In examining material culture, infrastructure is to be examined. The basic Economic infrastructure comprises of a country’s transportation, energy, and communications capabilities. The social infrastructure includes housing, health, and educational systems. And the Financial and Marketing infrastructure consists of banking, insurance, financial services, and marketing research firms. In many countries the infrastructures are already developed, whereas in others the international firm has to develop. Nestle, had to develop ‘milky roads’, ‘collection centers’ and ‘agents’ when it entered the Chinese market to produce milk powder. Culture is the mediation of production and consumption.
Consumption patterns are reflected in attitudes towards material possessions and dress. In some cultures these are displayed in an ostentatious manner and in others these symbols are understated. A question – ‘how much do you earn?’ is a private affair, but not viewed as private in some emerging markets. The level of material culture influences the standard of living and also values and beliefs.
In the current world we define ourselves through consumption, whether that consumption is of ‘things’ (like clothes, cars or books) or commoditised ‘images’ (like music, TV shows). Indians are normally supposed to be lacking in achievement motivation. But in the last two decades the Indians are identified with ‘give me more syndrome’ – ‘Yeh dill mange more’, underlying differences in consumption patterns. People in upper classes worldwide are no more interested in material possessions and they offer good opportunities for service industries. There is a good market for yoga, meditation, psychotherapy, travel, and art.