On a recent trip to India I had a meeting with a director of a leading Indian motor manufacturer. It gave many insights into relevant issues in the industry but the most striking was a much more general observation.
We were discussing - as is an inevitable topic of conversation with any foreign business figure - the deplorable state of Heathrow airport. This led to a discussion about the relative merits of various US airports which were considered preferable.
I remarked that I was suprised that he had not mentioned Singapore or Hong Kong, as these seemed to me superior even to the US airports he mentioned - or even Shanghai compared favourably to some he discussed. He replied: 'Well yes, of course, but you can't expect Asian standards in the US or Europe.'
Note the structure of the thought. He automatically considered the US and Europe on a lower standard of comparison than the most advanced Asian ones. Not that this applies, of course, to all Asian airports - Delhi or Mumbai themselves do not yet come up remotely to the best European or US standards. But he already internally judged that the highest levels set in Asia were on a far higher level than the US or Europe who had become 'poor cousins'. This from a leading business figure.
Thirty years ago such a view would have been inconceivable. Today few outside Asia understand it exists. But it confirms once again just how much globalisation is not a purely economic process. It will transform perceptions as well. Not only an economic but a cultural earthquake is developing.