Essays on Development Economics & Culture Essay
24 February Are Culture Traditions Enduring and do they Shape the Political and Economic Behavior of their Societies?
What is culture? Over time and among researchers, the term has had varying explanations. However, all agree that culture is a symbol of what human beings in a group or society tend to do more often and accept as the norm. Hence, it can be explained from varying perspectives. Culture though, is a dependent term that relies on the economic and political factors at hand. It may be the reason; Fukuyama, Putnam, and Harrison opine that the traditions defining a culture are extraordinarily lasting. They say that these traditions tend to define the economic and political comportments of their pertinent societies. However, the question is, is this true? This paper seeks to answer the question.
Usually, culture is a large composition of varying aspects. Some of these aspects include the symbolic interchange, the identity, the practices, and structures that comprise relationships among a large group of people like rituals, ethnicity, and beliefs (Rao and Walton 4). Thus, it starts form the individual spreading on to a large group of people over a long period. The length taken for factors to contribute and make up the culture of a people constitute the endurance indicated by Weber, Harrison, and Putnam.
Distinguishing cultural traditions do exist. These unique cultural traditions have an important political, social, and economic impact. An example is given of the similarities that existed in their economies between South Korea and Ghana in the beginning of the Sixties. The countries had a near similar Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, they received economic aid from Western powers of nearly the same amount. However, fast forward, South Korea has grown to an economic power while Ghana languishes in economic poverty. The Ghanaian political class seems like it has done little to solve the economic issues at hand (Tettey, Puplampu and Berman 352). Why is this so?
It is stated that the culture traditions of the two countries have led to the current differences in the political and economic differences between the two countries. For the South Koreans, investment, prudence, education, discipline, and hard work are major cultural traditions that exist among them. The Ghanaians have different cultural traditions like corruption, and the political cultural traditions show a political class that is insensitive to the economy and its people (Tettey, Puplampu and Berman 352).
Due to the cultural traditions, development, which is linked to positive economic health, can be affected just like in Ghana’s case. It is associated with a pattern of continuous practices that amount to the cultural traditions of the society under evaluation. On the other hand, the politics of a society are defined by its cultural traditions, unless there is external interference. The fact that a society or country had a monarchy in the past has an effect to its present political structure, which is a sign of enduring cultural traditions (Inglehart 1).
Hence, from the evidence given, it can be said that it is true cultural traditions do define the economic and political behavior of their respective societies. Cultural traditions have a strong effect on nearly every aspect of a society no matter the size of the factor. All societies have cultural traditions that are attributed to them. They are the cultural traditions that help researchers define and describe a society.
Inglehart, Ronald. "Culture and Democracy." n.d. Web. 24 February 2015.
Rao, Vijayendra and Michael Walton, Cukture and Public Action. Stanford, 2004. Print.
Tettey, Wisdom, J, Korbia, P Puplampu and Bruce, J Berman, Critical Perspectives in Politics and Socio-Economic Development in Ghana. Danvers: BRILL, 2003. Print.