CULTURE AND THE NEED FOR DEMOCRACY

 

 

              Culture and the need for democracy

 

                                                    Huib Wursten (huibwursten@gmail.com)

                     

According to the 2019 report of Freedom House, democracy is not something to take for granted. They concluded: “A total of 68 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties during 2018, with only 50 registering gains”(*1)

The Freedom House reports is not the only source sounding alarm about the state of democracy. A May 8, 2018 article the New York Times asked: “Why Are So Many Democracies Breaking Down?

It said: “Italy, Poland, Hungary and even Spain: European democracy is in shambles. Critical threats to democracy have also surfaced in countries like Turkey, Brazil and the Philippines. Under President Trump’s “America First” orientation, leaders with authoritarian tendencies in places as disparate as Egypt, Honduras, Russia, and Venezuela have trampled their political opponents without concern for anything more harmful than a tongue-lashing from the United States. (*2)

The question is:  why do so many democracies backslide toward authoritarianism?

Many scholars point to the erosion of a social consensus about the rules of the game and norms of civility toward “others” in society

Several reasons can be quoted.

For instance, Frédéric Worms, in his book Les maladies chroniques de la démocratie is saying that no one democracy is static. Democracy is a way of keeping different groups and interests in balance. Our societies are in constant change. New groups evolve  and external changes like climate change, wars, mass immigration, a financial crisis can influence the balance. That’s why it is important to see democracy as a process. We have to be alert. A process is never completed. (*3)

In the introduction of my forthcoming book (*4) I write about my observation that societal arrangements are always developed to give answers to the problems of a certain period in time. These answers have the tendency to “freeze” and not be agile enough to adapt to constant changes. In other words: constant maintenance is required.

Another factor for the uneasiness in finding new rules for democracy is that there is still not enough real understanding that democracy is not taking the same shape in every country. In a paper on the EU (*5) we showed that how democracy in the UK is different  from the one in Switzerland, the Netherlands or France. These differences can be explained by the value configuration of the countries. It was also shown that it can be explained in a systematic way by 6 culture clusters

To analyze the confusion in the discussions about the shape of democracy I will follow up on the conclusion from a paper on “Happiness” :

What is very important for the well- being of people is the perception of “Autonomy” This autonomy is defined as the freedom to make your own decisions and to determine your own future is one of the basic needs of adult human beings

The importance of this basic need was recently confirmed again by psychiatrists (*7)

The decline in support for democracy can be explained to a great extent by the perception of many people that they don’t have a say in the decisions shaping their lives as a consequence of globalization of businesses and internationalization of decision-making. For instance  in the EU.

As illustration, four recent examples about this perception of loss of autonomy. In the remainder of this article we use the abbreviation POLOA for the Perception of loss of Autonomy

  1. Brexit

. In a very clever way the Leave side in the UK was able to influence the Referendum to leave the European Union by a slogan “Take Back Control” This suggested a sense of loss of rightful “ownership”. It also suggested that the politicians were not able to influence the decision making in “Brussels” and to represent their interest. True or not that was not the concern of Peter Cummings, the one who  was behind the slogan of the Brexiteers. As we analyzed before in a paper on culture and truth, in  Contest countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia) the definition of truth is: “Truth is what works”

 

  1. The mood in the Middle- and Eastern European countries.

Reports show that there is a general feeling in Middle and Eastern European countries of lack of control over their own lives. Citizens of these countries complain that after the fall of the dominating Soviet empire they expected to be more free. What happened instead is that, in their perception: the ideology changed, but many of the people in power during Communism are still in positions of power nowadays. Moreover they feel that they were freed from the coercion by the Soviet Union and voluntarily joined the European Union. But now they discover that the rules of the EU are strongly limiting their freedom of decision making. It is frustrating  because in their minds it amounts to a perceived feeling of again lacking control over their own lives.

  1. Subsidiarity and the drive for centralization.

 

Recently Peter Vandermeersch, the parting Editor in Chief of the Dutch newspaper NRC was interviewed in De Morgen, a Belgian equivalent (*9). This was interesting for several reasons. Most of all because Vandermeersch was born and raised in Belgium. Still he was asked to be the chief of a Dutch newspaper. Being exposed to Dutch society he could see the differences in the two political/societal value systems. He discovered that in spite of some criticisms he liked the new environment. It was so strong that he asked a for naturalization.

He analyzed the differences in attitudes of Belgians and Dutch about leadership in the EU. These observations lead to an intriguing heading of the article: The Dutch think that Verhofstadt is the devil. And Rightly so”

Vandermeersch: The Dutch fear the Verhofstadt narrative. Not because they are afraid of Europe, but because the Netherlands is a democracy, an independent nation-state. And because we want to check the people we give power. This is one of the reasons why I became a Dutch citizen. The citizen is much more central in the thinking, also for the public administration. If in my street half a stone is replaced I am fully informed about it “

Vandermeersch was talking about a very important cultural difference between two neighboring countries, partly using the same language:  acceptance of hierarchy

In the fundamental research of Geert Hofstede (*10) Belgium scores high on this cultural dimension, while the Netherlands is scoring low, meaning that hierarchy is not seen as an existential fact of life but only accepted for convenience.

In a hierarchical culture people accept that decisions are made top-down. It is the privilege of the people who are at the top of the pyramid. In the small Power distance countries people see it as self- evident that decision making takes place bottom up preferably as close as possible to the level where the people have to cope with the consequences.

Verhofstadt, the leader of the liberal faction of the European Parliament, is a fervent fan of more centralization in the EU. As a Belgian this is for him a no brainer.

This is just an example of how much culture is influencing the thinking of people and how much this is underestimated in “Brussels”

Of course lip-service is paid to the “diversity” of the European environment. We have to celebrate this diversity some politicians say. Again an underestimation of what it means in reality

In a special series of articles of the Economist about Management gurus, Geert Hofstede was pictured as the Godfather of Empirical cultural research. The heading of the article was a quote of Hofstede: “Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster”

It is said that Monet, one of the Godfathers of the EU idea once said in a discussion: I know that Europe is culturally very diverse and that the social systems are a reflection of that. But let us first build solid institutions so that the policies are irreversible. Then it is time to go back to culture and debate the diversity

The implications of culture were subject of discussion during the preparation of  the Maastricht treaty. It lead to a clever decision about the steering principle for the EU: subsidiarity. Subsidiarity means that the higher levels in the EU should only decide about these subject that cannot be dealt with at the local level

Consequently the implications were underestimated. More and more decisions are seen as the realm of “Brussels”. More and more people have the impression that the discussions and decisions are made without taking the concern of the local concerns. Brexit and the resistance against Verhofstadt are a reflection on that.

The urgent implication of this lack of understanding the importance of culture is that the growing feeling of POLOA can only be reversed by going back to the principle of subsidiarity and to have extreme transparency to the EU citizens about what can only be done by the central level.

  1. Cosmopolitan thinking versus the influence of Nation States

For a long time it was rather clear what exactly the culture of a country entailed. However, as a result of globalization increasingly there is tension between “the values” of people calling themselves Cosmopolitans and people believing in the importance of the “mores” of the nation-states.  The Cosmopolitans claim that the concept of the nation-state is  outdated and morally doubtful.  They even question the existence of something like a dominant national culture.

On the opposite side are people claiming that the nation-state is very much alive and they continue to give their citizens protection against the risks and negative outcomes of globalization and they emphasize the importance of national culture. (*11)

   Cosmopolitans and universal values

Cosmopolitans have the tendency to see the big trends everywhere on the globe and see values as applicable to the human race This thinking culminates in discussing the worldwide trends in a rational way and by strongly emphasizing the Universal declaration of human rights. The same rights for all people, not looking at colour, in-group membership, religious affiliation gender or sexual preference.

However, this positive way of thinking can sometimes lead to the perception that they are not showing real empathy for how these abstract moral values can have harsh consequences for people living in their own local reality.  The challenge that lies ahead is to strike a new balance between analysing global trends and developments and promoting the rights of people on a global scale at one hand but also to show willingness to listen to the real concerns for what it means for people having to live the consequences in the local communities.

It is one thing to talk easily about “creative destruction” and it is another thing to have empathy for the consequences for local people trying to cope with all the changes that are happening because of mass immigration and the globalization of economy, technology and finance. It is easy to talk and write about the expectation that digitalization, 3D printing and robotizing is leading to destruction of industries and as a result in a loss of employment. It is another thing to neglect the hardship for the local victims. It is easy to talk about the need to accept (illegal) immigrants, to be tolerant towards other religions, to accept the need for free trade and free movement of people inside the EU. But all this is different if you are confronted with your children who cannot find housing because of the need to accommodate immigrants. It is different if people in the name of a religion  are committing terrorist acts in own your direct environment or if you lose your job because of Bulgarian and Romanian truck drivers who work much cheaper outside obligatory local contracts in the Netherlands or Belgium.

To avoid POLOA, it is a must for societal policy makers to create a new narrative for people how to cope with the problems of their children and how to find meaningful solutions for them.

Think globally, act locally

It is a necessity to understand that the problems are international. At the other hand, if we want to give people the feeling they have control over their destiny, solutions need necessarily to follow the “rules of the game” of the culture at hand with real concern for the reality of people who are not living in a vacuum but in a concrete the nation-state with historic roots, history and values.

  Control and populism

Giving back control does not mean that it should lead to simplification of complex problems. The trap is that some  people favor politicians who promise to give back a feeling of being in control. to their electorate in a simple way.

“Do something about (illegal) immigrants taking your jobs”; “be firm towards criminal North Africans or “drug smuggling Mexicans” and send them back to the home country of their (grand) parents” and everything will be alright, they promise.

What should be done is hat the local citizens should be heard and be taken seriously in their need to find solutions for their problems But this should be balanced with the need to solve complex and global problems on a global scale, taking the Universal human rights as the principled approach. To say it in other words: if we want to give back to people the feeling of being in control, human rights are a leading principle but should not be applied without a consequential analysis together with local people

The importance of the nation-state

For a better understanding, let’s go back to the meaning of cosmopolitan.

Cosmopolitanism refers to an inclusive moral, encompassing economic, and/or political relationship between individuals of different nations. In this way cosmopolitans are zooming out of the daily reality of nation states.

   At the other side are people believing in the importance of Nation-States

  This concept has two meaningful parts:

   Nation: people sharing a certain territory and having a shared national

               Consciousness and in principle accepting…

   State:   ..the authority, legitimacy and power of their

               political administration.

In contrast to cosmopolitans, the scholars believing in the influence of nation states strongly emphasize that people develop and define their values and norms in the context of the of the Nation State

The norms are based on the historical developments of the country and are formalized in agreed upon laws.

The visible and invisible “mores”  of the nation-state are an important element of the emotional identification of people.

Cosmopolitanism can lead to indifference against the roots of people. Luc Devoldere (*12) says: “False Cosmopolitism is a cosmopolitism that has no roots and as a result remains  empty. We are only good Europeans with our focus if we know how to keep our rich cultural tradition alive”.

Nation states, values, emotions and control.

Geert Hofstede defines culture in a broad anthropological sense as:  

The “Collective programming of the human mind”, where strong emotions are attached.

Some highly profiled politicians, writers and philosophers are convinced that globalization is changing national values and that it is old-fashioned to believe that country values are stable and create deeply rooted diverse mindsets. Even stronger, some of them are saying that referring to culture is to be compared to apartheid on a global scale. And apartheid is racism and fascism in one encompassing word (*13)

In his research Hofstede found that what people call cultural preferences are not a result of genes or chromosomes, they are the outcome of a subconscious learning process starting from the moment we are born. He calls this “programming”.  He found in his empirical research that the content of this programming is best understood by looking at the level of the Nation-State”. 

This idea that country values are old fashioned is refuted by the recent repeat of Hofstede’s research published in June 2015 by Beugelsdijk et al (*14). They showed that, in spite of global developments, the Hofstede findings are still valid and consistent over time and valid. This means that “national values” should be taken into account, when talking about the consequences of globalization

The misunderstanding is that Cosmopolitans believe that culture is about the symbols, heroes and rituals from the past. What they do not really understand is that, what is important and consistent over time are values, the deepest layer of culture “ These values are consistent over time and define the attitudes and sensitivities of the citizens.

This is neglected by the cosmopolitans. Talking about immigration a cosmopolitan thinker, Enzensberger (*15) used the train compartment as a metaphor for the nation-state:  some people are already sitting in the compartment. Then the door opens and others are stepping in. The ones who were already there feel annoyed by the newcomers. They are disturbing the peace and are taking available room. You know, of course, that your feelings are “not right.” They have just as much right for a chair as you have.

What they refuse to recognize is the importance of emotional component.

