Wednesday, January 29, 2014

EL LADINO GLOBAL XI


No se requiere tampoco demasiado tiempo para que ciertos compas olviden que son producto del (en su estado más puro) oportunismo, y al final lleguen realmente a creer que, de sus "logros", merecedores son. Espero no estar tomando conscientemente prestada una de más de las características de la personalidad "promedio" del mexicano, teoría que chance y ya necesita una actualización. Este rasgo anteriormente descrito en los que se creen "divinas garzas", algunos lo llaman sobrestimación, pero en lenguaje "ñero" porteño-norteño diríamos así: ese bato 'tá muy infla'o, caray.




Muy pilinqui, por otra parte me pareció la cifra de 0.23 que la "doitora" me mostró. "Nah, that sounds like a statistical miracle" -le dije a mi mujer, ninguneando su computación. El tiempo, sin embargo, a la galena le dio la razón. I guess it's very likely to be just like that with the simplistic explanations of the very harsh winter of 2013/14. Demostración del desprecio o nulo acercamiento al enfoque multifactorial de las condiciones climáticas actuales. Un colega culparía casi enteramente al rebase del mítico nivel de las concentraciones del (teóricamente) más importante de los GEI a mitad del año pasado, creo yo; mientras (que) otro peer (quien, a la sorda, un estatus de amanuense me quiso asignar) se empecinaría en derribar el hoax del calentamiento global, y le designaría -éste sí- totalmente, a la actividad solar, la modulación. La intensidad del Niño en la cuenca del Pacífico podría (muy probablemente) influir en la posición del Jet Stream, eso no les dijo el entrevistado investigador, ¿verdad? Se les olvidó también mencionar al efecto en el clima planetario que tiene ese tipo de fenómeno geofísico que casi nos deja "grounded" antes de salir en nuestra travesía a Seúl, ¿no? Nosotros no vamos a recapitular en los componentes principales del sistema climático en este blog, tal vez en el otro sí. But there's one more thing I have to say: en quienes ustedes confían, así de corta tienen la... visión.




Con mucha anticipación lo habíamos mencionado ya, una de las más cruentas batallas ideológicas es aquella que se libra entre los escuadrones de lo virtual y lo real. For instance, siguen ustedes intentando encapsularnos en su "cultural framework", full of... sus insulsas aspiraciones, ¿no es cierto?; pues, les adelanto para aligerarles la carga (btw, 'Do you still read an official statement and believe it?', chales, not quite accurate, pero mejor consulten los expedientes de los míticos servicios secretos de su majestad; aunque, les doy un invaluable tip: apechúguense "una maid" y les certifico que consiguen mejor -y más fresca- información) que, muy probablemente quepamos dentro de esa ortodoxia rebelde que ha sido rebasada, ya sea por idealista o impráctica, or both, who knows?

Espero (que) recuerden a la -casi imbatible- ajedrecista, cuyo padre la preparó (para mí la palabra más adecuada sería condicionó) desde escuincla; pues poco más tarde comprobamos los riesgos de un entrenamiento (btw, can you screen spy games again, and again, and again, pls?) "hiperespecializado" en uno de sus agremiados, que andaba penando en unas estériles luchas democratizadoras. No soy tan radical como algunos piensan (another excellent try of psychological projection, mates) pero, otra vez, para mí, a mi compa le faltaba matizar, para ser capaz de observar la fulgurante resurrección de su país, acechado (para alimentarse de sus despojos, como los de nuestro territorio) por los más grandes de este planeta. Algo así podría pasarle a mi paisana "la nenita Jobs" (no, aquí ni referentes a la mano de "success" hay, ¿verdad?), si no se arrima a un buen árbol viejo que la guíe en su incipiente y ya abollado andar.

We are far beyond that pattern, aren't we? Let me develop my newest hypothesis then: los atípicos (a term that some climatologists love to drop every other day, especially those who haven't manipulated real data at all) ciertamente se distinguen por separarse de un grupo de su misma clase; las singularidades no tienen conjuntos, ellas son su propio universo en sí. De tal manera que, loable es el esfuerzo de los primeros por llegar a la punta, y de ahí ser canonizados, pero los atolondrados a la zaga se tragan todito el "harmless" objetivo de aspirar a ese pedestal. Las singularidades no, de hecho, la construcción de su sendero alternativo perennemente incierto es,fácil resulta distinguirlo por ser improvisable, readaptable, reestructurable, flexible, pues. Si usted se dedicara a rastrear en serio la vida de est@s camaradas, recopilando una muestra representativa, seguramente encontraría que comparten una azarosa economía doméstica, un involuntario peregrinar, un@ o vari@s incondicionales confidentes, un modesto (patrimonialmente hablando) final, un injustificado olvido, una pasiva aceptación de su desdicha, y tal vez, debido a que poseen el carisma de un tlacuache (¿no será que envidian que ése que odian a rabiar pueda mover multitudes cuando se le hinche y ustedes nomás no? Pues, la neta, yo sí. Espero que no llegue al extremo del Cid Campeador), asumen dócilmente un espacio segundón. Más, entre todas estos rasgos de su personalidad, uno destaca por sobre todos los demás: la obstinación. Generalmente ignoran el cuándo, pero jamás dudan que, más temprano que tarde, un destino colectivo han de forjar. Now, compañeros, ustedes remember:"respect is the ultimate currency", y "Nada tan hermoso como la verdad...". Así, although our "poetry is lousy... we don't keep our things vague", por lo que, en memoria de todos esos héroes desconocidos, una "moderna" oda a la patria intentaremos crear. AL TIEMPO







Lazy Japanese and thieving Germans

Are some cultures incapable of economic development?

