Trust & Neocons

I’m reading Francis Fukuyama’s book Trust. He argues that a culture’s ablity to support spontainous sociablity and hence form numerous overlapping organizations with is key to lowering transaction costs and creating economic vitality.

He spends a lot of time on various national and religious cultural frameworks; contrasting them with that model. Here, for example, is a list of attributes of that appear to be lifted from Weber’s The Protestant Ethic

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Max Weber
  • hard work
  • frugality
  • rationality
  • innovativeness
  • openness
  • honesty
  • reliablity
  • cooperativeness
  • sense of duty to others
  • the capacity to cohere in new communtities
  • service

I was struck by how few of these I would be tempted to ascribe to the neocons. Curious.

He has something very interesting to say about “family values”. He argues that countries with extremely family centric ethical frameworks (for example in Confucism family loyality trumps all other kinds) tend to have very few organizations that exist outside of the family circle. In such nations the demand for such intermediate organizations must be met by the federal government.

He makes an interesting point about totalitarian regimes, like the Communists or the French monarcy, where they view all other organisations as competitors and labor to wipe them out. That reminded me of a similar pattern in religious cults that treat anything outside the cult (family, job, thoughts, etc.) as a competitor that to be suppressed.

In turn that got me thinking about how hard that is in a world with lots and lots of communications channels. Why you’d practically need a war to get people not to notice that the Bush tax cuts are making good progress thru the congress, or that there were tornados recently in the Southern United States.

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