Political commentator Martin Sommer says: “the nation-state as something you purchase a ticket for and nothing else? No history, no shared destiny, no obligations? I don’t think so. He adds: “When using the train compartment metaphor it is clear what some globalists are seeing as the European identity. That is to say: no identity. The European identity is about human rights, across borders, post- colonial, post Auschwitz. That’s why Europe cannot have real borders; because borders mean exclusion”.(*16)

As a result, a polarization is growing between the emotions of people on the “grass roots” level who feel POlOA in the different nation-states in Europe, and the “rational” opinions of the globalists who believe that it is “stupid” to be afraid.

Conclusion:

To bring back the feeling of control for the citizens of nation states it is a must to recognize the local consequences of global developments and to involve the members of the nation states in discussing real solutions in terms of the local rules of the game. The powerful contribution of cultural knowledge is that seven local rules of the game are recently identified that can enable people to make some sense of how to approach the challenges in today’s confusing world.

  1. Wealth, inequality, democracy and control

In 2013 Thomas Piketty put the issue of inequality again on the political agenda by his book Capital in the Twenty –First Century. His theme is the consequences of wealth concentration and wealth distribution.

Piketty shows  that we are on a path back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the economy is not controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.

Piketty proposes new wealth taxes, global if possible, to limit the power of inherited wealth.

Inherited wealth is dangerous for two reasons:

  • Piketty suggests that the very size of inherited fortunes in a way makes them invisible: “Wealth is so concentrated that a large segment of society is virtually unaware of its existence, so that some people imagine that it belongs to surreal or mysterious entities.”
  • The group of people with inherited wealth can buy influence. It is for instance amazing to see the amount of billionaires that are involved in US elections. This is unacceptable because they can pull strings outside the control of the general public, leading to POLOA.

 

 

 

6 Global companies and the need for (political) control

 

  In discussions about global trade it is seen as a growing problem that companies operate worldwide and as a result stay mainly out of the control of the Governments of the countries where they do business.

One particular issue is taxes.

Global companies try to arrange their global business in such a way that they pay no taxes or as low a rate as possible. They try to locate their administrative HQ in countries where the political authorities for whatever reasons allow this to happen.

This is a nuisance in the eyes of many citizens worldwide that are politically aware.

The call is again to take back control.

Here France is interesting. France is the example of a hierarchical country with citizens who feel POLOA. It is the country of the nation- wide protest of the Yellow Vests, citizens who feel they lost control. But France is also for the same reasons a country believing strongly in the power of the central Government.

Surprisingly enough  France just decided to do something about the untouchable position of the global companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. They decided to have a 3% e-tax for these companies

For a long time the global companies were making politicians and citizens powerless. But see: France is now the shining example of a country daring to do something about it..

 

 

 

Bibliography

*1 Freedom in the world 2019. Democracy in Retreat. www.Freedomhouse.org

*2 New York Times May 8 , 2018 : Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo, Why are so many Democracies Breaking Down?

*3 Worms Frédéric.  Les maladies chroniques de la démocratie. ISBN: 2220085139 Editeur: Desclee de Brouwer

*4 Wursten Huib. In my forthcoming book The seven Mental Images of culture. To appear in September 2019.

*5 Huib Wursten, Fernando Lanzer. The EU: the third great European cultural contribution to the world (2012) http://www.clubofamsterdam.com/contentarticles/86%20Europe/itim%20eu%20report.pdf

*6 Wursten Huib. Culture and Happiness. Some reflections. Journal of Intercultural

   Management and Ethics. ISSP 2601-5749 Issue no 3, 2018

*7 Verbraak, C. (2016, December 16). Een leven zonder angst is ongehoord saai. Retrieved from: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/12/16/een-leven-zonder-angst-is-ongehoord-saai-5774858-a1537150

*8 Wursten Huib, Truth? What truth? Truth and Fake through a cultural lens.    

  Journal of Intercultural Management and Ethics. ISSP 2601-5749 Issue no 1, 2018

(*9) Peter Vandermeersch: “Nederlanders vinden Verhofstadt de duivel. En terecht”

 Interview in De Morgen 15-02-2019: Tot Nederlander genaturaliseerde journalist stopt als hoofdredacteur NRC en gaat weer schrijven. Joël De Ceulaer

*10 Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov, “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

(*11) Wursten Huib, Cosmopolitans and the values of the nation state          https://www.academia.edu/32313081/Huib Wursten Cosmopolitans and the values of the nation state

(*12) Luc Devoldere Hoofdredacteur Ons Erfdeel:Tegen de kruideniers. Over talen, Europa en geheugen(De Bezige Bij, Antwerpen, 2014

(*13) Martin Sommer, “de Volkskrant” in his column on 25 July 2016

(*14) Beugelsdijk, S., Maseland, R. and van Hoorn, A. (2015), Are Scores on Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Stable over Time? A Cohort Analysis. Global Strategy Journal, 5: 223–240. doi: 10.1002/gsj.1098

(*15) Entzenberger Hans Magnus, Die Große Wanderung, essays, Frankfurt aM/ Suhrkamp1992

(*16 ) Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the 2019 report of Freedom House, democracy is not something to take for granted. They concluded: “A total of 68 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties during 2018, with only 50 registering gains”(*1) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Freedom House reports are not the only source sounding alarm about the state of democracy. A May 8, 2018 article in the New York Times asked: “Why Are So Many Democracies Breaking Down?”

 It said: “Italy, Poland, Hungary and even Spain: European democracy is in shambles. Critical threats to democracy have also surfaced in countries like Turkey, Brazil and the Philippines. Under President Trump’s “America First” orientation, leaders with authoritarian tendencies in places as disparate as Egypt, Honduras, Russia, and Venezuela have trampled their political opponents without concern for anything more harmful than a tongue-lashing from the United States. (*2)

 The question is:  why do so many democracies backslide toward authoritarianism? 

 Many scholars point to the erosion of a social consensus about the rules of the game and norms of civility toward “others” in society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Several reasons can be quoted.

 For instance, Frédéric Worms, in his book Les maladies chroniques de la démocratie is saying that no one democracy is static. Democracy is a way of keeping different groups and interests in balance. Our societies are in constant change. New groups evolve, and external changes like climate change, wars, mass immigration, and a financial crisis can influence the balance. That’s why it is important to see democracy as a process. We have to be alert. A process is never completed. (*3)

 In my book (*4) I write about my observation that societal arrangements are always developed to give answers to the problems of a certain period in time. These answers have the tendency to “freeze” and not be agile enough to adapt to constant changes. In other words: constant maintenance is required.

 Another factor for the uneasiness in finding new rules for democracy is that there is still not enough real understanding that democracy is not taking the same shape in every country. In a paper on the EU (*5), we showed how democracy in the UK is different from the Netherlands, Germany or France. These differences can be explained by the value configuration of the countries. It was also shown that it can be explained in a systematic way by 6 culture clusters 

 To analyze the confusion in the discussions about the shape of democracy I will follow up on the conclusion from a paper on “Happiness” :

 What is very important for the well-being of people is the perception of “Autonomy” This autonomy is defined as the freedom to make your own decisions and to determine your own future is one of the basic needs of adult human beings

 The importance of this basic need was recently confirmed again by psychiatrists (*7) 

 The decline in support for democracy can be explained to a great extent by the perception of many people that they don’t have a say in the decisions shaping their lives as a consequence of the globalization of businesses and internationalization of decision-making. For instance in the EU.

 As an illustration, here are four recent examples of this perception of loss of autonomy. In the remainder of this article, we use the abbreviation POLOA for the Perception of Loss of Autonomy.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Brexit. In a very clever way, the Leave side in the UK was able to influence the Referendum to leave the European Union by a slogan “Take Back Control.” This suggested a sense of loss of rightful “ownership”. It also suggested that the politicians were not able to influence the decision making in “Brussels” and to represent their interest. True or not that was not the concern of Peter Cummings, the one who  was behind the slogan of the Brexiteers. As we analyzed before in a paper on culture and truth, in  Contest countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia) the definition of truth is: “Truth is what works.                                                                                    
  2. The mood in the Middle- and Eastern European countries.Reports show that there is a general feeling in Middle and Eastern European countries of lack of control over their own lives. Citizens of these countries complain that after the fall of the dominating Soviet empire they expected to be more free. What happened instead is that, in their perception: the ideology changed, but many of the people in power during Communism are still in positions of power nowadays. Moreover they feel that they were freed from the coercion by the Soviet Union and voluntarily joined the European Union. But now they discover that the rules of the EU are strongly limiting their freedom of decision making. It is frustrating  because in their minds it amounts to a perceived feeling of again lacking control over their own lives.
  3. Subsidiarity and the drive for centralization. Recently Peter Vandermeersch, the parting Editor in Chief of the Dutch newspaper NRC was interviewed in De Morgen, a Belgian equivalent (*9). This was interesting for several reasons. Most of all because Vandermeersch was born and raised in Belgium. Still, he was asked to be the chief of a Dutch newspaper. Being exposed to Dutch society he could see the differences in the two political/societal value systems. He discovered that in spite of some criticisms he liked the new environment. It was so strong that he asked for naturalization. He analyzed the differences in attitudes of Belgians and Dutch about leadership in the EU. These observations lead to an intriguing heading of the article: The Dutch think that Verhofstadt is the devil. And Rightly so”  Vandermeersch: The Dutch fear the Verhofstadt narrative. Not because they are afraid of Europe, but because the Netherlands is a democracy, an independent nation-state. And because we want to check the people we give power. This is one of the reasons why I became a Dutch citizen. The citizen is much more central in the thinking, also for the public administration. If in my street half a stone is replaced I am fully informed about it “ VanderMeersch was talking about a very important cultural difference between two neighboring countries, partly using the same language:  acceptance of hierarchy . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the fundamental research of Geert Hofstede (*10) Belgium scores high on this cultural dimension, while the Netherlands is scoring low, meaning that hierarchy is not seen as an existential fact of life but only accepted for convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a hierarchical culture people accept that decisions are made top-down. It is the privilege of the people who are at the top of the pyramid. In the small Power distance countries people see it as self- evident that decision making takes place bottom up preferably as close as possible to the level where the people have to cope with the consequences. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verhofstadt, the leader of the liberal faction of the European Parliament, is a fervent fan of more centralization in the EU. As a Belgian this is for him a no brainer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just an example of how much culture is influencing the thinking of people and how much this is underestimated in “Brussels” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course lip-service is paid to the “diversity” of the European environment. We have to celebrate this diversity some politicians say. Again an underestimation of what it means in reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a special series of articles of the Economist about Management gurus, Geert Hofstede was pictured as the Godfather of Empirical cultural research. The heading of the article was a quote of Hofstede: “Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is said that Monet, one of the Godfathers of the EU idea once said in a discussion: I know that Europe is culturally very diverse and that the social systems are a reflection of that. But let us first build solid institutions so that the policies are irreversible. Then it is time to go back to culture and debate the diversity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The implications of culture were subject of discussion during the preparation of  the Maastricht treaty. It lead to a clever decision about the steering principle for the EU: subsidiarity. Subsidiarity means that the higher levels in the EU should only decide about these subject that cannot be dealt with at the local level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consequently the implications were underestimated. More and more decisions are seen as the realm of “Brussels”. More and more people have the impression that the discussions and decisions are made without taking the concern of the local concerns. Brexit and the resistance against Verhofstadt are a reflection on that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The urgent implication of this lack of understanding the importance of culture is that the growing feeling of POLOA can only be reversed by going back to the principle of subsidiarity and to have extreme transparency to the EU citizens about what can only be done by the central level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cosmopolitan thinking versus the influence of Nation States 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a long time it was rather clear what exactly the culture of a country entailed. However, as a result of globalization increasingly there is tension between “the values” of people calling themselves Cosmopolitans and people believing in the importance of the “mores” of the nation-states.  The Cosmopolitans claim that the concept of the nation-state is  outdated and morally doubtful.  They even question the existence of something like a dominant national culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the opposite side are people claiming that the nation-state is very much alive and they continue to give their citizens protection against the risks and negative outcomes of globalization and they emphasize the importance of national culture. (*11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Cosmopolitans and universal values

