Books Suggested by Amigos

May I suggest that you consider including a brief review of Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World's Cultures, by Tyler Cowen, Princeton Univ. Press, 2002.   It analyzes the place of art in the global market economy--giving numerous examples of developments in developing country crafts, music, movies, food, carpets etc.  and impacts on industrial countries.

Eric S. Graber

How Globalization Is Changing the World's Cultures
Tyler Cowen

Cloth | 2002 |
$27.95 / 18.95 | ISBN: 0-691-09016-5; 192 pp.

A Frenchman rents a Hollywood movie. A Thai schoolgirl mimics Madonna. Saddam Hussein chooses Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as the theme song for his fifty-fourth birthday. It is a commonplace that globalization is subverting local culture. But is it helping as much as it hurts? In this strikingly original treatment of a fiercely debated issue, Tyler

Cowen makes a bold new case for a more sympathetic understanding of cross-cultural trade.

Creative Destruction brings not stale suppositions but an economist's eye to bear on an age-old question: Are market exchange and aesthetic quality friends or foes? On the whole, argues Cowen in clear and vigorous prose, they are friends. Cultural "destruction" breeds not artistic demise but diversity.

Through an array of colorful examples from the areas where globalization's critics have been most vocal, Cowen asks what happens when cultures collide through trade, whether technology destroys native arts, why (and whether) Hollywood movies rule the world, whether "globalized" culture is dumbing down societies everywhere, and if national cultures matter at all.

Scrutinizing such manifestations of "indigenous" culture as the steel band ensembles of Trinidad, Indian handweaving, and music from Zaire, Cowen finds that they are more vi

brant than ever--thanks largely to cross-cultural trade.

For all the pressures that market forces exert on individual cultures, diversity typically increases within society, even when cultures become more like each other. Trade enhances the range of individual choice, yielding forms of expression within cultures that flower as never before. While some see cultural decline as a half-empty glass, Cowen sees it as a glass half-full with the stirrings of cultural brilliance. Not all readers will agree, but all will want a say in the debate this exceptional book will stir.

Tyler Cowen
is Professor of Economics at George Mason University, where he directs the Mercatus Center and the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy. His books include What Price Fame?, In Praise of Commercial Culture, and Risk and Business Cycles.

Amigos Author Featured

"Father Sun, Mother Moon:  Stories of Pluricultural Grassroots Development," by Charles David Kleymeyer is reviewed in the current issue of Grassroots Development, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 57-59.  An excerpt from the book, "Life or Dignity:  Dreams of the Bull," is also included, pp. 60-64.  Available on the web at

Kleymeyer, a development sociologist and senior fellow at the Center for the Support of Native Lnnds, worked at the IAF for 21 years and has writ

ten extensively on culture and development.

The book is available from the publisher at  From the PUBLICACIONES page, search CATALOGO or BUSQUEDA using either PADRE SOL or KLEYMEYER. 

The price per copy is US $5.90 + $2.34 postage.  The book can also be ordered by mail (communicating in Spanish or English) by sending a

check for US $8.24 to:  Centro Cultural Abya-Yala, Ventas Internacionales, Casilla 17-12-719, Quito, Ecuador, S.A.

For further information, send e-mail to or

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