Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The heads of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln are forever sculpted in stone at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The likeness of each former president was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum. Borglum chose each man to represent a different facet of U.S. culture. (National Park Service [NPS], 2018). Washington is best known as the First President of the United States. For this reason, it seems fitting that he is included on this memorial. Washington was also instrumental in winning the revolutionary war and helping to provide framework for the new country. Borglum chose Washington for the memorial to signify the birth of the U.S. (NPS, 2018) Jefferson is likely the least well known of the presidents on the monument. Jefferson was the Third President of the United States. In addition to this Jefferson wrote much of the declaration of independence, and enormously expanded the size of the U.S. via the Louisiana Purchase. Borglum picked Jefferson to represent U.S. growth. (NPS, 2018) Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States is known for his military service, leading the Rough Riders, during the Spanish-American War. During his time as president, the U.S. saw a major economic boom with the beginning of the 20th century. During his tenure as president, Roosevelt is remembered for his work in eliminating corporate monopolies as well as for making the deal to build the Panama Canal which greatly aided commerce. Borglum intended Roosevelt to signify U.S. development. (NPS, 2018) The last of the presidents featured on the monument is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is best known for seeing the United States through the Civil War, and ending the idea of Southern cessation.

Through the darkest time in U.S. history, Lincoln clung to American values to ensure that the country would pull through and recover. Borglum uses Lincoln to signify preservation of the U.S. (NPS, 2018) The men featured on Mount Rushmore are undoubtedly great contributors to the culture, politics, way of life, and policy of the united states. Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln effected public sector change that shaped the landscape of the United States. But what about the private sector? What about the enterprising individuals and business innovators who have also made great contributions that have shaped the U.S. If a monument were to be constructed of United States business figures to mirror Mount Rushmore who would fill the role of each president? Could a business figure be chosen to represent each the birth, growth, development, and preservation in their contributions to commerce, culture, and the American way of life? A business figure that represents birth in the U.S. is Sam Walton. Frustrated by a franchising agreement and executives that wouldn’t listen to his ideas, Walton founded Wal-Mart in 1962. Walton’s idea was to situate his stores in small towns that offered discounted merchandise (Entrepreneur, 2019). Walton does not represent the “original birth” of the discount store, but rather the “rebirth”. Walton changed the concept of discount stores by placing them in small towns rather that in big cities like other chains did. To facilitate operating stores in small towns, Walton would place stores around a Wal-Mart distribution center. Each store was near enough to the distribution center that merchandise could be trucked between them in one day. This strategy allowed Wal-Mart to buy products in large quantities from manufacturers and offer it at low prices to consumers (Entrpreneur, 2019).

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This strategy and Wal-Mart’s subsequent takeover of the discount retail market represent the “rebirth” of the discount store. In his lifetime, Sam Walton saw Wal-Mart grow to over 1,700 stores with over 350,000 employees (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019). Walton’s contributions to business and his reinvention of the discount store make him worthy of high accolades. In 1992 Walton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to entrepreneurship (Entrepreneur, 2019). Because of his impressive accomplishments, and his responsibility for the rebirth of the discount store, Sam Walton should be included on the Mount Rushmore of business figures. A close runner up for the figure to represent birth was Henry Ford, who changed the automotive industry by pioneering the assembly line. However, Walton was a better choice for this category because more people have direct interaction with the rebirth Walton is responsible for. After birth comes growth, and a business figure that represents growth in the United States is John Deere. The name is known worldwide today and is quickly associated with yellow and green farm equipment, but he was a real person. John Deere was a blacksmith working in Grand Detour, IL. Deere learns of farmers struggling with plows that are not suited for the soil of the Midwest. In 1937 he builds a steel plow that excels at cutting tough Midwest soil (Deere & Company, 2019). At this point Deere begins building and selling plows, in 1839 he builds 10, and by 1842 he is up to 100 plows per year (Deere & Company, 2019).

