Maverick Traveler

Location Independence, Geo Arbitrage, Individual Freedom

Why Does A Country Abandon Its Culture And Import Someone Else’s?

I’ve been to over 70 countries in the world, but out of all of those countries, there’s one country that truly stands above the rest: Brazil. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world—if not the most favorite.

Why? The amazing and friendly women, the warm weather and the savory food. But you know all that. I’ve been babbling about these things for a while now. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Each of these factors that Brazil has, other countries have as well; there are other countries with friendly women, warm weather, and delicious food.

What makes Brazil so unique is that there’s simply no other country on the planet (at least that I’m aware of) that has these amazing qualities in such a perfectly balanced combination. In other words, what makes Brazil awesome is its culture, a culture unlike anywhere else in the world.

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In many ways, a culture is like a currency. The strength of a nation’s currency is contigent on its ability to be used for both purchasing and selling various goods and services. Long ago, banks issued notes that were backed by gold. At any time, I could go and exchange these colorful pieces of paper for real gold.

No longer. Nowadays, these pieces of paper are not backed by anything—except the mere belief that they’ll be still worth something in the future. They’re backed by faith. If I have faith that the paper I’m holding in my hands will be worth something in the future, then I will continue to accept it for my products and services today.

Similarly, the strength of the culture depends on its ability to truly represent and unite the people. If I have faith that the culture can be accepted as a medium of communication by everyone else, then I will embrace the culture and even export it to others.

If I don’t have faith in the culture, then I begin looking elsewhere, beyond my nation’s borders to other countries and cultures. I become seduced by someone else’s culture and want to make it my own.

The strength of faith

I spent more than a year living in Lithuania. Lithuania is rapidly becoming very Westernized.  The way people are dressing is changing. Many Lithuanians emigrated to the UK. I hear more and more American slang embedded in Lithuanian. Some of them even prefer to speak English instead of their own language. I can actually see the culture changing from when I first came there in 2011.

If you’d visit them now, you’d have a hard time realizing that they were once part of Soviet Union. It doesn’t even feel “Eastern Europe” anymore.

On the other hand, you have amazing countries that are truly authentic in every way. Latin America (ex- Chile) is, for the most part, very authentic. Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina don’t have much of Westernization in them. Their cultures are very traditional with strong masculinity and feminity.

Why do countries like Lithuania are becoming so Westernized, while countries like Brazil or Mexico remain so authentic?

The size of the country matters. The smaller country, the harder is for it to protect itself against an onslaught of a stronger, more dominant culture. Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) are very small and, thus, have been seamlessly integrated into European Union and its Western values.

Another reason is the level of development. The more developed the country and the more educated are its people, the more readily it abandons its own culture and accepts a Western way of life. This explains why one of the most developed countries in Africa—South Africa—is also one of the most Westernized.

The loss of faith

Sometimes change happens much, much quicker. Revolution and mass protests is one way. I was in Istanbul, Turkey in the summer of 2013 when the city experienced a wave of uncontrollable anti-government protests. The young girl with whom I was staying was deeply sympathetic to the cause and was even bringing various food and water to the protestors.

I asked her to explain why she was supporting the protests. She told me that Turkish society had become wealthier and, as a result, they wanted more freedoms from the government. She also mentioned that she liked America and wanted Turkey to have the same freedoms as America.

I listened patiently, but I couldn’t follow. Why try to duplicate American culture in a country that has completely different traditions and values than America? Why not just move to America and live in a Turkish neighborhood?

Turkey isn’t America. It has completely different values than America. Turkey isn’t even in Europe. (Regardless how you feel geographically, Istanbul doesn’t feel European at all.) Turkey has a strong Muslim culture with deep traditions that go back many centuries. Even though it’s secular, it’s still a pretty conservative country.

Turkey’s culture is too strong to be Westernized because several hundred unhappy students want more “freedoms.” Turkey will be able keep its culture.

When a country has a weak culture, it doesn’t simply disappear. People still need to communicate with each other one way or another. So, countries with weak and dying cultures begin importing cultures from other countries. When you begin to lose faith in the culture, you import cultures from somewhere else.

