Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Culture and Wealth Creation

Culture is an important element to a society's wealth-creation.

Suppose you live in a culture in which members of your culture encourage each other to do well, whether it be in school or financially or any other aspect of life. If you do well, your family is happy about it. Your parents want you to have a better life than they had. People are willing to help you do well -- even if there is an expectation that when you do do well, that you will reach down and help those who helped you. Perhaps it is precisely due to this expectation. Doing well is praised and admired. When you see that someone has more than you, you are inspired to try to achieve what that person has achieved.

Now suppose you live in a culture in which members of your culture do not encourage each other to do well. If you do well, your family complains you think you're better than they are. Your parents expect you to have the same life as they had. Nobody is willing to help you, and there is no expectation that when you do well, that you will help anyone. Doing well is disparaged and seen as evidence you cheated someone somewhere somehow. When you see that someone has more than you, you are envious and wish they did not have more than you.

Let's take it up a notch. Let's suppose you live in a culture in which people actively discourage each other to do well. If you do well, you are shamed and shunned. Your parents don't care if you have a worse life than they had, so long as it's not better. People are actively trying to tear you down; everyone is out for themselves and expect to better their position by stabbing others in the back. Doing well is definite proof that you are a liar and a cheater, at best. When you see that someone has more than you, that is evidence they are a thief, and it is perfectly acceptable to steal and cheat to separate that person from their wealth.

Which of these cultures will result in the creation of wealth? Which of these cultures will create a stagnant culture? Which of these cultures will wallow in poverty?

Which of these is a high-trust society? Which is a low-trust one?

Which of these would you prefer to live in? What are you doing to live in it?

In what direction is American culture evolving? Why?
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