For some decades now we have lived within a global consumer economy that exalts the idea of all cultures and societies eventually converging on a single norm. Cultural palates in this flattened world can only be progressively homogenised. PANKAJ MISHRA Guardian Review 18.04.09
I hate this gradual, insidious homogenisation of culture that's happening in all places you look. For me the whole beauty and fascination of things lies in their difference, their plurality and their individuality. The presence of companies like Starbucks and McDonalds now in most countries of the world makes me uneasy. I know cultures cross-fertilise - indeed they are often the richer for it - but when one culture hugely dominates the rest, the threatened cultures have one choice: to be absorbed or to resist. Happily there are many examples of cultural resistance everywhere.
Connected with this, it also saddens me that our diet here in England has become so unvaried and homogenised. We may think there's an unparalleled choice of fruit and vegetables in our supermarkets, but this selection is spartan compared with what was available in Victorian times. Then they grew 42 different types of cabbage, 37 lettuces, 62 peaches, 53 peas... A combination of disease, commercial requirements and idiot legislation put an end to this wonderful variety. Apparently it costs nearly £3000 to register a single cultivar for 2 years on the EU's National List of legally certified seeds.