North America




 St Pierre & Miquelon


 United States

  North America is culturally dominated by people of European descent: from England, France and Spain, as well as from many other countries. But the old idea of the Melting Pot has created new cultural forms from the elements of European cultures in a synthesis. In particular, the political innovation of the democratic federation has been applied in other areas of the world. Both Canada and the United States are federations. In Canada the cultural base is formed by the French, English and Scots settlers and by the post-1945 East European settlers. In more recent years there has been a migration from Hong Kong and from India, thus in the future Canada is likely to have a larger Asian content to its culture than the United States.

However, the African heritage of a large part of the population, mostly brought there as slaves, is an important component of the cultural mix. This shows itself especially strongly in the musical forms which have originated in the Americas. Many of them are derived from African traditions.

The native American tradition is more elusive but is present. It is to some extent a source of the inspiration of the Green movements to cleanse the land of pollutions and misuse, and may be the origin of the idea of Federation.

The proposed formation of a North American Free Trade Area is likely to be the main influence in the near future. Will it lead to the enrichment of Mexico and the impoverishment of the United States and Canada? From a world aspect it might be desirable for living standards to be more equal, but it seems unlikely that the voters of these countries will be happy with this. NAFTA at present has no arrangements for pollution control and social standards. Thus, unless it is soon amended, the standards of Mexico will move into the United States and Canada. This is in contrast to the rules of the European Union where all countries are encouraged to adopt the standards of the northern European countries.

NAFTA is the result of the Free Market thinking of the recent governments of the United States.

Last revised 23/06/08



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