This loss of faith happened during the Ukrainian revolution last year. It proved that Ukraine wasn’t strong enough to chart its own independent path more than 24 years after collapse of Soviet Union, and instead decided to fully lean towards European Union. The people abandoned their own culture of independence and instead chose to replace their values with those from the West. Foreign culture isn’t free and doesn’t come cheap; Ukraine paid (and will continue to pay) dearly for it.

Russia is different. While it’s not as conservative as Turkey, it has a very strong ideology and sets of values. Unlike Ukrainians, Russians view themselves as a powerful nation, an empire. Predictably, they look at Europe and the West with suspicion and even derision. They want nothing to do with Europe. This way Russia is able to preserve its culture, even in the face of heavy Western pressure.

But times are gradually changing. Thanks to being so readily accessible and so easily consumable, Western values are being absorbed by the most unexpecting countries. Although countries like Brazil don’t become Denmarks overnight, its people readily embrace Western values over their own. Afluent Brazilians use Western technologies and watch American movies. They speak English with American slang. They imitate American actors and celebrities. They even want to be treated like Americans.

I love Brazil, and I don’t want it to change. I don’t want the country to lose everything that makes it great. I want Brazil to remain Brazilian. I don’t want Brazil to turn into America.

I don’t want to live in a unipolar world where everyone thinks and acts like a pseudo-celebrity from some “reality” TV show.

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24 Comments

  1. Too late! Brazilian is already pretty much American. I don’t recommend it to my friends anymore.

  2. Good post, man. Like they say, the world is quickly becoming a global village. The question is how quick will we get there. I give another 10-15 years and that’s it.

  3. The King of The Manosphere

    April 3, 2015 at 11:25 am

    What do you recommend to a guy who sits in his home all day and plays video games? Is it still worth to travel, or am I going to see Burger Kings and McD everywhere? I’m very pessimistic.

  4. Great article. As it turns out, with globalisation and the expansion of western culture we are essentially losing diversity (a word that leftists seem to love). It would be extremely boring and dull to live in a world where every country tries to copy the degenerate west. Luckily, despite this trend, there’s still countries that have a very proud sense of identity and will be less affected by it (Russia, Poland- they’re in the EU but they’re still very sceptical of multiculturality, immigration and westernization in general, Brazil…)

  5. In my view, what’s happening is the exact opposite.
    Muslims are taking over Europe very rapidly destroying forever the “western” culture you mention.
    Also, in the case of America, all these successive crisis and wars have severely weakened its resolve and shaken its beliefs, making way for a stronger more assertive China.

  6. American Traveler

    April 3, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I agree with this. I spent six months in Peru six years ago and returned few months. It’s changing. In the capital, the women are becoming flakier, hooked up to their iphones. It’s starting to feel like a large American city. I hate it.

    Time to go to smaller cities.

  7. I understand you like Brazil very much but from my point of view, Mexico is a lot more interesting country for this topic, mainly because it is right next to America and yet it is so incredibly different from it. I think it was a shame you didn’t elaborate more on this country.

  8. I guess that’s why you see Westerners traveling all over the world, but foreigners rarely choose to do that. They have more fulfilling cultures.

    (I’m Dutch and writing this from Argentina at the moment)

  9. Well written. I spent a couple of months in Denmark and Sweden. There’s nothing Scandinavian there anymore.

    I feel hopeless.

  10. Brazil is too westernized. Russia still has strong traditional culture.

  11. Agree with the above poster. I think Brazil is pretty much finished. Brazil doesn’t have an anti-America ideology like the Russians do. Russia is much more traditional.

  12. Well, I have seen many travellers from Japan, China, India, Brazil or from Arabic countries in the last year. I think it’s more a money question.

    If a country wants to get successful it needs to adopt “western values” like individualism, freedom & capitalism, therefore the west remains attractive to people from other cultures. The problem is just that these values don’t really exist any more in the west, today it is poisoned by socialism and feminism…

  13. Relax, Maverick.

    What you say is true, but I suspect that the whole process is cyclical. If, as you insinuated, that Western culture is inherently unstable (with feminist and socialist values creeping in) then give it a few more decades. Western culture will implode and people will revert to their own heritage.