Throughout the next three decades, John Deere continues to manufacture agricultural equipment as either a sole proprietor or partnership type business, all the while increasing production and sales volumes. In 1868 Deere & Company is formed as a corporation and the rest is history. Deere & Company continues to grow and sales continue to increase; by 1889 there are 5 branches spanning the U.S. (Deere & Company, 2019). By 1883 Deere & Company is selling many different agricultural products including walking plows which sell 224,062 units (Deere & Company, 2019), this is substantial growth from 10 plows in 1839. John Deere died in 1886, and while he was not the sole manager or decision maker at Deere & Company for his entire life, he always had some hand in controlling the company and its growth. Deere is deserving of being on the business figure version of Mount Rushmore because of the growth he created in his company. In Deere’s lifetime alone, the company went from sole proprietor blacksmith to nationwide company selling hundreds of thousands of units. What is more important than the growth alone, and what truly makes John Deere deserving of being on the business version of Mount Rushmore is his commitment to quality that still exists within the company today. Deere once Said: “I will never put my name on a product that does not have int it the best that is in me.” (Deere & Company, 2019) John Deere is deserving of this accolade because he was able to create huge growth in his company and industry while never sacrificing quality. John Deere’s successors have continued to uphold his legacy of quality and growth. Deere & Company is now a worldwide power in the agriculture, construction, and forestry equipment markets. Deere & Company has continued to grow and innovate developing solutions to important problems surrounding those “linked to the land”. Deere’s innovation made him a strong candidate for the figure to represent development, but there is a man who has gone even further to develop and innovate within his industry.

After growth comes development, and a business figure that represents development in the U.S. is Walt Disney. Disney is deserving of being included on the Mount Rushmore of Business because he continually developed his business to improve it. Disney was never satisfied with good enough, and that spirit has turned the Disney Company into what it is today. Disney started in the film industry with Ub Iwerks as his partner in 1922. They created advertisments for movie theaters and began working on cartoon films. However, the business failed in 1923 and Disney filed bankruptcy (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019). Disney and his brother Roy moved to Hollywood, CA and began working on animated films with moderate success. In 1927 they created the now infamous character Mickey Mouse, and were pioneers of using sound animated films (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019). Disney experienced success with his Mickey Mouse shorts, and developed his company into one that produced feature length films. Between 1937 and 1942 Walt Disney Animation Studios produced five feature length films including Bambi, Dumbo, and Pinocchio (Biography, 2019). In 1955 Disney developed his company once again, with the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Disney was now running a full-blown entertainment company, including parks, television, and film. It is also important to note that Disney was a pioneer in using television for entertainment (Biography, 2019). Another consideration for the business figure to represent development on the Mount Rushmore of business was Richard Branson. Branson developed his company, Virgin Records, to include subsidiaries Virgin Airlines, and Virgin mobile. These companies represent the air transportation and telecommunications industries. Branson would also be an excellent choice to signify development on the Mount Rushmore of business, but Disney was chosen because his legacy has a more far reaching impact on the world. What makes Walt Disney truly worthy of a place on the Mount Rushmore of business figures is his legacy. Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966 (Biography, 2019), but his impact on the world was far from over. Disney’s company has continued to develop to suit the needs and desires of a fast-changing entertainment industry. Walt Disney Company now owns many subsidiaries, including ABC and continues to develop and define the entertainment industry.

Walt Disney earns his place on the Mount Rushmore of business because of his legacy. Disney chose to develop his company to continually make it better, and inspired his successors to do the same. Walt Disney has truly changed the world through the development of the entertainment industry. After development, preservation must occur so that the benefits of an idea, object, or institution can be realized for decades to come. A business figure that represents preservation in the U.S. is Steve Jobs. In 1997 Jobs saved Apple from collapse, thus preserving Apple Inc’s place in the computer market. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer in 1976. These men developed and sold personal computers, and the company saw early success (Biography, 2019). After losing ground to competitors, Apple struggled to regain market share. Disagreements with Apple executives meant Jobs slowly had less and less influence within the organization. In 1985, Jobs left Apple (Biography, 2019). Fast forward to the late 1990s, Apple still exists but is quickly losing ground to Microsoft. With Apple on the cusp of collapse, Jobs returned as CEO. Jobs quickly made an investment deal with Microsoft that secured $150 million investment in Apple (Entrepreneur, 2019). Next, Jobs set out to fix the internal issues at Apple, this included reducing product offerings and focusing on product quality (Entrpreneur, 2019). Apple went from over $1 billion in losses to over $300 million in profits in one year under Jobs’ direction (Entrpreneur, 2019) After his return to Apple, Jobs also re-instilled one of Apple’s core values that had been lost over the past decade, innovation.

