THE NEW MAINSTREAM: How the Multicultural Consumer Is Transforming American Business

Guy Garcia, Author . HarperCollins/Rayo $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-058465-8

Garcia marshals experience as a journalist (13 years at Time ), novelist (Obsidian Sky) and multimedia entrepreneur to make "the business case for diversity": "Simply put, diversity breeds money." Those who fail to heed "the multicultural gospel" risk marginalization by the New Mainstream, a dynamic fusion of the "creative class," non-European immigrants and native-born American consumers with rapidly changing tastes and habits. At times, Garcia risks reducing culture to market forces and people to consumers ("for the new multicultural consumer, making and spending money is nothing less than a sacred, life-affirming act"). However, he works enough skepticism and detail into his argument to avoid flattening himself with it, mobilizing an impressively broad knowledge of cultures—popular, folk and high—and a lively sense of history. He warns that "ethnocentric nativism" and xenophobic policies, whether fueled by economic, cultural or terror-driven fears, can only damage the American corporation and nation. Garcia is at his best juggling a diverse range of examples of U.S. multiculturalism—Walt Whitman, 50 Cent, Octavio Paz, Shakira and Craig's List, to name a few—to make the argument that diversity is, more than ever, the dynamo driving American capitalism, and businesses had best take heed. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/30/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-058466-5
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