"As the 19th century German economist-cum-sociologist Max Weber opined in his seminal work, 'The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, there are some cultures, like Protestantism, that are simply better suited to economic development than others. 






"...Beatrice Webb, the famous leader of British Fabian socialism... described the Koreans as '12 millions of dirty, degraded, sullen, lazy and religionless savages who slouch about in dirty white garments of the most inept kind and who live in filthy mudhuts'. No wonder she thought that '(i)f anyone can raise the Koreans out of their present state of barbarism I think the Japanese will', despite her rather low opinion of the Japanese. 




"This was not just a western prejudice against eastern peoples. The British used to say similar things about the Germans. Before their economic take-off in the mid-19th century, the Germans were typically described by the British as 'a dull and heavy people'. 'Indolence' was a word that was frequently "associated" with the Germanic nature.

"...A century ago, the Japanese were lazy rather than hardworking; excessively independent-minded (even for a British socialist!) rather than loyal 'worker ants'; emotional rather than inscrutable; light-hearted rather than serious; living for today instead of considering the future (as manifested in their sky-high savings rates). A century and half ago, the Germans were indolent rather than efficient; individualistic rather than co-operative; emotional rather than rational; stupid rather than clever; dishonest and thieving rather than law-abiding; easy-going, rather than disciplined.

"These characterizations are puzzling for two reasons. First, if the Japanese and the Germans had such 'bad'cultures, how have they become so rich? Second, why were the Japanese and the Germans then so different from their descendants today? How could they have so completely changed their 'habits of national heritage'?" 






Does culture influence economic development?

"The view that cultural differences explain the variations in economic development across societies has been around for a long time. The underlying insight is obvious. Different cultures produces people with different values, which manifest themselves different forms of behaviour. As some of these forms of behaviour are more helpful for economic development than others, those countries with a culture that produces more pro-developmental forms of behaviour will do better than other economically.

"Cultural theorists... argue that these forms of behaviour are largely, or even entirely, fixed because they are determined by culture.

"Culture-based explanations... have come back into fashion just as the more dominant cultures (narrowly Anglo-American, more broadly European) have started to feel 'threatened' by other cultures - Confucianism in the economic sphere; Islam in the realm of politics and international relations. They also offered a very convenient excuse to Bad Samaritans - neo-liberal policies have not worked very well, not because of some inherent problems but because the people practising them had 'wrong' values that diminished their effectiveness.

"In the current renaissance of such views, some cultural theorists do 'not'actually talk about culture 'per se'. Recognising that culture is too broad and amorphous a concept, they try to isolate only those components that they think are more closely related to economic development".









What is culture?

"... 'excessively broad'depends on the purpose of the categorisation. If we are comparing the human brain with that of, say, the dolphin, even the over-arching category of 'Homo sapiens'may be good enough. But if we are studying how culture makes a difference to economic development, even the relatively narrow category 'Korean'may be problematic. Broader categories, like 'Christian'or 'Muslim', obscure much more than they reveal.

"The culturalists may well retort that all we have to do is work with finer categories like Mormon or Japanese Confucian, rather than broader ones like Christian or Confucian. If only matters were that simple." 








Dr Jekyll vs Mr Hyde

"...which is an accurate portrait of Confucianism? A culture that values 'thrift, investment, hard work, education, organization, and discipline as Huntington put it in relation to South Korea, or a culture that disparages practical pursuits, discourages entrepreneurship and retards the rule of law?

"Both are right, except that the first singles out only those elements that are good for economic development and the second only the bad. In fact, creating a one-sided view of Confucianism does not even have to involve selecting different elements. The same cultural element can be interpreted as having positive or negative implications, depending on the result you seek.

"It is not just Confucianism, however, that has a split personality like the protagonist in Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. We can perform the same exercise with any culture's belief system. Take the case of Islam.

"Muslim culture is today considered by many to hold back economic development. Its tolerance of diversity discourages entrepreneurship and creativity. Its fixation on the afterlife makes believer less interested in the worldly things, like wealth accumulation and productivity growth. The limits of what women are allowed to do not only wastes the talents of half the population but also lowers the likely quality of the future labour force; poorly educated mothers provide poor nutrition and little educational help to their children, thereby diminishing their achievements at school. The 'militaristic'tendency (exemplified by the concept of 'jihad', or holy war, against the infidels) glorifies making war, not money. In short a perfect Mr Hyde. 






