Portable Culture

“…all of the underdeveloped or underprivileged countries or cultures I worked in were plagued by the same things: disrespect for law, lack of cooperation with one another, acquiescence to (and extertion of) unbridled authority, passivity when encountering problems, absence of civic consciousness, lack of trust, and selfish pursuit of narrow personal interest. It is much more politically acceptable for scholars such as Jared Diamond to blame geography, insufficient resources, or ‘guns, germs, and steel’ for the failure of so many cultures, but this entirely begs the question of why certain groups — most notably, the Jews or East Asians — thrive wherever they are allowed to take root. In each case, they have a ‘portable culture’ of extremely healthy and adaptive values that stand them in good stead.”

— Lawrence Harrison, USAID Director


January 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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