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmopolitans have the tendency to see the big trends everywhere on the globe and see values as applicable to the human race This thinking culminates in discussing the worldwide trends in a rational way and by strongly emphasizing the Universal declaration of human rights. The same rights for all people, not looking at colour, in-group membership, religious affiliation gender or sexual preference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, this positive way of thinking can sometimes lead to the perception that they are not showing real empathy for how these abstract moral values can have harsh consequences for people living in their own local reality.  The challenge that lies ahead is to strike a new balance between analysing global trends and developments and promoting the rights of people on a global scale at one hand but also to show willingness to listen to the real concerns for what it means for people having to live the consequences in the local communities. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is one thing to talk easily about “creative destruction” and it is another thing to have empathy for the consequences for local people trying to cope with all the changes that are happening because of mass immigration and the globalization of economy, technology and finance. It is easy to talk and write about the expectation that digitalization, 3D printing and robotizing is leading to destruction of industries and as a result in a loss of employment. It is another thing to neglect the hardship for the local victims. It is easy to talk about the need to accept (illegal) immigrants, to be tolerant towards other religions, to accept the need for free trade and free movement of people inside the EU. But all this is different if you are confronted with your children who cannot find housing because of the need to accommodate immigrants. It is different if people in the name of a religion  are committing terrorist acts in own your direct environment or if you lose your job because of Bulgarian and Romanian truck drivers who work much cheaper outside obligatory local contracts in the Netherlands or Belgium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To avoid POLOA, it is a must for societal policy makers to create a new narrative for people how to cope with the problems of their children and how to find meaningful solutions for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think globally, act locally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is a necessity to understand that the problems are international. At the other hand, if we want to give people the feeling they have control over their destiny, solutions need necessarily to follow the “rules of the game” of the culture at hand with real concern for the reality of people who are not living in a vacuum but in a concrete the nation-state with historic roots, history and values.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Control and populism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving back control does not mean that it should lead to simplification of complex problems. The trap is that some  people favor politicians who promise to give back a feeling of being in control. to their electorate in a simple way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Do something about (illegal) immigrants taking your jobs”; “be firm towards criminal North Africans or “drug smuggling Mexicans” and send them back to the home country of their (grand) parents” and everything will be alright, they promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What should be done is hat the local citizens should be heard and be taken seriously in their need to find solutions for their problems But this should be balanced with the need to solve complex and global problems on a global scale, taking the Universal human rights as the principled approach. To say it in other words: if we want to give back to people the feeling of being in control, human rights are a leading principle but should not be applied without a consequential analysis together with local people 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of the nation-state

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a better understanding, let’s go back to the meaning of cosmopolitan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmopolitanism refers to an inclusive moral, encompassing economic, and/or political relationship between individuals of different nations. In this way cosmopolitans are zooming out of the daily reality of nation states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   At the other side are people believing in the importance of Nation-States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  This concept has two meaningful parts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Nation: people sharing a certain territory and having a shared national

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               Consciousness and in principle accepting…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   State:   ..the authority, legitimacy and power of their

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               political administration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In contrast to cosmopolitans, the scholars believing in the influence of nation states strongly emphasize that people develop and define their values and norms in the context of the of the Nation State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The norms are based on the historical developments of the country and are formalized in agreed upon laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The visible and invisible “mores”  of the nation-state are an important element of the emotional identification of people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmopolitanism can lead to indifference against the roots of people. Luc Devoldere (*12) says: “False Cosmopolitism is a cosmopolitism that has no roots and as a result remains  empty. We are only good Europeans with our focus if we know how to keep our rich cultural tradition alive”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nation states, values, emotions and control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geert Hofstede defines culture in a broad anthropological sense as:   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Collective programming of the human mind”, where strong emotions are attached. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some highly profiled politicians, writers and philosophers are convinced that globalization is changing national values and that it is old-fashioned to believe that country values are stable and create deeply rooted diverse mindsets. Even stronger, some of them are saying that referring to culture is to be compared to apartheid on a global scale. And apartheid is racism and fascism in one encompassing word (*13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his research Hofstede found that what people call cultural preferences are not a result of genes or chromosomes, they are the outcome of a subconscious learning process starting from the moment we are born. He calls this “programming”.  He found in his empirical research that the content of this programming is best understood by looking at the level of the Nation-State”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This idea that country values are old fashioned is refuted by the recent repeat of Hofstede’s research published in June 2015 by Beugelsdijk et al (*14). They showed that, in spite of global developments, the Hofstede findings are still valid and consistent over time and valid. This means that “national values” should be taken into account, when talking about the consequences of globalization 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The misunderstanding is that Cosmopolitans believe that culture is about the symbols, heroes and rituals from the past. What they do not really understand is that, what is important and consistent over time are values, the deepest layer of culture “ These values are consistent over time and define the attitudes and sensitivities of the citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is neglected by the cosmopolitans. Talking about immigration a cosmopolitan thinker, Enzensberger (*15) used the train compartment as a metaphor for the nation-state:  some people are already sitting in the compartment. Then the door opens and others are stepping in. The ones who were already there feel annoyed by the newcomers. They are disturbing the peace and are taking available room. You know, of course, that your feelings are “not right.” They have just as much right for a chair as you have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What they refuse to recognize is the importance of emotional component.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Political commentator Martin Sommer says: “the nation-state as something you purchase a ticket for and nothing else? No history, no shared destiny, no obligations? I don’t think so. He adds: “When using the train compartment metaphor it is clear what some globalists are seeing as the European identity. That is to say: no identity. The European identity is about human rights, across borders, post- colonial, post Auschwitz. That’s why Europe cannot have real borders; because borders mean exclusion”.(*16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a result, a polarization is growing between the emotions of people on the “grass roots” level who feel POlOA in the different nation-states in Europe, and the “rational” opinions of the globalists who believe that it is “stupid” to be afraid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To bring back the feeling of control for the citizens of nation states it is a must to recognize the local consequences of global developments and to involve the members of the nation states in discussing real solutions in terms of the local rules of the game. The powerful contribution of cultural knowledge is that seven local rules of the game are recently identified that can enable people to make some sense of how to approach the challenges in today’s confusing world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wealth, inequality, democracy and  control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2013 Thomas Piketty put the issue of inequality again on the political agenda by his book Capital in the Twenty –First Century. His theme is the consequences of wealth concentration and wealth distribution. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piketty shows  that we are on a path back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the economy is not controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piketty proposes new wealth taxes, global if possible, to limit the power of inherited wealth. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inherited wealth is dangerous for two reasons:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Piketty suggests that the very size of inherited fortunes in a way makes them invisible: “Wealth is so concentrated that a large segment of society is virtually unaware of its existence, so that some people imagine that it belongs to surreal or mysterious entities.”
  •  The group of people with inherited wealth can buy influence. It is for instance amazing to see the amount of billionaires that are involved in US elections. This is unacceptable because they can pull strings outside the control of the general public, leading to POLOA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Global companies and the need for (political) control

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  In discussions about global trade it is seen as a growing problem that companies operate worldwide and as a result stay mainly out of the control of the Governments of the countries where they do business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One particular issue is taxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global companies try to arrange their global business in such a way that they pay no taxes or as low a rate as possible. They try to locate their administrative HQ in countries where the political authorities for whatever reasons allow this to happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a nuisance in the eyes of many citizens worldwide that are politically aware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The call is again to take back control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here France is interesting. France is the example of a hierarchical country with citizens who feel POLOA. It is the country of the nation- wide protest of the Yellow Vests, citizens who feel they lost control. But France is also for the same reasons a country believing strongly in the power of the central Government. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly enough  France just decided to do something about the untouchable position of the global companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. They decided to have a 3% e-tax for these companies 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a long time the global companies were making politicians and citizens powerless. But see: France is now the shining example of a country daring to do something about it..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*1 Freedom in the world 2019. Democracy in Retreat. www.Freedomhouse.org 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*2 New York Times May 8 , 2018 : Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo, Why are so many Democracies Breaking Down?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*3 Worms Frédéric.  Les maladies chroniques de la démocratie. ISBN: 2220085139

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Editeur: Desclee de Brouwer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*4 Wursten Huib. In my forthcoming book The seven Mental Images of culture. To appear in September 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*5 Huib Wursten, Fernando Lanzer. The EU: the third great European cultural contribution to the world (2012) http://www.clubofamsterdam.com/contentarticles/86%20Europe/itim%20eu%20report.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*6 Wursten Huib. Culture and Happiness. Some reflections. Journal of Intercultural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Management and Ethics. ISSP 2601-5749 Issue no 3, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*7 Verbraak, C. (2016, December 16). Een leven zonder angst is ongehoord saai. Retrieved from: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/12/16/een-leven-zonder-angst-is-ongehoord-saai-5774858-a1537150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*8 Wursten Huib, Truth? What truth? Truth and Fake through a cultural lens.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Journal of Intercultural Management and Ethics. ISSP 2601-5749 Issue no 1, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*9) Peter Vandermeersch: “Nederlanders vinden Verhofstadt de duivel. En terecht”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         Interview in De Morgen 15-02-2019: Tot Nederlander genaturaliseerde journalist stopt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          als hoofdredacteur NRC en gaat weer schrijven. Joël De Ceulaer 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*10 Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov, “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*11) Wursten Huib, Cosmopolitans and the values of the nation state          https://www.academia.edu/32313081/Huib Wursten Cosmopolitans and the values of the nation state

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*12) Luc Devoldere Hoofdredacteur Ons Erfdeel:Tegen de kruideniers. Over talen, Europa en geheugen(De Bezige Bij, Antwerpen, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*13) Martin Sommer, “de Volkskrant” in his column on 25 July 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*14) Beugelsdijk, S., Maseland, R. and van Hoorn, A. (2015), Are Scores on Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Stable over Time? A Cohort Analysis. Global Strategy Journal, 5: 223–240. doi: 10.1002/gsj.1098

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*15) Entzenberger Hans Magnus, Die Große Wanderung, essays, Frankfurt aM/ Suhrkamp1992

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*16 ) Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross-cultural Psychology. Some observations

Cross-cultural Psychology. Some observations

Cross-cultural psychology. Some observations

Huib Wursten, huibwursten@gmail.com

Summary

The author reflects on the question of why the accumulated empirical research on the influence of culture did not lead to the recognition that it is a very important factor in policy decisions.

Keywords: 

Upwards sensitization, Downwards causation, Worldviews, Hofstede dimensions, Consciousness.

Introduction:

One big question still remains after my 34 years of consultancy in what I prefer to call “Intercultural Management” for Top Fortune companies and international organizations: why is this body of knowledge not taken more seriously by major policymakers?

Why is it that Governments seldomly invite experts in this field to explain how the values we identify play a decisive role in the way democracy is defined, in the set-up of societal institutions, in the content of important policies, like economic priority setting, taxing policies, immigration, welfare, etc.?

Why is it that in the very diverse European Union, ideas about how values influence leadership and decision-making are not reflected in conscious attempts to align the five systems we can identify? 

While being involved by Top Fortune companies like IBM, Nike and JPMorgan Chase and international organizations like the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, UNDP, and the ECB, the question remains: why did the cultural interventions not lead to real change?

 Looking back, some answers are possible as to why the accumulated knowledge in this field only sometimes gets the attention it deserves.

It starts already on the level of awareness training.

1. The definition of culture and the consequences.

In my work, I use the evidence-based framework created by Geert Hofstede. 

The Hofstede definition of culture: Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others.”(Hofstede Geert 2001; Hofstede et al. 2010)

The deepest layer of this preprogramming is “values,” defined as “the preference for one state of affairs over others.” 

In this definition, value preferences result from subconscious and pre-programmed learning during the first 8-10 years of human life. After that period, the preferences are very difficult to change. For clarification, see two earlier articles describing the profound influence of this programming (Varkey, Kato, Wursten, 2022) and (Wursten, Jacobs, 2013)

This message is emotionally difficult for most highly educated managers in international organizations. The implicit message is: 

“You think you are a rational person making conscious decisions about right and wrong. You think you can make a detached analysis of situations, asking for a decision. However, your decisions are “steered” by subconscious pre-programmed cultural preferences. “

It is a difficult message indeed. Some find this even insulting!

2. Underestimation of the depth of the research findings

Some people have the idea that this is just one of the many theories leading to advice about how to cope with diversity. This underestimates the importance of Hofstede’s findings. He had no preconceived ideas about the core values of diversity. He found these by applying factor analysis. Factor analysis (FA) is a technique to simplify a set of complex variables or items using statistical procedures to explore the underlying dimensions that explain the relationships between the multiple variables/items. So, in other words, the four confirmed Hofstede dimensions are about the core four issues all societies worldwide have to relate to.

Hofstede found four core issues. The different preferences of almost all nation-states in dealing with these issues have been charted. Because we are talking about fundamental value preferences, a discussion about diversity should necessarily start here.  

What are the key issues?

Power Distance. How people deal with the unequal distribution of power in their society. In some countries, people accept hierarchy as an essential fact of life. In some other countries, people see hierarchy as just a matter of convenience in organizing a group or community. 

IDV –The direction of loyalty. In collectivist cultures, people prioritize loyalty to the ‘ingroup’ they belong to (extended family, tribe, ethnic group, religious group, etc.). In contrast, in Individualistic cultures, people prioritize individual rights. 

MAS –The direction of motivation: a preference for competition (masculine cultures) or a preference for cooperation and consensus-seeking (feminine cultures).

