"As this book should have indicated by now, the more one is familiar with different cultures, the more one understands that they are not all created equal. An honest multiculturalism would recognize that some cultural traits are not helpful in the sustenance of a healthy democratic political system and capitalist economy."
The above citation comes from the 1995 book Trust by Francis Fukuyama. Fukuyama says the neoclassical economy is to 80% correct. The rest is culture dependent. All individuals are created equal with human rights to match but then they end up in various cultures with different potentials.
I found this book when I arrived at the conclusion that I did not know how to increase trust in societies that lacked this. Fukuyama's book does not mention the Middle East as low-trust but well France and Italy that aspires to good relations with the low-trust North Africa and Middle East in the Club Med association. He does not have a recipe for increasing trust either.
The main message of the book is that familiarism countries, with low-trust to people outside the family, like China or Italy, does not produce such large corporations like high-trust countries like Japan, Germany and the US. These countries would then not have the same potential economically. China today seems to defy this rule, however. Perhaps they are compensating for high-trust outside the family with "systems" of people held together by fear?
Leading by example is in my opinion much superior to leading by fear. Protestantism offered a more individualistic situation for people that then could relate to each other rather than to an authority like the parish priest. The fear of God was not used as a motivation. God became someone you related to directly on a more equal basis than Catholics and Muslims.
If the high-trust outside the family has not passed the North/South divide in Europe it is not likely that it will spread to North Africa and the Middle East. Today we have a situation in Europe where Southern European countries are in worse economic shape than Northern states. It should be remembered in this context that the Western Civilization started in the Netherlands and England. Cultural factors then important for breaking the Malthusian ceiling could still be in operation.
As Fukuyama points out, the melting pot America have managed to unite around common values and principles but have recently performed worse in this context. Fukuyama speaks about individualism taking precedence. The EU project is in actuality not even trying with its divisive motto "united in diversity". Is this good or bad? Perhaps it all depends on how large the optimal size of a nation is.
Dialoger om Öst i Visby.
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