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This has also been observed about Southern (i.e. Southeastern US) culture - it has an emphasis on "honor" and "face" that is much-reduced in other American regional cultures. These probably generally go back to historical social structures where reputation was important on a day-to-day level. (e.g. where personal relations took over some economic or legal functions that would be handled through more distant institutions in e.g. Northeastern US culture).

I'm inclined to believe it is driven by the economic situation and how power is consolidated. Where power and prestige creates strong economic advantages is where this kind of behavior wins out. And where innovation speed creates strong economic advantages is where you find more cooperative and negotiative cultures.

If you lose a major war, all you have is your pride. That's probably at the core of this observation.

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