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A week ago
If you worked for an international firm doing business in Asia, is there anything you would suggest to ease the tensions these cultures are experiencing? Be specific.

Social ills in any country are normally born from a multitude of factors. What role if any, do you think globalization is having in higher reported rates of divorce, crime, and drug abuse in Asia?

Broadly defined, Asia comprises more than 60 percent of the world’s population—a population that practices Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and numerous other religions. Do you think it is possible to carry on a valid discussion of “Asian” values? Explain?
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A week ago
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This question presents students with an ethical dilemma. Some students will say that their company is in business to earn a profit and that Asian consumers are not being forced to buy Western goods—they make a conscious decision when they make a purchase. Other students will feel a sense of responsibility to those societies in which they market their products. These students will want to suggest ways to lessen tensions in those societies. Some possibilities for this include doing charity work to help people suffering economic difficulties, financially supporting and giving employees time off to do volunteer work for cultural fairs and festivals, and making counselors available in the company to help employees with their troubles.

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Many students will agree that the forces of globalization are exposing people in all countries to new ways of thinking and behaving. However, many social ills are not a direct result of globalization, but of other forces causing social change. Drug use is certainly not a new problem in most countries—opium has been used across Asia for centuries. Also, many women in Asian cultures are no longer financially dependent on their spouses because of the growing employment of women in the workforce. Thus when marital problems arise, divorce can be a viable option unlike in the past. This is not a Western phenomenon being spread by globalization, but one tied to economic development and industrialization more generally.

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Clearly, there are important and significant differences between Asian societies. But some values tend to be Pan-Asian, including the extended family concept—in contrast to the nuclear family concept in Western cultures. Also, respect for community elders is deeply ingrained throughout Asia—unlike the Western emphasis on youth and vitality (most pronounced in the United States). Thus, certain cultural elements can be discussed as “Asian” just as we identify certain concepts and behaviors as “Western.” But the validity of generalizing about “Asian values” depends on the depth of the discussion. The deeper we explore Asian cultures, the more differences we uncover.
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