With Jobs at the helm Apple developed and brought to market many innovative new products that changed the electronics industry. 2001 saw the iPod, 2003 saw iTunes, 2007 the iPhone, and 2010 the iPad (Entrepreneur, 2019). Jobs hard work returned Apple to a major power in the electronics industry, and by 2007 Apple’s stock was demanding record breaking prices, while the company posted $1.58 billion in profits. Steve Jobs is the perfect person to represent preservation on the Mount Rushmore of business figures because he stopped at nothing to save the company he founded and preserve its place in the electronics industry. While Steve Jobs died in 2011, Apple is still a major player in the electronics industry and a great deal of its success can be attributed to Jobs and his efforts to preserve Apple so that it could continue to innovate. The Mount Rushmore of business: Sam Walton represents the rebirth of the discount store, John Deere represents growth, Walt Disney represents development, and Steve Jobs represents preservation. Just like Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, these men have made tremendous contributions to the United States. The figures on the Mount Rushmore of business may not have helped the United States through its conception. They may not have increased the size of the country, or developed infrastructure, and they may not have publicly preserved American values. But Walton, Deere, Disney, and Jobs have greatly contributed to the American way of life, and certainly to the economy. These men can in no way replace Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln or their accomplishments, but in their own domain they have exhibited the some of the qualities and values for which the four presidents on Mount Rushmore are admired.

A Comparison Between China And Hong Kong During The 2000s:

Abstract

This paper claims that, for cultural reason, Chinese television has maintained its ways to function as a mass communication medium throughout years; accordingly, Hong Kong TV and society are influenced by China’s use of technology to some degree even though the city is run under “One Country, Two Systems.” After investigation, I found the claim is accurate if considering the approach of how TV presents information (especially political news) in both societies. Hong Kong and mainland Chinese society has dealt with the invention of TV in a first distinct but then a similar way (some exceptions exist) since 2000, under the influence of cultural and technical factors. Indeed, cultural factors are woven in the social environment’s background, in which they guide the application of TV’s features (especially technological) and facilitate social changes by affecting public awareness. These social changes, in terms of Hong Kong particularly, include an increase in the number of protests and of people shifting to use other media as a replacement of TV to obtain information.

Introduction

As a technology of communication, television is adopted by different societies for widespread distribution of information to the public. In several nations, according to a Pew Research (2007 ch.7), almost everybody obtains information by watching TV news. For example, 96% of Chinese regard TV as their main source to understand what is occuring around their country. Since television is an important medium affecting and even shaping people’s views toward social reality, countries like China impose many regulations on television (for more information, read Time’s article: “China Imposes Harsh New Controls on Foreign-Inspired TV Shows”), especially on its delivery of political news. As a part of China and a democratic society, Hong Kong’s approaches toward TV news have changed gradually, and became more similar to the ones in mainland China in the 2000s (after Hong Kong being returned to China from Britain).

Main focus [Cause-and-Effect analysis]

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This paper first discusses how China and Hong Kong adopt and respond to television in more details, as well as explains the cultural factors that shape their use of this technology. [Causes] Besides these cultural factors, the technological dimensions and media characteristics of TV transform television itself into an influence behind different social and political changes. This essay further attempts to answer, if not, to investigate how these features impact the way of spreading news on TV and in what manner such way influences political awareness as well as facilitates different social change/phenomenon in the two places. [Effects]

Content

Prior to diving in the investigation, this part here provides a brief and selective description of Hong Kong’s history and current social dynamics, shedding a light on its relationship with China.

