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Extra resources for Art Actuel, n°80 (mai à juin 2012)

Example text

So strangers found and sold the goods and made the money. Because culture and economic performance are linked, changes in one will work back on the other. In Thailand, all good young men used to spend years undergoing a religious apprenticeship in Buddhist monasteries. This period of ripening was good for the spirit and soul; it also suited the somnolent pace of traditional economic activity and employment. That was then. Today, Thailand moves faster; commerce thrives; businesscalls. As a result, young men spiritualize for a fewweeks-time enough to learn some prayers and rituals and get back to the real, material world.

Education is crucial, but so is the type of education sought and what the education is used to accomplish. Saving is good, but only if the savings are deployed in productive ways. Indeed, the same cultural attribute can have vastly different implications for economic progress in different societies, or even in the same society at different times. Frugality, for example, served Japan well until its recent prolonged recession; now it is an obstacle to recovery. The investigation of a wide range of successful nations, including the United States, Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile, and Costa Rica, reveals wide and subtle cultural differences associated with improving economic circumstancesthat further belie a simple connection between culture and prosperity.

In1852, he wrote, in words that anticipated what MaxWeber would write fifty years later, Respect the altarof every belief. Spanish America, limited to Catholicism to the exclusion of any other religion, resembles a solitary and silent conventof nuns. . To exclude different religions in South America to is exclude the English, the Germans, the Swiss, the North Americans, which is to say the very people this continent most needs. z Some have attributed Argentina’s low rate of savings to rapid population growth and high rates of immigration-to which I would add bad habits of conspicuous consumption.

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Art Actuel, n°80 (mai à juin 2012)


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