The Character of Nations

"The Character of Nations" is about far more than the fact that there are different behavior patterns in different countries-- that, for example, "it is unimaginable to do business in China without paying bribes" but "to offer one in Japan is the greatest of faux pas."

The real point is to show what kinds of behaviors produce what kinds of consequences-- in the economy, in the family, in the government and in other aspects of human life. Nor do the repercussions stop there. Government policies are not only affected by the culture of the country but can in turn have a major impact on that culture, for good or ill...

While nations differ, particular kinds of behavior produce particular kinds of results in country after country. Moreover, American society in recent years has been imitating behavior patterns that have produced negative-- and sometimes catastrophic-- consequences in many other countries around the world.

Among these patterns have been a concentration of decision-making power in government officials, an undermining of the role of the family, a "non-judgmental" attitude toward behavior and a dissolution of the common bonds that hold a society together, leading to atomistic self-indulgences and group-identity politics that increasingly pits different segments of society against each other.

- Thomas Sowell, 'The Character of Nations'.


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