Hong Kong was belonged to Britain until 1997, the year when the lease expired and the whole city was given back to China. Even though the Sino-British Declaration promised that “Hong Kong system and its people’s way of life will remain unchanged for 50 years” (“Hong Kong Government and I” 2014), the use of communication technologies, such as radio and television, by the Hong Kong society has been affected during the period of gradual power transfer from Britain to China. Slowly entering the Chinese atmosphere of influence, Hong Kong’s usual way of spreading news through television to citizens, who deserve to be well-informed, has yet altered.

Both China and Hong Kong used TV when spreading information (in particular, news) in early 2000s; however, the former preferred a higher degree of media self-censorship. Although television did not always live up to the ideals crucial to democracy in Hong Kong, it faced fewer control and suppression from the government, relatively speaking. The way of how Hong Kong treated TV as a technological medium of mass communication provided freedom to objectively present nearly all types of news in front of the public.

For instance, in 2000, Hong Kong regarded “the Taiwan independence” as a legitimate topic for debate. Cable TV was therefore allowed to inform people about the debate’s pro-independence opinions by interviewing the Vice-President of Taiwan. Yet, the Chinese government did not see national reunification as a controversy open for public acknowledgement and discussion; in its eyes, Hong Kong-based Cable Television’s reporting was very “problematic.” Unlike Hong Kong television, Chinese TV acted as a government mouthpiece for decades, and its news programming was designed to promote socialist wisdom instead of “problematic” ideas that worth conversing. But since the mid-2000s, such Chinese approach started to be accepted by Hong Kong media, which “have shut the door on reporting the pro-independence views of any Taiwanese politician” (Chan and Lee, 2007). Before revealing the reason for the shift in Hong Kong’s TV use, the following will first describe why China adopted and responded to television in the above-mentioned approach from a cultural perspective.

If one would like to know what the cultural influence behind the use of TV in China is, he/she must understand the implication of media censorship. According to a recent research, “media censorship is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes” (Chen and Yang, 2018). In other words, ruling style shapes the use of TV in China, as “one of the heirs to undemocratic imperial traditions” (Kaplan, 2018). Throughout its long history, ancient China experienced the regime of many different emperors. From this past experience, modern Chinese leaders soon recognize the historical fact that imperial order brought Asia stability and harmony for hundreds of years. Hence, these leaders [like Deng Xiaoping and Xi Jinping] seek to reinstate and maintain peace using a more nuanced, thus socially acceptable version of imperialism — authoritarianism (Kaplan, 2018).

While in Hong Kong, which does not follow authoritarian rule in the last few decades of British rule, the recent use of television (i.e., the way of how TV should spread news, for instance, choosing what to broadcast) is influenced by “cultural co-orientation.” It is defined as a process whereby frequent interactions allow two persons or groups to know one another better, leading to “convergence in attitudes towards external objects and mutual agreement on issues” (Chan and Lee, 2007). Because of this process, Hong Kong has been more conscious about and shifted closer to the official Sino-position on television following its return to China (Wiebrecht, 2018).

Apart from cultural factors, one of the media characteristics affecting how the society responds to TV while relating to a certain social phenomenon is cost. The start-up and operating cost of television networks and stations is expensive to an extent that not everyone is able to afford. A TV network [like CCTV] requires at least $700 million dollars per year to run in China, and usually the largest source of income to cover this cost is the funding from the government (Li, 2001). Relying on government assistance, Chinese TV is under control. Such situation leads to a vacuum of public awareness regarding several political matters (social phenomenon). An example illustrating this point is the lack of TV coverage and therefore people’s acknowledgement about the death of Zhao Ziyang, China’s former leader who claimed to support pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square (for more information, read thejapantimes’s article: “Zhao Ziyang: the death of a nonperson”).

