Wednesday, February 01, 2012

It's not Race; it's Tribes

Rev Dan Harper posts on UUs, Race, and Liberal Religion.

The notion of Race one of those nasty pseudo science terms from the 19th Century with little application today.

Tribes and tribalism however concepts with some science behind them, and Capitalists know it. Check The Economist's Schumpeter column today: The power of tribes Businesspeople need to reckon with the Anglosphere, the Sinosphere and the Indosphere
EVER since the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the old, neat division between East and West, people have been inventing new ways of dividing up the world. In the 1990s it was fashionable to talk about America, Europe and Japan. Today pundits draw the line between emerged and the emerging markets.

Joel Kotkin, a geographer, suggests another frame of reference. In “The New World Order”, a paper for the Legatum Institute, a think-tank in London, he looks at the world through the prism of culture. The ties of history and habit—of shared experiences and common customs—can explain a lot about who does business with whom. Mr Kotkin quotes Ibn Khaldun, a 14th-century Arab historian: “Only tribes held together by a group feeling can survive in a desert.” Substitute “globalised economy” for “desert” and this describes the modern world quite well.
And culture maters...
Cultural ties matter in business because they lower transaction costs. Tribal loyalty fosters trust. Cultural affinity supercharges communication. Reading a contract is useful, but you also need to be able to read people. Even as free trade and electronic communications bring the world closer together, kinship still counts. Indians in Silicon Valley team up with other Indians; Chinese-Americans do business with Taiwan and Shanghai.
We UUs regardless of color tend to be firmly in the Anglosphere. Like it or not, that's our fate, but our great advantage ought to be our spot in the North American corner of that sphere with the cultural habit of destroying the old, building anew, regardless of one's heritage, and culture. Welcoming those fleeing theirs.

It makes us an odd and unsettling bunch, but we UUs ought revel in it, preach it, be wary of it's limits though. Most of all understand its our Tribe.

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