Uncertainty Avoidance -The need for predictability. The continuum goes from a strong need for predictability to a weak need for predictability.

For all dimensions, it is important to understand that we are discussing a continuum and not a binary division in comparing countries.

3. Overestimation of the ability to be Open-minded. “I am a Citizen of the world

Some resist cultural awareness programs because they think they are above the subconscious influence. They say to everybody that they are citizens of the world and have no specific preferences.

This is reason to be doubtful about this claim. Evidence shows that because of the pre-programming, it is, in reality, difficult to stay open-minded working in an international environment. 

Given an opportunity to work internationally, most people are initially motivated to be open-minded and to learn from other perspectives and make it work. They are eager to meet interesting new colleagues with different approaches to problems. After a while, however, irritation starts growing if the “others” have solutions that go against the pre-programmed preferences. Research indicates that the initial open-mindedness turns into a heightened emphasis on the preferred behavior. What was first sub-conscious is becoming a conscious preference due to the confrontation. This means that, for example, concerning leadership Americans abroad behave more American than Americans in the USA. The same tendency applies to all cultures in reality. (Wursten 2021)

4. Lack of awareness of what can be changed. Values, Rituals, Heroes and Symbols

Culture has different layers. In the representation below, the layers are ranked from superficial to critical. From visible aspects subject to change to invisible but essential “values”  that are deeply ingrained and difficult to change. 

Because of the reluctance to take the pre-programming seriously, the cultural issue tends to be brought back to the more visible behavioral aspects: Symbols, Heroes and Rituals. In short, what is called organizational culture. The belief is that this ” corporate culture.” can define “Shared values”. HQ is then defining the norms. Others are asked to adapt to the norms. Even stronger, it might lead to a recruitment practice where only these people who know how to behave according to the criteria of HQ are hired. “Cultural cloning” is the result. This leads mostly to a mono-cultural approach.

5. Lack of understanding that  “Upward sensitization” needs to be combined with the notion that culture has a “Gravitational influence” on important societal and organizational choices—”Downward causation”. 

a. Upwards sensitization: Making people aware of their programming.

The culture in the workplace Questionnaire is a tested approach, endorsed by Prof. Geert Hofstede. Using the Questionnaire is making people aware that: 

  • They are also programmed concerning preferences. They are not neutral or above the programming.
  • The country scores are central tendencies of a bell curve. As an individual, your private scores might be different. 
  • This explains possible irritations you have about the standard behavior of your compatriots.
  • The bell curves in other countries have another shape.

The second step is to make people aware of:

b. Downwards causation

Combining the scores on the 4 Hofstede dimensions leads to a Gestalt (the whole is more than the sum of parts). This Gestalt creates a worldview. This worldview has a “gravitational” effect on all levels of behavior. In other words, the of behavior is derived from the preferences of the worldview. For example, the meaning and significance of the roles people have as parents, consumers, customers, employees, etc. Also leadership styles, delegation patterns, control mechanisms, and communication styles are to be understood by the preferences of the Worldview people have. See for a deeper analysis: https://culture-impact.net/identity-and-the-gravitational-influence-of-national-culture/. (Wursten 2019)

6. The Seven Worldviews

Seven consistent worldviews can be identified: The Contest, The Network, The Well Oiled Machine, The Solar System, The Human Pyramid, The Family, and (standing alone) Japan.

See for an overview of the attributes: Culture and Worldviews.

6.1 The worldviews define the “rules of the game.”

The worldviews shape the preferred “rules of the game”. 

It is essential to understand that more is needed to be aware of different game rules. It is wrong to assume that it is just a matter of choice, like choosing which rules apply in playing cards. Different value systems have different rules of the game!

6.2 The pre-programmed Value preferences load the rules of the game.

For example, leadership and management techniques are not neutral and can be applied everywhere. MBO and Quality circles require a certain Worldview.

6.3 Majority preferences and minorities

Majority preferences shape the worldviews and the consequent rules of the game. Minority preferences exist. 

However, the majority formulates the criteria for what is seen as successful and what is not. To be effective, the ones with alternative preferences learn the hard way to adapt to the required behavior for getting things done. 

This means that minorities, over time, develop the skills to cope with the majority criteria. If they are asked to operate in another culture that mirrors their profile, they need more practical skills and competencies to perform successfully.

Of course, some people always refuse to behave according to the majority culture. The behavior we are talking about is about “most people most of the time.”

However, because of the homogenizing influence of the majority preferences, it is no surprise that the observations about friction between nationalities that are supposed to cooperate in international organizations are very consistent. Whatever type of industry, service, or product, the downward causation is at work and leads to different majority rules of the game. In cooperating, the differences become manifest. In this sense, it is counterproductive to call this observation just stereotyping. Stereotyping is assuming behavior that is not shown in reality. The majority preferences are however real and consistent. However, only sometimes a hundred percent. The 80/20 rule can be applied. The predictions apply in 80 % of the cases. It is wise always to check if the people concerned recognize the assessment. 

Solutions for friction can never be found in forcing people to adopt another majority system. Real solutions can be found by comparing the rules of the game and developing win-win approaches that don’t go against the preferences but cover the existing ones. This requires creative negotiating skills.

Both approaches, upward sensitization, and downward causation are needed for effective change management.

7. In diversity programs, the gravitational influence of the rules of the game is underestimated

Nowadays, there is a lot of interest in Diversity programs.

Content-wise, these programs range from: “all  people are unique” to “under the skin, everybody is the same.”

The messages about the need to cope with the “diversity” subject range from:

We need to celebrate diversity. It makes teams more creative and innovative. Differences become strengths in a collaborative effort. Collaboration is a path to peace.

to

The survival of mankind will depend to a large extent on the ability of people who think differently to act together”. (Hofstede 2010)

Celebrating Diversity: The Uniqueness of Individuals

One of the most memorable radio programs I remember from the recent past was produced by sending an aerial work platform to random building blocks, lifting a reporter to a random floor, followed by a knock on the window, and starting an interview with the one opening the window.

It was a simple concept with amazing results because the interviews were always very interesting. The conclusion was that each life has a unique story interesting enough to attract a big audience. The reporter remarked that:

Each life story deserves a book!

Understanding individual Diversity is interesting and fun at the three visible levels. It is great to look at the Art of other cultures—the paintings, music and dance. Rituals attract millions of people.   It is great to visit Ireland to celebrate St . Patrick’s Day. It is amazing to experience Diwali in India. 

It is self-evident that in creating teams, individuals’ special talents and skills should be considered. In any sports team, you need a mix of talents. In football, it is unthinkable to have only strikers. Also, defenders and passers are required to make the team effective.

This is relatively easy within one worldview with a common understanding of the cultural rules of the game. It is much more difficult if people need to work together in an international team with different worldviews. It is even more difficult if teams from different worldviews need to cooperate across borders.

7.1 Diversity within a worldview

Comparisons are always dangerous. However, in discussing diversity within worldviews, it can best be compared with style and dialect within the grammar of a language system. 

In every language, there is a shared grammar system. The correct use of the grammar system is taught in schools, and tests and exams ensure that the grammar system survives for the next generation. But in all countries, one can find differences in style and dialects. Nobody will deny that the basic grammar systems of English, Chinese, Russian, and Sanskrit are different. People sharing one basic grammar system can still differ in style and dialect. With sometimes strong consequences. Take the example of the Scottish and the English. They share the same basic grammar system. Still, the Scottish are so different in style and dialect that even the English need help to understand what they say. This is how to look at diversity and most regional cultural differences. In almost all countries, people share a homogeneous (majority) culture, the Worldview. But rituals, heroes, and symbols, the more superficial layers of the culture, can be different. 

People born and living in a certain culture see the basic grammar system and the worldview of that culture as self-evident and normal.

Deviation from the standard attracts attention and can be experienced as an emotional breach in expected behavior. For the people concerned, it can be seen as an argument that “culture is changing”. However, defining their behavior as the norm would be a mistake. They stand out just because they do not behave according to the norm. The different behavior gets a lot of (media) attention. Just because it is so different

Two examples:

a. A former Dutch colleague is in a care center after a stroke. There are about 20 nurses. Seventeen of them behave according to the expectations of the Dutch culture. They respect the patients’ autonomy as much as possible and involve them in decision-making. Three nurses are top-down in their behavior and don’t show patience in involving the patients. Observation of the colleague: all discussions among patients are about the behavior of these three because they are perceived as authoritarian.

b. Going back in time in the USA, the “Iron John” groups in California got a lot of media coverage. The base was a book by Robert Bly:   Iron John. A book About Men. It inspired a men’s movement in the early 1990s. The book was 62 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. Groups formed with therapeutic workshops and wilderness retreats, often performing Native American rituals such as drumming, chanting, and sweat lodges. These rituals were organized to facilitate the personal growth of participants (most often middle-class middle-aged males) to connect spiritually with a lost, deep masculine identity or inner self. At that time, it was seen by some as a sign that the culture was changing. 

In the meantime, it is clear that such a development did not change the dominant culture. It is getting attention because it is different from the dominant culture and should be understood as a counter-culture.

7.2 Culture and Identity

The effects of worldviews on Individuals are clearest when looking at one of the Hofstede dimensions, Individualism versus Collectivism.

In Collectivist cultures, people derive their identity from group membership. In Individualistic cultures, people create identity by focusing on uniqueness. See: https://culture-impact.net/identity-and-the-gravitational-influence-of-national-culture/

8. The world is too dynamic for cultural explanations. 

A frequent remark made by customers is that cultural explanations are too static in a rapidly changing world.

The answer is that Culture is consistent but not static.                                                                     The development of new behavior is, in a consistent way, influenced by the set of preprogrammed collective preferences.

Societies are indeed constantly developing. Two acronyms are used to describe this:

BANI is an acronym comprising the words ‘brittle,’ ‘anxious,’ ‘nonlinear,’ and ‘incomprehensible.’ The concept is attributed to Jamais Cascio, a California professor, anthropologist, author, and futurist. Cascio has written several publications on the future of human evolution, education in the information age, and emerging technologies. 

VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity and was created by the United States Army War College in the late 1980s to describe the scenario of the post-Cold War world. 

Many people feel that “the only constant is change.”  they say: “I am very different from my parents, and my grandparents are very different from my parents.”  How can you apply findings from research 40 years ago to this rapidly changing environment? 

The explanation is that usually, the visible aspects of culture are compared. In so doing, it is easy to observe that the observable behavior of the present generation differs from that of past generations.

Saying that culture is consistent does not imply that culture is static. Our parents and grandparents behaved differently because they lived in totally different conditions. Who had to deal with issues such as Globalization, the European Union, the Internet, mobile telephones, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, etc., fifty years ago? The world is changing rapidly, and we are being forced to adjust to these changes and to develop new behavior. However, the development of this new behavior is not the same shape everywhere and is certainly not “random. The required new behavior is, in a consistent way, influenced by the set of preprogrammed collective preferences.

8.1 The consistency of Hofstede’s framework over time.

After the first publication of Hofstede’s research findings in Cultural Consequences, several people tried rightly to falsify the results. 

A meta-analysis of such attempts showed that the results survived the scrutiny.

The latest repeat research was carried out by Sjoerd Beugelsdijk, a Professor at the Groningen University, and his team. They were looking at the continued validity of Hofstede’s (2001) framework and whether the relative positions of countries on national culture dimensions have changed over time. 

Their results indicate that they have not. Correlations between countries’ dimension scores of the two generational cohorts they studied are remarkably close. 

But on two dimensions, a slow change was detected. Everywhere, the score on PDI tends to be lower. Everywhere, the score for Individualism tends to be higher.

This finding means that, although cultural change has occurred, it has happened similarly for all societies, leaving countries’ relative positions largely unaffected.

8.2 Institutions and the need for change

Looking at how societies organize themselves, the majority preferences have a modifying influence at both micro and macro levels. They influence how good leadership is defined, how the decision-making process is structured, and how people monitor how policies are implemented. In short, everything that has to do with organizational behavior.

The preferred rules influence patterns of thinking, which are reflected in the meaning people give to the different aspects of their lives and, therefore, help shape the institutions of a society.

The Institutions cope with the force fields around them with a set of solutions that are relevant for a time. However, because of the rapid societal changes, the solutions tend to be frozen after a time and need to be more adequate in coping with new challenges. New policies are formulated to cope with the new reality. The relevant thing is that the new guidelines are not random or the same in all societies. 

What should be more transparent is that the new policies are derived from the worldviews and the preferred rules of the game.

9. Imagined and True realities

If one compares official organizational charts of organizations worldwide, they look the same everywhere. The same is true about all other relevant issues for today’s global business players: strategies, HRM systems, including reward techniques, management approaches like MBO, appraisal instruments like 360-degree feedback systems, etc.