Another characteristic of TV is its rising conglomeration of ownership (which somehow results from the high entry cost to the market). In a number of big players’ hands, many Hong Kong TV organizations has been owned by businessmen favoring China as well as sharing similar economic interests and backgrounds. Basically, most of them possess close relationships with the Chinese government. This trend of concentration, accompanying with the fact that television is a “push” medium (one of the media characteristics — user control), affects Hong Kong’s use of TV for disseminating information and brings changes to the society. With reference to Zhang’s research, similar to the development of newspapers, television becomes more and more likely to exaggerate the pros and dilute the cons about the Chinese government’s policies (n.d.). A 2015-conducted report also pointed out that Hong Kong’s ability to uphold its status as a center for freedom of expression is weakened because attempts to quiet criticizing voices — specifically, TVB (the major TV company) rearranging and even firing their employees in the hope of being politically correct, as well as “targeted pressures on [other] pro-democracy [television] broadcast stations” — appear (PEN American Center).

As a result of this circumstance, democracy is no longer fully guaranteed through the adoption of TV in Hong Kong since organizations are not free from the intervention of owners and sometimes, the government (for more information, read South China Morning Post’s article: “Public outcry over rejection of Ricky Wong’s free-to-air TV licence bid”). However, slightly better than what has already happened in China, some Hong Kong people (mostly youth and professionals) start to voice their discontent over the deterioration of democratic values and their criticisms toward policies implemented by the Chinese government through social media like Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, they acquire a comprehensive and hopefully, neutral view of news on the Internet. At least in Hong Kong, these platforms are not subject to any intervention (the “Great Firewall of China” does not extend to Hong Kong under “One Country, Two Systems”). To some extent, political awareness is raised as soon as the public discovers the angle differences and imbalance of received information between television and other media, facilitating a change in society: as an exercise of public awareness, protests have been staged at an increasing rate in Hong Kong by those who are aware of the growing censorship on television (Yi, 2015).

Part [b]: Technological Dimensions — real-time coverage and footage of news

Indeed, the appearance of social change/phenomenon can be driven by the technological dimensions of TV as these dimensions direct how a society treats the technology.

TV is treated as a tool to reflect facets of reality and its coverage on news has caused social effects since the 2000s, by supplying its audience with real-time shots of the most intense human experiences (technical features). Events are unfolded from the moment when they occur, as well as reach people in a way that sounds and images play a significant part in affecting public view. For instance, during Hong Kong’s world-known Umbrella Movement in 2014, footage of an attack presented seven police officers using a baton to beat an activist. Together with videos of police violently forcing unarmed students to leave their venue of protest, television intensified awareness toward the city’s deeply-woven confrontation and sway people to support liberal civil rights legislations enacted in the upcoming year (Yi, 2015). On the other hand, when tapes of activists’ “irrational” acts in 2009 Ürümqi (the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s capital) uprisings hit the Chinese airwaves at real time, audiences were dismayed and noticed the necessity of law and order. The scenes on TV helped create a heightened level of anti-democracy backlash in which many Chinese demanded the central administration being stricter and more conservative so as to stabilize the social unrests (Chen and Yang 2018). The technological aspects of TV allow the effective capture of events occurring around people, while such capture contributes to the emergence or reinforcement of different social phenomena in China and Hong Kong under the influence of cultural factors (and media characteristics).

All factors mentioned previously, no matter technical, social or cultural, are intertwined. Altogether they impact the way of how television being used in a society in terms of news spreading, and in return TV itself as a mass communication technology facilitates the rise of different changes/phenomena relating to public political awareness. Undeniably, the democratic development of a society is not simply advanced or halted due to the invention of TV but also attributing to our approach of applying it. Even neither technological nor cultural determinism can define a definite and clear-cut answer regarding the relationship between every technology and society, cultural determinism is more likely to be a better theory about the invention of television because it considers the environment where TV was introduced as well as provides a mechanism behind how different societies have adopted and responded to TV respectively (e.g., Hong Kong vs China).

Conclusion

Examining the relationship between TV and societies (i.e., Hong Kong and China), this paper particularly focuses on the technology’s role of information spreading since the 2000s. This role has been shaped by different technical (media characteristics) and cultural factors. Cultural factors such as ruling style seem to be woven in the social environment’s background, in which they guide the application of TV’s features (especially technological) and facilitate social changes by affecting public awareness. In short, this essay argues, for cultural reason, Chinese television has maintained its ways to function as a mass communication medium throughout years; accordingly, Hong Kong TV and society are influenced by China’s use of technology to some degree.

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