    Of course, I could be wrong. But it’s worth noting that not everybody is going to ditch the old ways. You might still have your Brazil.

  14. Might be true…for the short term. Western culture is too weak to maintain. It’s fundamentally self destructive. This is also the reason that – from a historical perspective – the American empire is the empire with the shortest life span. The US started it’s hegemony right after WW2 and already is in decline.

    • I would say that US started as an empire much earlier than WW2. US became an industrializing giant in 1870s, after the Civil War. It definitely was a world power by the beginning of the 20th century, and a key player in WW1. I don’t have statistics by my side now, but by WW1, America’s industrial capacity only rivaled that of the British Empire. (I will double check this later). But it is true that US reached its pinnacle by the end of WW2.

  15. Which is why I’d rather learn Russian now than Portuguese plus the women are far more beautiful and traditional. Hopefully Obozo and NATO won’t fuck it up and start WW3 with Putin.

  16. Maverick

    April 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    @Philipp
    “The problem is just that these values don’t really exist any more in the west, today it is poisoned by socialism and feminism…”

    Great point.

  17. The stronger the country the more influence it has, simple as that. Culture has always been destroyed, exchanged and adapted, for good or bad. I do find it ironic that the Turkish protesters felt that America was a free country with little government intervention, but individual sovereignty is something I believe so I support them.

  18. Mav! Come on! Don’t exaggerate please! What do you mean Russia doesn’t want to do anything with Europe if Mr. Putin was negotiating for a free market space from Lisbon till Vladivostok?
    What is the most beautiful and most visited city in Russia? Right – St. Petersburg built by European architects under the direction from the pro-western Tzar. Russia always wanted to be in Europe and whatever good happened there had its roots from Europe.
    Yes, the conservative population in Russia, Ukraine or Turkey is still prevailing but I would’t call the rest of the people stupid clowns trying to mimic the Western way of life. I bet there is much deeper ground beneath that.

  19. Good post.

    I think that the smaller the country is,the more “threatened” and influenced it will be to be westernized.

    We can choose the example of Baltic countries,which are losing population very fast (example of Lithuania):

    http://demographymatters.blogspot.com.es/2011/05/brief-note-on-lithuanias-depopulation.html

  20. Interesting observation. The size of one’s country and how easily it can be influenced by modern western culture. Never thought of it that way.

    I’m Korean (South Korean) and I see how FAST South Korea absorbs modern western, Americanized culture. South Korea is a small nation.

  21. There’s this thing called the Internet that has gotten suppressed people out from underneath their rocks. Which is unfortunate for the old nomads that are no longer feel they are a novelty or a big fish in a small pond.

  22. Spain is critizised a lot because people here don’t speak English compared to the rest of Europe but I think it’s good, it means the culture is so rich that it’s probably America’s nemesis in terms of culture along with France.

    In other news, I just moved from Prague to Spain. My conclusion: Czechs have no culture and are in cultural limbo right now, all the pretty things you see in Czech Republic were created by Austro-Hungarians and Luxemburgians.

    Best city in the world but the people are absolutely souless, 100% of expats living here can tell you this.

    The women will fuck with you if you are tall and fit. They don’t care about carisma or money, etc. Just have to be tall and fit. I think it’s because the culture is very sexual, similar to America but there’s absolutely no heart.

    Spain is all about heart and here you immediately see that the girls don’t have the same amazing bodies, but I don’t care, I fit better here and girls WANT me here as opposed to IGNORE me in CZ.

  23. You make a lot of good points but I feel that you have greatly missed the mark on Turkey. I don’t think you understand what was happening in Turkey in 2013.

    You see, the Gezi Park Protests were not about a handful of college girls wanting more “freedoms”, as you put it. It was a nation-wide outcry against a regime that became more and more authoritarian and oppressive day-by-day. People there were fighting against a government that positively did not care about people that didn’t vote for it.

    It wasn’t about people wanting to import American culture, it was about people demanding basic civil rights. The “freedoms” they were asking for were things you take for granted, e.g. the bus driver not raping you if you happened to stay out late.

    James, I think you have written this article without fully comprehending those events. Your words about countries letting go of their culture and in their stead favoring American culture are well put, but on Turkey, I have to stay you are off the mark mate.

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