Seemingly, the organizations are steered in the same way. In MBA programs everywhere, the same theories are taught; the general feeling is that organizational behavior is culture-neutral.

These theories reveal that most management, marketing, economy handbooks, etc., come from Anglo-Saxon countries: the USA, Canada, and the UK.  The students from MBA programs assume that what they are reading about is just the latest development, the latest description of best practices. After graduating, they try to implement these best practices in organizations in their countries. If, then, after a time, they discover it’s not successful, they blame the failure on the people involved. Accusing them of being resistant, backward, stubborn, and ignorant. They don’t realize that the promoted theories are not wrong but have a value context that fits the rule of the Worldview of the Anglo-Saxon culture group, but not necessarily the rules of the game of the six other worldviews. 

This is not something that is to blame on the Management Gurus. Frequently, I heard these “Gurus” say: “You tell me that this is not possible in your country. Tell me then, please, about the theories and research from your culture”. Then, most of the time, there is silence. The Non-Contest cultures should do much more to make the values and realities in their own cultures more explicit. They should be more aware that there is a difference between the “Imagined reality” (assuming, for instance, that what is valid in the USA is also valid everywhere) is different from “True reality”.

Conclusions:

To have the impact it deserves, interventions making use of the accumulated knowledge about the influence of culture should:

  • Combine Upward sensitization and Downward causation
  • Take the following steps in action planning:

1. Create an understanding of what constitutes basic value diversity worldwide.

2. Create an understanding of the seven rules of the game that distinguish countries worldwide.

3. For aligning people, the next step is deciding which of the 28 organizational consequences that are distinguished are getting priority in the change (usually a maximum of 4: decision-making, leadership, delegation, and control). Tool: list of 23 comparisons (Wursten 2019)

4. Negotiate mutually accepted rules of the game. Inclusive solutions can be implemented?

Literature: 

Beugelsdijk, S., Maseland, R. and van Hoorn, A. (2015), Are Scores on Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Stable over Time? A Cohort Analysis. Global

Strategy Journal, 5: 223–240. doi: 10.1002/gsj.1098

De Mooij, M. “The future is predictable for international marketers: converging incomes lead to diverging consumer behavior” International. Marketing Review. Vol. 17 No. 2, 2000, pp. 103-113 (University Press) 

Hofstede GeertCulture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations, 2nd Edition. 596 pages. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 2001, hardcover, ISBN 0-8039-7323-3; 2003, paperback, ISBN 0-8039-7324-1.

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the.Mind. Berkeley: McGraw-Hill

Malik Ken (2023) Focusing on diversity means we miss the big picture. It’s class that shapes our lives. The Observer January 29, 2023

Minkov, M. & Hofstede, G. (2014). Nations versus Religions: Which Has a Stronger Effect on Societal Values? Management Int Rev, 54, 801. doi:10.1007/s11575-014-0205-8

Søndergaard, M. (1994) Hofstede’s consequences: a study of reviews, citations and replications.Organization Studies, 15, 447-456

Taylor, Charles, The Politics of Recognition, In Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Edited by Amy Gutmann. Princeton: Princeton UniversityPress, 1994, 25-73

Varkey, Kato, Wursten (2022) Educational practices and culture shock. Culture Impact Journal. Special Culture and Education (2022). https://www.academia.edu/92272929/

Wursten Huib (2019). The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and Managing in a globalized world ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

Wursten, Jacobs (2013) The impact of culture on education Can we introduce best practices in education across countries? https://www.academia.edu/22731263/

Wursten, H: Reflections on Culture, Art and Artists in Contemporary Society. In JIME, July 2021

Wursten H, Lanzer F. The EU: The third great European cultural contribution to the World. 2015.

Mental images

The simplification of the Hofstede 6D model is the inspired result of a long experience in cross-cultural business. That is why your book on the 7 Mental Images is proving so useful to the international business environment. The post you sent us is a well-deserved acknowledgment of this. I am very glad for the favorable echo of this book. I think that an application of the model of the 7 mental images in other fields as well, for example international relations/international politics would be interesting/useful, despite the stakes, ambitions and difficulties specific to politics.
Once again warm congratulations and best wishes,
Anton

China’s Today in the Geopolitical Arena

China’s Today in the Geopolitical Arena

Marlond M. Antunez.  Author and Consultant. Email: marlond@vera.com.uy

“Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” This phrase attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte reflects the deep understanding of a civilization that, at that moment, did not realize that it would become the great nation they are today. It should not be surprising that China now rules the world as a superpower; they are meant to be. The surprise, contrary, arises in how the US has become a superpower and held this status for the last eight decades with their confrontation policies.

China stayed in the shadows for millenniums and suffered uncountable wars, starvation, and discrimination, and today, it ascends to the same level as the big players in the world’s geopolitical arena. However, a question arises: What makes a not-so-far farmer country with the highest poverty ratio become a superpower that, in three decades, rescued over seven hundred million citizens out of poverty? It has been read correctly; China has created a middle class representing the EU and Russian populations combined in three thirty years.

In this dissertation, the author will argue that China’s geopolitical position results from a combination of historical factors, economic reforms, spiritual path and global integration. The historical roots and main events that shaped the Chinese mind will be explored; their political configuration, Chinese capitalism, and their social behavior will be explained; and at last, a conclusion is drafted with a big question: Has China achieved its expansion peak, or we should expect for more?

Keywords:  China, Geopolitics, Capitalism, Confucianism

Introduction:

In the late 20th century, China was often perceived as a poor and backward country with low-quality products, cheap labor, and low levels of education. Phrases like: Chinese people work for a plate of rice, or Chinese products are useless, use once and throw away, were common in the conversations. These stereotypes, spread loudly by people who traveled and did business in China during this period, were not far from the truth. Before the economic reform of 1978, China was a predominantly agrarian society, where the population used to live under a feudal system, transformed after into a collective farming system, and a profound demonization for intellectuals (Mahbubani, 2022). Mistakes taken by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Mao’s leadership led to several disastrous policies and events, such as the “Great Leap Forward,” the “Cultural Revolution,” and the “Gang of Four,” which tarnished China’s reputation worldwide.

However, during the same period, those who continued to do business and often traveled to China probably faced the “Chinese miracle”, an unprecedentedly growing nation that, like a giant magnet, attracted trillions (USD) of investments from several nations in the world, including the US and Europe as leading investors (SantanderTrade, 2023). China became the “Factory of the World”, starting a migrant wave from the poor villages in the countryside to the shiny cities of the coast where Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and local government investment were focused. It is known that labor conditions in China during the 1980s and ’90s were far from modern standards, where gender inequalities, labor risk and management despotism often exploited workers. However, these conditions improved at the beginning of the new millennium with new socioeconomic reforms and labor rules in the so-called “harmonious society” promoted by former president Hu Jintao (SCMP-Graphics, 2019).

China’s economic boom was a remarkable phenomenon that astonished the world. In the last 20-year period (2002-2022), China’s GDP grew by an average of 8%, with double-digit growth rates from 2005 to 2010. China’s exports of goods increased from 762 billion to 3.59 trillion US dollars, while its imports rose from 660 billion to 2.72 trillion US dollars (UNCTAD-Stats, 2023). China also made significant progress in its infrastructure development, expanding its highways to 170,000 kilometers, its high-speed railways to 40,000 kilometers, its civil airports fully operational by 2021 to 248 (Statista, 2023); and holding six out of the top ten biggest ports in the world, excluding Hong Kong (WSC Data, 2019). The numbers do not stop only in economics and infrastructure; as per a World Bank report published in 2022, China rescued 750 million people from extreme poverty, a fantastic ratio of 19 million people annually. Et al.(O. Wang & Leng, 2019), and a Boston Consulting Group report published in 2023, predict that the Chinese middle-class population will increase by 80 million during the actual decade (C. Chen et al., 2023).

China today has achieved the status of a developed country through its economic growth and integration policies. It still attracts the most FDI globally, reaching 189 billion US dollars in 2022 (UNCTAD-Stats, 2023). The main factors that draw investors to China are its skilled and affordable workforce, the big and dynamic consumer market, the advanced infrastructure, and the stable political system (SCMP-Graphics, 2019; et al.Lee & Duhalde, 2018). China’s labor force is also improving its education and qualifications, as many Chinese students pursue higher education abroad. According to the latest statistics before the pandemic, China sent 703.5 thousand students overseas in 2019 (PressRelease, 2020), more than any other country worldwide. Some academic programs offer better facilities and more international exposure in foreign institutions, which appeal to many Chinese scholars. Having an overseas education is seen as an advantage in China’s job market, as it implies having a global perspective and better language skills. The government also supports this trend and encourages the returnees to contribute their knowledge and experience to China’s development.

The previous paragraphs intend to introduce the reader to the understating of China’s economic and social rise and how it became the second most powerful nation in the world in just four decades. This growth follows specific steps designed by Deng Xiaoping, considered the architect of modern China, whose legacy still influences the country’s economic policies. Whether this was a master plan accurately executed by successive Chinese leaders is uncertain, but what is clear is the fact that China is a significant force in the geopolitical arena today. In the following chapters, we will explore the key factors shaping the current Chinese geopolitical situation and argue that China’s superpower status today is not a coincidence but rather a result of a deliberate or unintended strategy to accomplish its aspirations.

A country made of war.

To write a summary about China’s history, it is an ancient civilization that emerged out of war. Despite its rich culture, with roots in spirituality and rituals, it also has a dark side, comparable to Europe’s medieval period. China’s culture and traditions are diverse and complex, reflecting its vast territory and long history. Some of the most notable aspects of Chinese culture, such as Confucianism, calligraphy, painting, poetry, martial arts, tea culture, and festivals, contrast with continuous wars, which resulted in different shifts of power and endurance of the most savage invasions. From the three kingdoms to the Chinese dynasties, it gained influence and prestige until becoming one of the most prominent nations from the 15th to the 18th century. However, China remained an enigma to the world due to its policy of isolation and no trade with foreigners at its peak during the last Qing dynasty.

From proud to shame

The Qing dynasty, which lasted from the middle of the 17th to early 20th century, was the final imperial dynasty of China. It kept some elements of the previous Ming dynasty as a strong central government but faced the challenge of ruling a multi-ethnic empire. The Qing dynasty brought peace and prosperity to the people; however, it returned to its isolationist policies and refused to trade with foreigners directly. It is important to recall that foreigners were allowed to trade directly with locals under the Mongol regime. After the Ming dynasty conquered the territory, this trade practice was banished. Under the Qing dynasty, China could produce everything it consumed and trade only with nearby countries, who re-sell after other countries alongside the trading paths. China exported goods, such as silk, cotton, and tea, and received silver and copper coins in return; they did not import. This commercial behavior made China rich, powerful, and respected by other nations. The Qing dynasty restricted foreign trade to two points of contact: Beijing in the north, through the Silk Road, connected China with Central Asia and the Middle East, and Guangzhou (Canton) in the south, open to maritime traffic with European merchants and missionaries.

During the 19th century, things started to change, and a new colonial superpower “the British” started to raise its influence in Asia with a non-friendly diplomacy of “taking by force”. British did not accept the Chinese way of doing business; all the tea and silk were sold against currency, and Chinese merchants did not buy anything from the British. Nevertheless, let us see this situation from the British perspective, too. In the 19th century, the British were at the peak of the Industrial Revolution. They produced more than could be sold locally, and the main task of the British merchants was to generate trade with other countries or, say, between their colonies. When they arrived in a nation that only sells and not buys, this behavior must not last for long, and this lack of interest from the Chinese in acquiring Western products was the spark for the first Opium War. The Opium War was lost by China, which was not prepared to fight against the modern weapons of the British navy. It was a collective shame for Chinese people; they lost ancient territories (Hong Kong) and were forced to open more ports to trade, accepting the incursion of Western people into their land. Then, a second Opium War finally ruined China, driving Chinese people into a profound sense of shame, depression, and loss of hope, sparking the desire for change.

From shame to destruction

Centuries of peace show that the country was unprepared to face the new modern era, and a radical transformation is necessary to adapt and survive in the changing times. Japan’s successful modernization and Westernization inspired Chinese intellectuals; however, they also recognized the limitations of the imperial system, which failed to protect China’s sovereignty and interests. A call for political and social reforms was needed, and at the beginning of the 20th century, China extinguished two millennia of imperial rule in exchange for a republic. China was reborn as a democratic country under a parliamentarian formula, led by Sun Yat-Sen as provisional president and still considered the “father of the nation”. As commonly happens in history, democracy does not last long. General Yuan Shikai, a former general of the Qing army, elected as the second president of the young Republic of China, betrayed the republican ideals and attempted to revive the monarchy by declaring himself emperor, abdicating one year later against violent movements trying to restore the democratic status quo. After those events, the national identity of China was shattered by decades of civil war, in which former compatriots turned against each other while, at the same time, facing a brutal invasion from Japan prior to World War II. The world was immersed in two global conflicts, and China’s dilemma became primarily ignored and this period resulted in widespread famine, violence, and genocide, marking one of the darkest periods in modern Chinese history.

