Where Should the Change Begin? Culture, Economy, Both?
The “Culture of Poverty” argues that one is poor because of the cultural practices. In effect directly correlating culture and economics – what’s not being said is causality -does culture cause poor economics – or does poor economics cause lack of culture.
Culture as Driver of Change
“The culture of poverty analysis, despite its flaws, points to a third way to provide help. The third way to help is to teach people to swim. Then they can save themselves. Rather than focusing on the pathologies that make them flail in the water of inequality, fighting off attempts to save them, slipping deeper underwater, we can think about how we can help people to swim better.”- http://bit.ly/8Y34eN
Culture and its Impact on the Economy
Correlation analysis of culture and economics – http://bit.ly/b7MUEW – “a region’s economic development not only depends on the infrastructure construction and other “hard power”, but also relies on “soft power”, and cultural force is the most important “soft power”. Cultural factors change slowly, not easily, but culture can eventually change to encourage entrepreneurship. In the long term, a culture of nurturing and rewarding entrepreneurs can possibly attract new businesses and further activate the latent entrepreneurship characteristics of its residents.” – exploit the synergy.
Synergy of Culture and Economy
Introducing Economic Sociology –
Economic sociology is the sociological analysis of economic phenomena. As Dobbin (2004) points out, economic modernization can be seen as a series of societal projects. There was the project of developing intercontinental trades routes–e.g. Europe’s East India trading companies and colonizing monarchs. There was the project of building large-scale factories with wage labor forces nearby–e.g. early industrialists in Massachusetts and Manchester. There was also the project of divorcing the economy from society and polity (Polanyi 1944)–e.g. 18th century capitalists, politicians, philosophers, and social observers. One manifestition of the intellectual side of the project of splitting economy from society was the division of economics and sociology into distinct disciplines. Eventhough, prior to this the dividing line between the economics and sociology was very difficult to draw (Marx, Weber, Durkheim). As a result of this intellectual division of labor, economists developed highly abstract and formalized models of the economy based on individual self-interest and rationality. Sociologists, however, developed empirical case studies that typically showed that the economy was not a distinct realm, it was in fact enmeshed in social life. Contemporary economic sociology attempts to bring economy and society back together. The starting point is to understand the social processes, day-to-day practices, and social mechanisms underlying economic markets.
Culture affects economics – economics affects culture. A reductionist silo approach is to decouple culture from economics. However, both feed on mutual synergies – change in attitudes does affect your economics – and a change in economic status allows you cultural experiences that will change your cultural outlook We can wind up debating about the heads or tails – of the same coin – the CED or the Culture Economy Dialectic.
Systemic Behavior Modification
Changing culture (as in knowledge, attitudes, values, lifestyles and practices) can be achieved thru behavior modification strategies – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior_modification – and – http://www.minddisorders.com/A-Br/Behavior-modification.html – to do so, needs a system of fines and rewards.
The current Philippine socioeconomic system fines and rewards “counterproductive behavior”. Going back to the economics – the 60/40 provisions are structural flaws that prevent optimal capital formation due to protectionism. The empirical studies on the impact of protectionism are pretty much well covered and I don’t have to belabor the obvious that protectionism and import substitution models don’t work.
The acceptability of this policy environment is sustained by a broad range of cultural influences delivered through media channels. The content distributed through these channels detract attention and focus from the core issues of economics and empowerment and steer it towards instant gratification, escapism, and patronage.
With the application of operant conditioning techniques such as rewards for watching wowowee – the masses can be steered towards behavior that they wouldn’t do in normal circumstances. Continuous reinforcement of behavior such as relying on variety shows as a ticket to success – instead of gunning for a level economic playing ensures that discussions on critical topics don’t even take off. And should these topics be mentioned, these can be easily swept under the carpet as being trivial – and the conditioned response of “bahala na”.
Replicate all these, and have infinite iterations, and you get an idea how the likes of Estrada, Aquino, Lapid, et al land positions of authority to the utter disadvantage of the country.
Going into a coerced 60/40 Joint venture where Filipnos MUST be the majority isn’t really a good way of inviting foreign investments – whether it is in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, services, utilities, etc.Thus, the need to “fix it” (the economic policy framework in the constitution) – and jumpstart an environment that stimulates innovation, competition, and capital formation – more efficient, free markets which allow local and foreign investors to compete or collaborate on a voluntary basis.
Change Management: Staging the Delivery of “Fixes”
1) Our existing resources; and
2) Experience in previous attempts at charter change – with reference to prior experiences on Con-Con, Con-Ass, and Initiative.
Lots agree that systems change is needed – the heaviest decision to make on their part – is whether these should be done as:
Approach A – charter change-in-toto (as has been done before by Pedrosa et al) ; or,
Approach B – as a sequence of propositions/referendum/initiatives on specific provisions – evolving piecemeal changes which by the time the entire process is completed – the output is also like charter change in-to-to
With reference to Approach A – given the experience – there are too many moving parts – and there are too many vested interests – expect the monumental pushback.
By the looks of it – Approach B, is more doable in the short-term to jump start the process systemic behavioral modification.
How about you? What’s your take on the Culture and Economy dialogue?