Tuesday, September 30, 2008



Why are there McDonalds and KFC franchises in Asia? It seems that such franchises should be in the pear-shaped United States, rather than China or Taiwan. The answer to this question is diffusion. Diffusion is the movement of any characteristic from person to person, group to group, or place to place. Diffusion has two different branches, which are relocation diffusion and expansion diffusion.
Diffusion has many characteristics. The place where diffusion originates is called the hearth. From the hearth, the characteristic spreads. Diffusion can be spread by many means. One of the largest ways is through technology such as the telephone, radio, television, and internet. Another One launch a website in Canada that may be seen by anyone else in the world with internet access. Another means would be via newspaper, which is published every day, and read by millions. Swift diffusion can be aided by a common language, as no translation is required. Some impediments to diffusion could be oceans, mountains, distance, or the lack of a common language. However, these impediments never indefinitely stop diffusion.
Relocation diffusion is the physical spread of cultures, ideas, groups of people, and diseases. An example of relocation diffusion is the gold rush of 1849. People of every nation gathered in California, U.S.A hoping to strike it rich. Many of these people moved permanently. The dominant race that immigrated to California during this time was the Chinese. The Chinese came because they were having a hard time in their home country. They had to beg for food, and work was scarcer than a straight answer from Barack Obama. When they came here, they found a thriving land where work was plenty, and food was much easier to come by than it was in China. With the influx of Chinese workers, Chinatowns sprang up in San Francisco, and stayed there. The Chinese brought with them their culture such as their food, which is a normal part of the average American’s menu today. Many Irish came to the United States during the potato famine of 1845, because millions were dying. The potato was a staple food in Ireland, and when the potato plants started to go bad, Irishmen, women, and children started dying. Many of the surviving Irish people immigrated to America, looking for work and lodging that was better than what they had in Ireland. During the Holocaust, the Nazi Party, a bunch of crazy yet clever Germans under Adolf Hitler decided to kill all of the Jews living under German control. The Jews that weren’t stupid enough or poor enough to stay in Germany immigrated to The United States, Denmark, (which later fell under Nazi control) Poland, (also later conquered by the Nazis) and Great Britain.

Expansion diffusion is divided into three groups: Hierarchical diffusion, stimulus diffusion, and contagious diffusion. Hierarchical diffusion is when an idea starts with the social elite and filters down through the social “food chain”. Hierarchical diffusion is often unpleasant. For example, when the Europeans came to what is presently the United States of America, they preached Christianity to the natives. If the natives refused to accept it, the Europeans simply killed them. When Michael Jordan started to wear those cool shoes, pretty soon everyone in America wanted to wear Air Jordans. Stimulus diffusion is when an original idea is changed by other people that get it. For example, eating Chinese food in America is nothing like authentic Chinese food. When the television was invented, it was boxy, had a wooden outer shell and a circular screen. Gradually, as the TV developed, it got a square screen and took up less space. People were able to watch TV in color for the first time. TVs started taking up less and less space, getting better pictures and better color. Today, many television sets have enormous screens that are only a few inches thick. The television improved enormously because people took a good idea and made it better. Contagious diffusion is how the McDonald’s food franchise came to be in China. Contagious diffusion is when an idea, culture, or disease spreads non-discriminately between people. For example, Johnny could contract the influenza virus when making a lab mistake. Johnny could then cough on Suzie, who would kiss her husband, who would cough on his coworkers later on. His coworkers would then spread the disease in a similar manner. One could launch an internet site saying that Czar Catharine the Great died because she was crushed to death while doing something inappropriate with a horse, even though she really died of a stroke. Internet surfers could then pick it up, publish their own sites, and the myth would be widely accepted as fact.

Diffusion is happening every second of every day of every year. People are constantly migrating from place to place in search of a better life. Ideas are spreading at a lightning-fast rate through new technology. Diffusion will go on as long as there is life on Earth.

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