From destruction to hope

The emergence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can be understood in parallelism with Newton’s third law, which states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Initially, the CCP was a political movement that advocated for a different ideology from the dominant one. Later, it became a military force that defended the people from the violence of the private armies and the foreign invasion of Japan. As a Marxist ideology, CCP’s rise drew on the masses, especially the farmers, the oppressed, and the underdogs, and it is essential to recall that China still had a deep rural background at the time. The success of the CCP was not by the imposition of its ideology by force but rather by convincing the people that they could resist the violence and expel the foreign invaders. The CCP, like other parties, initially cooperated with the nationalists to resist Japan’s invasion of China and pursued a democratic path. However, the ideological differences between the two sides, the people’s support in favor of the CCP, and some failures of the nationalists led to the division of China and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, while the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan. The CCP became the sole ruling party, arguing that China needed a solid political structure to protect the nation, supported by most Chinese people who, by their cultural behavior, trusted that only a powerful leader could safeguard and care for its people.

From hope to destiny

Using the main characteristics of the Chinese, that is, the non-direct confrontation, the CCP shifted the way in which a communist party must rule the country. The so-called “Maoism” has roots in Marx and absorbs some characteristics of Leninism, adapted then to the Chinese reality. The path was not immune to human endeavor’s inherent flaws and limitations. The “Great Leap Forward” resulted in a massive famine that claimed the lives of millions of people. The “Cultural Revolution” unleashed a wave of violence and repression that targeted thousands of people, among intellectual, artist, and bourgeois classes. However, a clear long-term orientation must guide the leaders’ minds because since the beginning of China as a nation, leaders have looked to establish a world’s presence again. After Mao’s death (1976), Deng Xiaoping assumed the government and opened the country to the world as a refreshed version, but with the same goal of restoring China’s status as a significant global power. Xiaoping’s famous quote, “It does not matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice” reflects his pragmatic approach to governance. He advocated for China’s economic growth and development, not bound by old policies that might hinder progress. Deng Xiaoping’s China relied on two main pillars: investment and infrastructure. He invited foreign countries to invest in China, which had the largest supply of a necessary resource, “low-cost labor”; in return, China built infrastructure to facilitate trade and commerce flow.

The Chinese Capitalism

A possible way to characterize China’s economic model today is to say that it is a sort of ‘Friedman with the “invisible hand” of Keynes’. During Mao’s era, the Chinese government dominated all aspects of the economic life. The private sector was almost non-existent, the country relied heavily on agricultural and mining sectors, and the government regulated every aspect of the economy. Deng Xiaoping cited as the architect of modern China, embraced capitalism without relinquishing the control of the government over the economy. In the last two decades of the 20th century, China flourished on the wave of capitalism, opened the market to foreign investment, allowed the private sector to own businesses, and engaged in negotiations with the world. At the same time, the government embarked on an ambitious challenge to build all the infrastructure the country needed to compete with the developed world and exercised strict control over the currency exchange to boost the economy. From constructing the first motorway in 1988 to the massive Belt & Road Initiative in 2013, China leaped from a farming country to being the #1 country in infrastructure investments (2021), a leap made in just 45 years.

The Chinese economic model is a hybrid between capitalism and socialism. Far from the discussion about its effectiveness, some indicators say the economy is in good shape: 765 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty, becoming the world’s largest economy (by purchasing power parity) and the second-largest economy (in terms of US dollar); and reached the most significant middle-class population. In the following sections, we will analyze some factors of China’s economic success.

Sell everything, buy little.

Chinese history and culture have influenced its business practices for centuries. China used to be an isolated country with no contact with foreigners. A forced openness happened during the Mongol Empire’s rule in the late medieval period; however, after the Ming dynasty regained the “middle kingdom” sovereignty, the foreign trade policy returned to extreme seclusion. Chinese merchants continued to export their products with neighbors in exchange for cash, and few or nothing was purchased back. As was written in the previous chapter, this trading behavior harmed the main business partner of China in the first half of the 19th century. Great Britain was the world’s leading nation in the 19th century, at the peak of the Industrial Revolution, and immersed in new ideals of free market, competitiveness, and international trade brought by Smith and Ricardo. A nation that was not open to the free market was something that the British could not tolerate (Keller & Shiue, 2023).

It is not difficult to find similarities in today’s time and create some parallelism. Modern 21st-century China emerged as the world’s main supplier of manufactured products, producing everything from small appliances to advanced technology. China has become a massive factory, investing billions of USD in infrastructure and leading the transportation sector. Its currency is strong enough to be included in the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US dollar and the Euro. China has trade agreements with most of the world countries and today is the principal investor in several regions, such as Africa and Latin America. This economic behavior has affected the US, China’s primary business partner in the 21st century. The US is the first economic superpower in the world, based on the principles of free market, competitiveness, and democratic capitalism. A socialist nation that trades with the world, offering high-quality products and low international prices, is something that the US cannot accept. Just as the British launched a military war in the 19th century, the US initiated the Sino-U.S. trade war in January 2018  (Ti et al., 2021).

Saving for tomorrow

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, China has a high score on Motivation towards Achievement and Success (MAS) and Long-Term Orientation (LTO), reflecting its interest in pursuing personal goals and planning for the future. The previous sentence means that Chinese people tend to view their projects, businesses, and relationships as long-term investments that require dedication and perseverance. For example, in Chinese society, mainly due to the gender imbalance, there are more men born per woman, and it is common for young couples to marry after the man has bought a house for them to live in (Wei, 2010). Buying a house is a sign of personal success and a long-term commitment (5-8 years minimum), which requires the prospective husband to save money. Saving money is a way of achieving success for the Chinese mind, which applies to individuals, companies, and the government (Wei, 2010). China has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world, worth US$ 3.1 trillion as of December 2022; this amount is 50% more than the combined reserves of Japan and Switzerland, ranked second and third with US$ 1.1 trillion and US$ 809 billion, respectively (Zhang & Hall, 2023).

A society concerned about the future will be better prepared to face challenges. Several studies analyze the saving behavior of Chinese; it is not the aim of this article to review them. On the contrary, we want to highlight that one factor contributing to China’s economic growth is the high savings rate of its people. In 2019, China had a savings rate of 44.9%, which ranked 10th in the world and was well above the global average (Jahn, 2021).

The influence of Confucianism

Confucianism is a long-standing and influential ideology that has shaped the Chinese civilization for millenniums. It is a system of doctrines that are transmitted from generation to generation. This doctrinal system may need clarification about a kind of religious practice, mainly because its practice is embedded in a spiritual connotation but, in the strict sense, differs from organized religions. Confucianism has no divine origin; it draws on the ancient Zhou culture and institutions that Confucius (551-479 BCE) admired and promoted as the ideal model for a moral and harmonious society. Confucius was a philosopher and educator who dedicated his life to teaching and spreading his moral code throughout the kingdom, gaining followers and disciples who continued his legacy (Haibo, 2020).

As a school of thought, Confucianism became one of the dominant ideologies in Chinese history, influencing its culture, politics, education, and social relations. Confucianism is more than a philosophy; it is a set of norms guiding Chinese behavior. It is a system of beliefs that advocates good conduct, loyalty, obedience, respect, and ethical attitude. Confucianism also has a spiritual dimension, emphasizing cultivating one’s inner nature and harmony with the natural order. Confucianism is deeply embedded in the way of living of several Asian cultures, especially Chinese, where it came from.

For a Western mind, it may need to be clarified how this ideology works, but for a Chinese, it means everything; it is the balance center and what identifies the genuinely Chinese. Confucianism is everywhere in Chinese daily life (S. Chen et al., 2020; et al.M. Chen et al., 2021), from how the parents raise their children to how politicians rule the country, from how to prepare tea ceremonies to how to decorate the home. Confucianism advocates for wisdom that drives a profound respect for elders. Elders have a special place in Chinese society because they have the “wisdom” of surviving the age of time. When talking to an elder, it feels the eagerness to teach something, to advise something, always words of kindness and recommendations. The political class, the communist party, has plenty of Confucianism influence; the Politburo, for instance, the advisory board of 25 senior politicians presided by the General Secretary of the CCP, are compound by the elders, most graduated, most prominent life dedicated to the political service. The average age of the Politburo is 65 years old today (SCMP Graphics & SCMP China desk, 2023).

In the past four decades, China has undergone rapid economic and social changes that have exposed its people to Western values and lifestyles. Since the opening of China’s market in the 1980s, Western consumerism and individualism have challenged Chinese society’s traditional Maoist collectivism and simplicity. Francois Billou called this phenomenon the ‘Individualization of Chinese Society’ as a new framework for understanding the modern Chinese lifestyle, with plenty of new choices and opportunities. However, Billou, as well as Prof Bell from the University of Hong Kong, agree that Confucianism is making a comeback in China to reconnect with its cultural roots and project its identity to the world in a new position (Billioud, 2021; Lo, 2023).

This chapter does not attempt to cover all the philosophical aspects of Confucianism and its influence on the country’s fate. Rather, it highlights how Confucianism has persisted in Chinese society through generations, even when it seemed to conflict with modern life shaped by Western cultures. Several scholars agree that the recent events of the 21st century, such as the terrorist attacks of 2001, the wars against terrorism, theocracies, and other political regimes, the 2007-2008 crisis of capitalism, and the global climate change, have prompted Chinese people to re-evaluate their values and return to Confucianism roots. This was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021, when the Chinese government demonstrated a strong commitment to protect its population.

Geopolitical Understanding

China’s geopolitical role is a topic of great interest and debate among various actors, from ordinary citizens to state officials. China’s aspirations and strategies are often met with curiosity and concern, as they have implications for the global order and stability. This chapter will attempt to understand China’s geopolitical position and prospects.

The classical perspective

In order to introduce the reader to the concept and in line with the classic view about Geopolitics, where several definitions have been drawn according to different authors, namely Ratzel, Kjellen, and Mahan, it is possible to assemble an unpretentious definition: Geopolitics is how the geography influences political decisions of a country, both internal and externally. Based on this view, some scholars have developed different theories to explain the geopolitical behavior of countries. For instance, Mahan’s theory of the sea argues that countries surrounded by the sea tend to emphasize their maritime interests and protect themselves with a powerful navy; some examples are Great Britain, Japan, Australia, and the US with two extensive shores facing different oceans. Mackinder’s theory of the land suggests that countries with flat and open terrain have an advantage in expanding and defending their territory and dominating target neighbors; examples are France, Germany, and Poland. These and other theories help to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different geographical settings and their political implications.

Following this classic view, China’s geographical features pose significant challenges for its geopolitical interests (McColl, n.d.). Only 10% of its land is arable, located in the eastern third of the country, where 90% of its population lives along the southeast coast. The remaining two-thirds of the country consists of arid deserts, towering mountains on the west, and rugged hills and valleys in the north. These areas are generally unsuitable for intensive agriculture and population, “too high, cold, and dry”. Figuratively, China is comparable to a landlocked country, is surrounded by fourteen countries from north to west, and faces more than twenty by adding maritime neighbors across the sea. Despite its long coastline, China has only one east-west corridor accessible to the outside world, and it is constrained by the presence of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines sea safeguarded by the US Navy based in Guam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

China’s defense and expansion is a complex challenge that requires a deep understanding of its geographical position. Only one classic theory may probably not shed light on it. China has developed a commercial and military maritime force to enhance its trade and trace a defensive line in its most critical area, where most of its population lives. The free pass along the East and South China Sea heading to Malacca Strait is paramount for the economic interest of China; whichever conflict here could jeopardize the stability of global trade. Simultaneously, China needs a strong land force and reliable infrastructure to reach its far western and northern regions. A simple analysis may not reveal why the Tibet and Xinjiang regions are relevant; conversely, geopolitically speaking, losing those ancient regions could compromise the country’s future. The Tibet plateau is the source of the three major Chinese rivers (Yellow, Yangtze, and Pearl River); losing control of this area may compromise the supply of electricity, water, and food. Xinjiang region is a natural barrier and water resource with natural dams alongside the mountain chain. There is a particular interest in the Xinjiang desert area, where there is a potential supply of renewable energy.

The prospective “superpower.”

What could define a superpower? One criterion is the GDP; nevertheless, politically, a superpower also needs to have the support and influence of its people. China still has a large labor force but faces the challenges of an ageing population (ChinaPowerTeam, 2023). According to the UN projections, China’s population will decrease by half in 2100, but it will still be the second largest in the world, after India. China aims to reach the same levels of education development as the US and Europe by 2050 (ChinaPowerTeam, 2021). President Xi Jinping said in a parliamentary speech: “When education in a country thrives, the country will thrive, and strong education makes a strong nation”. The empowerment of the people is part of the government’s political agenda, which can be seen in the achievements made by China (Hua, 2023).

