influences continue to infiltrate foreign markets, those markets:
I. will experience unlimited economic growth.
II. will not be able to maintain their unique identities.
III. could either benefit from or be harmed by such influences.
The best answer is C. The passage illustrates both a country that has been helped by American influence (Japan) and a country whose native businesses are suffering due to American influence (Mexico). It is unclear what will happen if American cultural influences continue to penetrate foreign markets. Answer choice B may appear to be correct; however, the example of America’s influence on Japan negates this option.
As it is used in line 30, the word lament most nearly means:
The best answer is J. Paragraph 3 discusses those people who are rejecting “American ‘cultural imperialism,” ’ and states that these people “lament the steady decline of distinct national, ethnic, and cultural identities as omnipresent American influences overpower ancient traditions and beliefs.” Because these people are rejecting this spread of American influence, it does not make sense that they would embrace or enjoy the loss of other cultures. It also does not make sense that they would deny the steady decline of distinct national cultures, as it is something that is obviously occurring. To “regret” is to express grief over or be unhappy with. The passage illustrates that the people who are rejecting American cultural imperialism are unhappy with its consequences.
According to the passage, the Indonesian street vendor sold:
The best answer is A. As stated in the passage, “What he sees shocks him: T-shirts and posters promoting American football, basketball, and baseball teams.” This clearly illustrates the fact that the street vendor was selling American sports memorabilia. The other answer choices are not supported by details in the passage.
It can be reasonably inferred from the last paragraph that:
The best answer is F. The last paragraph of the passage states that “Many benefits and problems are created by American commercial and cultural expansion abroad.” While there are some drawbacks to American expansion, there are still gains. This best supports answer choice F. Answer choice H may appear to be correct; however, the last paragraph does not clarify whether problems from American expansion in the future will be greater than benefits.