The chase of always wanting to be modern helps create the image that one is more advanced than another.
America chased this greatly in the 20th century because they had something to prove. They were the baby nation of all the greats like France, Italy, England, and so on. We wanted to prove that even with less experience as a nation of like ideals and passions, we could keep up, or even surpass the greats. That is why we attacked so hard on staying modern.
One of the places I see this the most is in American airports.