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Chinese inventors submitted 1.58 million patent applications in 2022, surpassing the US, which filed 505 thousand (WIPO-Data, 2023). Likewise, in the 2022 Summer Olympics, China showed remarkable progress in its athletic performance, ranking second in the number of medals, only behind the US and ahead of Russia (ChinaPowerTeam, 2018). Three decades ago, China barely won a dozen medals. Although the number of medals per capita is still low for China, the rapid improvement in such a short period is impressive. China now wins medals in categories dominated by the US and Russia, such as diving and gymnastics. Furthermore, China has become a new contender in the space race, preparing astronauts and producing rockets, fields that some decades ago were under the supremacy of the US and Russia.

Under the influence of their cultural roots, China has demonstrated skills in using soft power. As this article has explained, Chinese people tend to avoid confrontation. By employing soft power, China can increase its influence and respect in the international arena. China has become a significant project builder and investor in underdeveloped countries. Countries with low GDP welcome China’s investment as an opportunity to modernize their infrastructure and economy. China has invested heavily in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America’s transportation, energy, food and agriculture sectors. By being a leading investor in strategic infrastructure such as ports and airports or vital services such as electricity distribution networks, China can subtly shape the decisions of the host countries.

Finally, one factor contributing to China’s rise as a superpower is its shift in focus to lead the technology sector. China has already built the necessary infrastructure for its development, such as high-speed rail networks, airports, ports, and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). There is no central city in China that is not connected by a high-speed train; hundreds of airports connect the whole country, and six out of the ten biggest ports in the world transfer manufactured goods to global trade. Now, China is advancing in the high-tech fields: battery production, electric transportation, communication, and electronic interface. According to a report by Wired UK, Shenzhen is the world’s first city to realize the full electrification of its public transportation (Ralston, 2020). The next goal is likely to be dominating the microprocessor industry (C.-J. Wang, 2022). In 2015, China government launched the “Made in China 2025” initiative (EditorialTeam, 2015), a ten-year strategy plan to upgrade its manufacturing capabilities to high-tech products. According to the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), China could achieve a self-sufficiency ratio of 75% by 2030 (McBride & Chatzky, 2019).

Conclusions

Throughout human history, there have been several examples of how power and influence have shifted among different civilizations. Power has been transferred and contested from Persians to Greeks, Carthaginians to Romans, and Byzantines to Ottomans. Between the 15th and 19th centuries, European kingdoms were the leading powers in the modern era, competing among themselves. These kingdoms were driven by naval expansion and later by the Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century, the power shifted to the US, where naval and industrial superiority made a difference, but not only; also, a new sense of freedom based on “capitalism” conquered the world and gave the US the status of a model society. The question that arises now is, why is it impossible for a new power shift to happen in the 21st century? A shift not driven by any naval supremacy, freedom, or industrial factors but by a new form of “soft power” propelled by the dominance of technology and adopting a new lifestyle where people will still have control of their financial freedom, “capitalism”; however, under the surveillance of the government that will take control of the market and care for the people “socialism”.

This article does not aim to compare or contrast political views, benefits, or drawbacks, nor to provide insights on economic models or ideologies. Instead, this article intends to describe the path that, in our view, China has followed, which has led it to its current position. We believe that past actions have shaped modern China and offer a plausible explanation for its success on the global stage. It is not unreasonable to assume that China, as a prosperous country and the second global economy, with its renewed values and a new model of economy and governance, can begin to influence the world in the opposite direction (from East to West).

Yet, the history of modern China is still being written…

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Eastern and Middle Europe in a cultural perspective