Alternatively, we could say that, unlike many other cultures, Muslim culture does not have a fixed social hierarchy (which is why many low caste Hindus have converted to Islam in South Asia). Therefore, people who work hard and creatively are rewarded. Moreover, unlike in the Confucian hierarchy, there is no disdain for industrial or business activities. Muhammad, the Prophet, was a merchant himself. And being a merchant's religion, Islam has a highly developed sense of contracts - even at wedding ceremonies, marriage contracts are signed. This orientation encourages the rule of law and justice - Muslim countries had trained judges hundreds of years before Christian countries. There is also an emphasis on rational thinking and learning - the Prophet famously said that 'the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of a martyr'. This is one of the reasons why the Arab world led the world in mathematics, science and medicine. What is more, although there are conflicting interpretations of the Koran, there is no question that, in practice, most pre-modern Muslim societies were far more tolerant than Christian societies - after all, this is why many Iberian Jews escaped to the Ottoman Empire after the Christian 'reconquista' of Spain in 1492. 





"Such are the roots of the Dr Jekyll picture of Muslim culture: it encourages social mobility and entrepreneurship, respects commerce, has a contractual frame of mind, emphasizes rational thinking, and its tolerant of diversity and thus creativity.

"This Jekyll-and-Hyde exercise of ours shows that there is no culture that is either unequivocally good or bad for economic development. Everything depends on what people do with the 'raw material'of their culture. Positive elements may predominate, or negative ones. Two societies at different points in time or located in different geographical locations, and working with the same raw material (Islam, Confucianism or Christianity), can produce, and have produced markedly different behavioural patterns.

"Not being able to see this, culture-based explanations for economic development have usually been little more than 'ex post fact' justifications based on a 20/20 hindsight vision. So, in the early days of capitalism, when most economically successful countries happened to be Protestant Christian, many people argued that Protestantism was uniquely suited to economic development. When Catholic France, Italy, Austria and southern Germany developed rapidly, particularly after the Second World War, Christianity rather than Protestantism became the magic culture. Until Japan became rich, many people thought East Asia had not developed because of Confucianism. But when Japan succeeded, this thesis was revised to say that Japan was developing so fast because its unique form of Confucianism emphasized co-operation over individual edification, which Chinese and Korean versions allegedly valued more highly. And then Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea also started doing well, so this judgement about the different varieties of Confucianism was forgotten. Indeed, Confucianism as a whole suddenly became the best culture for development because it emphasized hard work, saving, education and submission to authority. Today, when we see Muslim Malaysia and Indonesia, Buddhist Thailand and even Hindu India doing well economically, we can soon expect to encounter new theories that will trumpet how uniquely all these cultures are suited for economic development (and how their authors have known about it all along)." 







Changing culture

"Culture can be changed deliberately through persuasion. This is a point rightly emphasized by those culturalists who are not fatalists (for the fatalists, culture is almost impossible to change, so it is destiny). 






"Changes in attitudes need to be supported by real changes - in economic activities, institutions and policies.

"Co-operation and loyalty came about only because Japanese workers were given institutions such as lifetime employment and company welfare schemes. Ideological campaigns (and governments bashing of militant communist trade unions) did play a role, but they would not have been enough on their own.

"When Korea started its industralization drive in the 1960s, the government tried to persuade people to abandon the traditional Confucian disdain for industrial professions. The country needed more engineers and scientists. But with a few decent engineers jobs, not many bright young people wanted to become engineers. So the government increased funding and the number of places in university for engineering and science departments, while doing the reverse (in relative terms) in humanities departments. In the 1960s there were only 0.6 engineering and science graduates for every humanities graduate, but the ratio became one-to-one by the early 1980s. Of course the policy worked ultimately because the economy was industralizing fast and, as a result, there were more and more well-paid jobs for engineers and scientists. It was thanks to the combination of ideological exhortation, educational policy and industrialization - and not just promotion of 'progressive values and attitudes'- that Korea has come to boast one of the best-trained armies of engineers in the world." 







Reinventing culture

"... a 'cultural revolution' will not take root unless there are complementary changes in the underlying economic structures and institutions... in order to promote behavioural traits that are helpful for economic development, we need a combination of ideological exhortation, policy measures to promote economic development and the institutional changes that foster the desired cultural changes. 






"No country is condemned to underdevelopment because of its culture. But at the same time we must not forget that culture cannot be reinvented at will -the failure to create the 'new man'under communism is a good proof of that. The cultural 'reformer'still has to work with existing cultural attitudes and symbols.

"Culture is complex and difficult to define. It does affect economic development, but economic development affects it more than the other way around. Culture is not immutable. It can be changed through: a mutually reinforcing interaction with economic development; ideological persuasion; and complementary policies and institutions that encourage certain forms of bevavoiur; which over time turn into cultural traits." 






http://marcosalas.blogspot.mx/2014/01/el-ladino-global-xi-no-se-requiere.html

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