Sunday, December 17, 2006

Culture Studies

The Washington Post has an interesting column today on the role of culture in political and economic development, written by the head of the Culture Matters Research Project at Tufts University, where they have been surveying global cultural practices and how they affect developing nations.

1 comment:

Henry said...

The discussion of culture here is nice. This quote:
"The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself."

does a surprisingly good job of summarizing much of our discussion of late.

I find the author's discussion of how politics can change culture to be all very pie in the sky. I mean this statement of his position doesn't seem to make any sense:

"However, it is extremely difficult to impose such changes from outside; war is not a helpful instrument. Better tools include education that inculcates democratic and entrepreneurial values; improved child-rearing practices; religious reform; and development assistance keyed to cultural change."

Aside from the development assistance I don't see how any of these things could be influenced from the ouside. We could pressure governments to do more along these lines, but if they are uncooperative, the only alternative would be to walk away or to change the regime.

I could say considereably more about this interesting article but I'm gonna stop here. I'm never too confident that comments on items three posts back will ever be seen.