Read the big book of US society


This is the fourth time I have been in US. For the first two times, I came here as a teenager to travel. The third time I was an exchange student and stayed for half year. And right now as a graduate student expected to stay for five years or even more. While for the first three times, I was more like a traveler, not attepting to build a deep understanding of the country. Now I feel it's the perfect time to explore, think and understand the big book of US society and history. In this article, I would like to outline some issues of special interests to me in four areas: business and economy, racial diversity, politics and pop culture.

Business and Economy

Business and economy is the most important subject of study of mine. The economic success of US is deeply linked to the history of capitalism and market economy, which is the foundamental economic model worldwide. Starting from the first industrial revolution to the current digital age, the country always owns the group of most powerful industrial firms exerting their power globally. The dominance in practice also extends to the theoretic world as the origin of many influential economic and business theories. But at the same time, income inequality is a serious problem accompanying the country's economic success. It's such a puzzling comparison bewteen the broader economic success and the large number of homeless people. The advent of digital technologies seems to only make the situation even worse. Following this thinking, three sub-issues arise:

The Successful Big Firms: How to explain the consistent success of US companies in the past century?

Liberal Market Economy: What's the boon and curse of market economy?

Income inequality: What leads to the severe income inequality? How may we resolve the problem?

Racial Diversity

The experience in the US makes me much more aware of my own racial identity. It feels very different when interacting with people from different culture. Some of the differences come from my own psychological feelings; others come from the objective reality such that every culture has their own behavioral pattern.

Though I was doing my undergraduate study in Hong Kong where people usually think is very diverse culturally, the chinese culture is still the dominant one. But here in the US, the dispersion of culture is just much more visible. Yesterday, me and my friends met a homeless black man who walked directly to us and shouted anrily that our parents didn't teach us to be racists, even though we were just walking by the street. This made me truly feel the tension between different races and how the issue is deeply rooted in people's heart.

I'll continue to finish the other two sections: politics and pop culture in the next week.

© Zhiwei (Berry) Wang.RSS