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Is America Falling Behind?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

(SNN Doungoun) At the end of the Cold War, it would have been unheard of. What a difference a decade can make. With the growing economy in China, America may soon lose its status as the Mecca of consumerism.

By 2010, China is expected to be home to at least 7 of the world's 10 largest malls.

Finishing touches are being put on the South China Mall. One of four Chinese Malls larger than the Mall of America, the South China Mall is three times the size of the Mall of America. By 2010, China is expected to be home to at least 7 of the world's 10 largest malls.

Part of the reason America may be falling behind is our own misunderstanding of the conditions in other countries, ironically brought on by spending too much time in malls. Nader Ghermezian, of the Triple Five Group owners of the Mall of America said, “They are just shops, like a bazaar in the Middle East.”

But Mr. Ghermezian is wrong on two counts. Firstly, the malls in China are full of pedigreed western stores and brands. Secondly, some parts of the Middle East love their modern shopping malls. In the UAE, Dubai has more than 20 modern shopping malls. The love of malls is reaffirmed every spring during the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival.

In a way the mall experience is not new to the Indian psyche

It is impossible to discuss U.S. descending without discussing India’s ascendance. It is estimated that by 2010, the number of U.S. Style shopping malls in India will have increased to 300. "In a way the mall experience is not new to the Indian psyche," says Ajay Khanna, director of a development firm. "In a mall, you have entertainment, you have food, you have product retail - a very similar experience to a mela, an Indian fair. We see the phenomenon as set to grow dramatically.”

So the question remains, in the new global economy, how can America stay the leader in vacuous consumerism? Unless we become more educated about the malls of other cultures, American dominance may very soon seem a distant dream.

In yet another apalling sign of the decline of America, here on the West Coast malls are *BEING TORN DOWN* and replaced with streets lined with small shops! In downtown Sunnyvale, California, a run-down mall is soon to be torn down and replaced with a row of 1920's-style shops with apartments above them. First of all, run down? RUN DOWN? A MALL? That's a sign of the decline of America all by itself! But then, replaced with 1920's style shops? Clearly, we are doomed to go back to the horrible years of the 1920's, with vital city streets full of well-dressed people walking from shop to shop looking for the exact goods they wish to buy, rather than shopping as God intended us to, which is by driving to a single building and getting everything we want in one stop. Oh the horror!

-- Badtux the Shopping Penguin
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