Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Economics | International and Area Studies | Other International and Area Studies
This capstone project is a multidisciplinary investigation into a problem that has surfaced with the rise of globalization. It explores the negative sentiments in Europe towards Americans, their recent history, and future implications. It was designed to be multidisciplinary because of the complexity of the issue at hand. It stretches from political to anthropological, both in the context of communications and economics and finally their synergistic affect in fostering certain feelings in different European nations about the American way of life. I show how certain negative feelings can change behavior and preferences for American goods and services and how it can affect the American economy.
I claim that negative American sentiments have been rising in Europe, sped up during the years of the Bush administration, and do have consequential effects in the marketplace. Such effects come from active and passive anti-Americanism. Active anti-American actions are those such as the boycotting of American goods and the vandalism of American stores. This is the stage where the effects of anti-Americanism can most clearly be seen and recorded. Passive anti-Americanism related more to the disfavor for American business and a fall in demand for American goods and services. This essay shows the implications of both types to the prosperity of the United States.
I found that politics and media have the largest effects on European attitudes towards Americans. Following the decade of the Marshall Plan, which started the feelings of resentment for Americans with perceived economic imperialism, a fear of cultural imperialism from the massive implosion of American entertainment in Europe developed. Soon the policies and controversies of the Bush administration exacerbated these perceptions and caused a spike in the growth of anti-Americanism.
Apart from using my personal experiences to develop theories, I found evidence to back up my claims through scholarly journals, research institutes, and class work. I used mostly the Internet to find quantitative data on attitudes and trends from the Pew Institute, GMI and Roper/ASW research institutions. I backed these up with newspaper and magazine articles I found in Europe while living there, and scholarly articles found online through the library resources.
Through my research I found that with the inauguration of President Obama, there was worldwide perception that he represented a change of the American people and a promise of better management and relations. The swell of anti-Americanism dropped almost overnight, and a celebration of a new era of cooperation started. From here it may be easy for America to recover its standing in the hearts of Europeans, however the government, businesses, and media must recognize and remain sensitive to the attitudes and perceptions of its neighbors so as not to foul the progress. I touch on number or foreign policies and internal management problems that must also be changed to facilitate the partnering of the two continents. I conclude with what the remaining problems are and suggestions for how to fix them.
Bee, Brenda Jennifer, "Economic Implications of Anti-Americanism" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 393.
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