We demonstrated that the relatively fast convergence of CEE countries observed in the initial years of our sample period was interrupted by the global crisis in 2008. Since then, convergence has been slower. – Overall, we believe – and demonstrate – that the post-transition growth model has reached its limits and that further convergence of the CEE region to the more advanced EU economies cannot be achieved by simply replicating past efforts. Summarizing they write: “before the financial crisis the convergence of the CEE economies was mainly driven by strong capital inflow facilitated by market reforms implemented at the beginning of the 1990s and accession of CEE countries to the European Union. The results of our empirical analysis seem to confirm our intuition that this growth model has come to an end around the time of the global crisis. The CEE countries’ growth and convergence will now be driven mainly by factors affecting structural competitiveness, especially innovation activity, institutional environment and policies (or lack thereof) b. The Results of Shock Therapy One of the most important changes from communist rule was the introduction of private property, individual freedom, a new legal system, and an independent civil society that go with it. The first ideas for the transition to a market driven economy were pragmatic and show the attempt to change some of the obvious negative consequences of communism. Grigory Yavlinsky, the author of the 500 Days plan and shortly vice prime minister under Yeltsin, intervened with his team in the third largest city of Russia Nizhny Novgorod with an interesting program. The city gave ownership of apartments to the inhabitants. Up till that moment businesses and the houses were owned by the state or by a collective or cooperative. Condition for transferring ownership was that the new owners were also responsible for the energy costs of the apartment. This solved the problem that nobody felt responsible for the heating of the apartments. The heating was regulated centrally without charge. Nobody had a need for thermostats. You could not even turn of the heating. If it was too hot the inhabitants just opened their windows widely. This changed when the inhabitants had to pay for their own use of energy. It changed their behavior because they understood the relationship between ownership and costs. c. The Privatization of Economy In 1989 the vast majority of business and residential property was either directly owned by the party-state or held in some form of collective or cooperative ownership. What in hindsight went wrong is that the privatization was done quickly without a clear framework of law, regulated by an independent judiciary. As a result the old powerholders with good connections in the communist party were able to take advantage in buying the available assets. As a result a new class of very influential post- communist “oligarchs” developed. This lead to strong resentment and mistrust of the people who were not “connected” (Timothy Garton Ash, 2019). Thirty years after 1989, Central Europe is still influenced by the impact of this transformation. Some individuals have been successful in the new “market environment”, but many more are unemployed and angry. They see that often members of the former communist ruling class, have been doing so well because of the unfair beginnings of capitalism in the 1990s. The economic transition in the early nineties has been described as katastroika (combination of catastrophe and the term perestroika and as “the most cataclysmic peacetime economic collapse of an industrial country in history” Interestingly enough the transformation went partly wrong because of good intentions of the transformers. As an example the “voucher approach”. Transforming the economy the Government tried to avoid open sale of state-owned assets. They were afraid that it would result in concentration of ownership among the Russian Mafia and the nomenklatura. Instead the reformers decided to rely mostly on “free voucher privatization”. This type of privatization took place by giving citizens vouchers. Each voucher corresponded with a share in the national wealth. They were distributed equally among the population, including minors. They could be exchanged for shares in the enterprises to be privatized. Looking back one can see this project terribly failed. “Because most people were not well- informed about the nature of the program or were very poor, they were quick to sell their vouchers for money, unprepared or unwilling to invest. Most vouchers—and, hence, most shares—wound up being acquired by the management of the enterprises. Although Russia’s initial privatization legislation attracted widespread popular support given its promise to distribute the national wealth among the general public and ordinary employees of the privatized enterprises, eventually the public felt deceived. (Privatization in Russia) This all lead to a burning sense of injustice caused by so many collaborators of the old regime becoming economic winners. As a result of the social consequences. “liberal market economy” became for many a dirty word. d. The 2008 Global Financial Crisis. This mistrust in the concept of a free market economy became stronger after the worldwide financial crisis in 2008. Seeing the problems in the Western European countries in surviving the crisis many Eastern Europeans were losing their trust in liberal market economies and were looking for alternatives. Suddenly some Asian approaches like the one in China with state capitalism and illiberal economies were drawing attention. 2. The Erosion of Trust The political system under communism promoted and rewarded “reporting” (informing) on one another. This fact caused both a social disgust at “reporters” and a social “out of fear” pressure for reporting. (Timothy Garton Ash, 2019) The “reporting” was a powerful tool of oppression for the ruling class, as fear prevented open sharing of thoughts. Ideology often prevailed over blood ties. A friend of mine from the former GDR told me that after the fall of the Berlin wall citizens got the right to look into the files of Stasi /the secret police) to see who was informing on them. Up till this moment (2019) she did not dare to do so because of the fear of discovering that close friends and family members were involved. This had a consequence for all four culture clusters, but the strongest however for the Pyramid countries with their collectivist core. In principle, the rule in collectivist cultures is that in return for loyalty to your “in-group” the in-group will take care of you. In Pyramid cultures it is mostly clear what the shape of in-groups is. Almost everywhere it starts with the extended family. In African Pyramid countries it is the ethnic group or religious group. In Latin America it can be the region or rich powerful families. In some Southern European countries it can be the political party. The understanding of in-groups in the Eastern European cultures is definitely different than in other Pyramid ones. Considering the above factors – the question is what the best survival strategy was for citizens during these times (70 years in USSR and 50 years elsewhere). The answer is the reciprocal collaboration and support between like-minded people. A colleague of mine from that area wrote: “I would define the in-groups that East Europeans feel affiliated to, as any circle of people with whom: I – they share common views about what is right and wrong, what is acceptable behavior or not, and II – they share common past during which the shared views have been proven to be sustainable in behavior practices (tested by many life situations).” (internal discussion, 2017) It is clear that somebody establishes commonality and shared trustworthiness best in the formative years. A Romanian colleague of mine said: “Yes, we share belonging to one’s circle of relatives because we grow up together – but nowadays we do not feel automatic togetherness just by virtue of blood lines. I, for example, have nine first cousins but I keep relationship with only two of them – those that I have something in common with.”(internal discussion, 2019 Other strong bonds of collectivism are formed during school, university and military service (where existing). Because these formative years offer pretty good opportunities to deduct characters that are similar to your own. It is a common practice for politicians reaching the highest levels of power to appoint classmates or student-mates as their deputies, because they trust them. What strengthened this loss of belief in traditional in-groups like the extended family is that communism put a heavy emphasis on industrialization. This has resulted in urbanization of society at a much greater pace than if it had happened naturally; the consequences being – accelerated movement from kinship-oriented environment (villages and small towns) to a more alienated urban lifestyle. Writing about current Poland, Overbeek points at another element that tends to be forgotten. In describing the big differences between the big cities and the country one can still see traces of a historical fracture line between feudal lords and serfs. For centuries the Polish farmers were serfs, for sale with the land. It is a form of slavery sustained by nobility and only stopped in 1864. About the same time as slavery in the US. Overbeek says: “Up till today the Polish workers feel like white slaves. Second hand citizens.” (Overbeek, 2019) All these elements have discernable consequences: The traditional cultural understanding of “loyalty from subordinates and care by superiors” is not applicable, Yes, personal care and understanding by the boss is appreciated – but it does not automatically lead to loyalty. Caring superiors may find themselves trapped in abuse of their care. Yes, loyalty from the subordinates is appreciated – but it is not assumed. In fact, most often company rules are strongly process-oriented rather than people-oriented exactly because the assumption is that workforce is expandable. Religion Historically collectivism in Eastern Europe was a form of protection against the various dangers. Being between the big empires (Habsburg, Ottoman and Russian), or having foreign or corrupt leaders. Still there is always a need for people to belong to small groups they can trust (either friends or companies). This is an important factor in understanding the role of religion in Eastern Europe. The secularization of society under communism caused disruption of belonging connected to religion – with the notable exception of the Muslim communities in Central Asian and Caucasus. Interesting is to see that Pew Research Center found that religion is not seen as very important in the lives of for instance the Polish and Russians This is seemingly in contrast to what many politicians from these countries say and believe. For analysis of this contradiction it is important to see what cultural scholars found in looking into the relationship between religion and national culture. The question is if religions and their associated values are homogeneous and thereby create a coherent value system or that perhaps values are created by the dominant culture of the nation where people are born and are reflected in the reality of the religions? In 2012 Geert Hofstede and his colleague Michael Minkov analyzed this in a paper: “Nations Versus Religions: Which Has a Stronger Effect on Societal Values?” They uncovered two tendencies: 1. Global religions do not have such a “gravitational” effect on their subsidiaries in diverse nations. 2. In terms of values, nations however do have a “gravitational” effect, not only on the populations of their regions, but also on the nominally different religious groups inside a nation. This gravitational effect of national values has two aspects: “Homogenizing” and “Discriminant” Homogenizing: “The values of nominally different religious groups that live within a single nation tend to be fairly similar, resulting in relatively short distances between such groups as well as homogeneous national clusters.” Discriminant: “The nominally different religious groups that live within a single nation tend to be distinguishable from the religious groups of other nations. Religious groups from a single nation tend to cluster separately from those of other nations rather than intermix with them.” However, saying that religion is not very important in their lives is not the whole story. Many Eastern European cultures see religion as a key component of national identity. This means that religion plays a big role in the perception of us versus them. Like we described earlier in this chapter religion played a big role in creating cohesion in fighting the battles against the Ottoman empire or having foreign or corrupt leaders. Conclusion: National culture defines the social forces within a community involving its conventions for behavior, and Religion defines how the community members interpret their role in the universe, this teaching being based on the local culture, so different religions rise out of different cultures. Similarly, when members of one religion convert members of a foreign culture, often the resulting religion in that area is affected by the host culture. Taking this into account the Hofstede research can explain the religion and “morality” in Eastern European countries by the consequences of strong UAI, Hofstede states that in cultures with a strong UAI score there is a need for a more rigid social code. As a result there is a resistance in the strong UAI cultures (especially in combination with Collectivism) in accepting the equal rights of individuals in terms of sexual preference or alternative life styles. They call this decadency and they see themselves as bulwarks of traditional Christian values. A second reason for the tendency of politicians to refer to religion is that a state that says to represent the laws of heaven has unlimited power on earth. A long repressive regime can best be based on heavenly powers. With God on your side it is easy to persecute and suppress people. Migration and Foreigners It is no surprise that four decades spent in a rather closed and still relatively homogenous society behind the Iron Curtain, many people in the Eastern European countries are suspicious of foreigners. This is reflected in the attitudes towards immigrants, and above all the Muslim immigrants—even, perhaps especially, where they personally encounter almost none of them. Immigration and Emigration After 1989 many more people became more free to travel. This created a new problem: emigration. Substantial amounts of young people in Eastern Europe decided to move abroad to find employment and or to study. This led to the real problem of brain drain. The loss of talented people. In this sense Emigration is the region’s real problem, but immigration is its imagined one. As an example: May 7 2019 in Warsaw, a Polish psychotherapist and civil rights activist was arrested because she was not adhering to article 196 ‘Insulting religious feelings’. The Interior Minister said after her arrest: “We thank the police for the successful detection and arrest of a person who is held responsible for the desecration of the image of the Holy Maria, one of the most sacred icons of the Polish population.” “The refugee crisis that peaked in 2015–2016, bringing millions of migrants from the wider Middle East and Africa to Southern and Western Europe, was a defining moment in Central European politics. Populist politicians have skillfully exploited the fears of societies that were cut off behind the Iron Curtain for forty years, with relatively little recent experience of multicultural life.” (Timothy Garton Ash, 2019) In Hungary Prime Minister Orbán was quite successful in a propaganda campaign warning that the EU leaders were “plotting to swamp Christian Hungary with dark-skinned, Muslim immigrants.” The EU is holding the politicians saying this accountable. It is to be expected that in the future this will lead to further tensions between the EU courts and this attitude of some local politicians. Resistance Against the Elite The liberal, metropolitan elites who took advantage of the unregulated transition together with the former communists created a strong feeling of resentment by the people who were left out. This resentment is also directed at the Western type of liberal market economy. “Central European populists combine somewhat left-wing economic and social policies with a right-wing, even reactionary, nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric. So disaffected voters are invited to escape the atomization of a superficial, Western-style consumer society, back into the bosom of the most traditional sources of community and identity: the family, the church, and the nation. The populist fulminate against “decadent, feminized, LGBT+-supporting Western European societies” They create the image of a fight between Western European nations addressing: “the problem of an aging and shrinking population by importing Muslim migrants. While traditional societies like Hungary and Poland “will solve that problem the old-fashioned Christian way, by having more children”. (Timothy Garton Ash, 2019) Politicians sensing the dissatisfaction in large parts of the population understand that it is not just an economic issue. It is a matter of giving back to people a sense of dignity. This is also behind the recent actions of the Polish Law and Justice party to hand out more cash to families. Some observers see it as “an expression of concern”. Law and Justice ideologists actually talk about “the redistribution of dignity”. Ashford says: “Especially in Poland and Hungary, the ruling parties also play off the sense of historic injustice, arguing that what happened in 1989 was not a true revolution. The real anticommunist revolution, they claim, only began when they themselves came to power”. Democracy and the Need for Autonomy. Another factor for the uneasiness in finding new rules for democracy in Easter European countries is that there is still not enough real understanding that democracy doesn’t take the same shape in every country. In a paper on the EU (Wursten, Lanzer, 2012) it was shown how democracy in the UK is different from democracy in Switzerland, the Netherlands and France. These differences can be explained by the value configuration of each country. It was also shown that it can be explained in a systematic way by the Seven Mental Images. To analyze the confusion in the discussions about the shape of democracy a conclusion from a paper on Happiness (Wursten 2018) is noteworthy: What is very important for the well-being of people is the perception of autonomy. This autonomy is defined as the freedom to make your own decisions and to determine your own future as basic needs of adult human beings. The importance of these basic needs was recently confirmed again by psychiatrists. (Verbraak, C., 2018) The decline in support of democracy can be explained (to a great extent) by the perception of many people that they do not have a say in the decisions shaping their lives as a consequence of globalization of businesses and internationalization of decision- making, for instance in the EU. Reports show that there is a general feeling in Middle and Eastern European countries of a lack of control over people’s lives. Citizens of these countries complain that after the fall of the dominating Soviet Empire they expected to be more free. What happened instead is that, in their perception the ideology changed, but many of the people in power during Communism are still in positions of power nowadays. Moreover, they feel that they were freed from the coercion by the Soviet Union and voluntarily joined the European Union. But now they discover that the rules of the EU are strongly limiting their freedom of decision-making. It is frustrating because in their minds it amounts to a perceived feeling of again lacking control over their own lives. The future What is to be expected looking at the time between the fall of communism and the present? 1. From a cultural point of view. We showed that the superficial layers of culture were polluted. This affected the “rules of the game”, the consequences and clear mechanisms of the cultural Mental Image. The necessary trust between authorities and citizens, between bosses and employees was destroyed. Slowly this trust is restored. The European Union is helping because of the pressure they put on the single member states in staying within the boundaries set by the EU for democracy and the rule of law. Citizens of these Eastern European cultures are seeing the EU as a positive means to keep their own politicians at bay and to prevent possible corruption by their leaders. Even if the country culture is making it difficult. In this sense it is interesting to look at the connection between corruption and corruption. Take Power Distance: the saying is “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Or take collectivism. Analysis of the rule of law shows that the human rights as part of the law system is something that is “natural” for Individualistic cultures where the starting point of morality is the individual. In collectivist cultures morality is in first place for the people of the in-group. As Lanzer formulates it: Everything for my friends. For others the rigor of the law. (Lanzer, 2019) In this sense it can be shown that enforcements of the EU laws a positive influence in the eyes of the citizens. Recent research by Pew Research center is confirming this. See below. At the same time the EU should understand that it is very important that the single states in Eastern Europe should further develop the perception of autonomy. In this sense it is a warning signal not to force these countries in a process of increased centralization. This is of course equally true for the Western EU members. Brexit should be a warning sign. As Cummings formulated the successful slogan: “take back control”. It is a matter of survival to go back to the original formula: “subsidiarity”. The higher level should only do what the lower level cannot do. A warning for leading politicians like Verhofstadt and Macron. ( Wursten 2019), ( Wursten, Lanzer 2012) Another warning sign about this is given by the EU citizens in the perception that the people at the top are not interested in what they think. One of the dangers of a nowadays globalized world is that there is a growing emotional reaction of the citizens of nation states that the cosmopolitan elite easily is deciding about moral and economic issues without taking the interests of the ones that have to live the consequences into account. This leads to support for populist propaganda. What needs attention is that data show that most people in Central and Eastern Europe say that the post-communist era has been good for education, living standards national pride and even spiritual values. They however showed doubts about law and order, but were negative about health care and family values. The Economic Factor One more reason to be careful in forcing the Eastern European cultures in a centralized EU mall is to look at the economic situation. In general PEW Research center measured a positive mood towards the integration in the EU economy. This positive mood is really important! What however not should be forgotten is the prediction of the Economist that it would take 50 to 90 years before the new access countries would be on the same level as the existing countries. Notes: 1. The confirmed value preferences Hofstede found empirically are in shorthand: PDI. Power distance Index: the way hierarchy is accepted as something existential or as something created for convenience. IDV. Individualism versus collectivism: describing the emphasis of loyalty. To the Individual or to the In-group. MAS. Masculinity versus Femininity: motivation by competition and challenges or by cooperation and consensus seeking. UAI. Uncertainty Avoidance Index : the extent of the need for predictability. Is dealing with unknown risks uncertainty experienced as positive drive or a negative one. In terms of research methodology it is important to emphasize that the 4 value dimensions are independent. However: In applying the value dimensions for analysis in real life it is rare that explanations can be given by one single dimension. In most cases it is the combination that gives the full picture. 2. The Mental Images The key issue is that the combination of the fundamental value dimensions is leading to a “Gestalt” , something new. An important consequence is that the different combinations lead to 6 different “pictures” in the mind of people of what society and organizations look like. Hence the name :”mental images”. Each mental image represents a cluster of countries which have certain characteristics (scores) in common. 1. The contest model (`winner takes all ́) Competitive Anglo-Saxon cultures with low power distance, high individualism and masculinity, and fairly low scores on uncertainty avoidance. Examples: Australia, New Zealand, UK and USA. 2. The network model (consensus) Highly individualistic, `feminine ́ societies with low power distance like Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Everyone is involved in decision-making. 3. The organization as a family (loyalty and hierarchy) Found in societies that score high on power distance and collectivism and have powerful in-groups and paternalistic leaders. Examples: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. 4. The pyramidal organization (loyalty, hierarchy and implicit order) Found in collective societies with large power distance and uncertainty avoidance. Examples: much of Latin America (especially Brazil), Greece, Portugal, Russia and Thailand. 5. The solar system (hierarchy and an impersonal bureaucracy) Similar to the pyramid structure, but with greater individualism. Examples: Belgium, France, Northern Italy, Spain and French speaking Switzerland. 6. The well-oiled machine (order) Found in societies with low power distance and high uncertainty avoidance, carefully balanced procedures and rules, not much hierarchy. Examples: Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, German speaking Switzerland. A description of the culture clusters Literature: Economist Intelligence Unit. 2012 Europe enlarged: Understanding the impact In co- operation with Accenture Oracle N M Rothschild & Sons Overbeek. E. 22-5-2019. De erfenis van Poolse horigheid Heren en hufters. In: De Groene Amsterdammer. Privatization in Russia. Wikipedia Huib Wursten The 7 Mental Images of National Culture. Hofstede Insights 2019, ISBN9781687633347. Timothy Garton Ash, Time for a New Liberation? The New York Review of books. October 24, 2019. Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. Berkeley: McGrawHill. Nations versus Religions: Which Has a Stronger Effect on Societal Values? Minkov, M. & Hofstede, G. Management Int Rev. (2014) 54: 801. doi:10.1007/s11575-014-0205-8 Wursten. H. .(2017) Culture, religion and ethics. What is the connection? https://www.academia.edu/32293280/Culture_religion_and_ethics._What_is_the_connection. docx Narodowy Bank Polski (2017). Is Central and Eastern Europe converging towards the EU- 15? NBP Working Paper No. 264 Economic Research Department Warsaw, 2017 Wursten, H., & Lanzer, F. (2012). The EU: the third great European cultural contribution to the world. Retrieved from http://www.clubofamsterdam.com/contentarticles/86%20Europe/itim%20eu%20report. pdf. Fernando Lanzer. Democracy in Latin America. JIME 2019 Q4 Wursten, H. (2018a). Culture and Happiness. Some reflections. Journal of Intercultural Management and Ethics, 3, 19- 30. Verbraak, C. (2016, December 16). Een leven zonder angst is ongehoord saai. Retrieved from:https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/12/16/een-leven-zonder-angst-is-ongehoord-saai- 5774858-a1537150. Internal discussion in the Hofstede Insights Group. (Participants: Daniela Kaneva, Georges Lapascu-Pruna, Jana Droessler and Huib Wursten 2016) Surveys PEW Research Center: 1. European public opinion three decades after the fall of communism. European values -00- 09. pg. 10-15-19 2. Pew Research Center. Surveys conducted 2015-2017 in 34 countries. Eastern and Western Europeans differ on importance of religion, views of minorities and key social issues 3. Pew Research Center Spring 2019 Global Attitude Survey Q55a-f. Q57a-c 4. Pew Research Center Spring 2019 Global Attitude Survey Q 50a 5. Pew Research Center Spring 2019 Global Attitude Survey Q 21a-g 6. Pew Research Center Spring 2019 Global Attitude Survey Q 8d-Q13 & Q14