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This is a great point. Also thanks for being neutral on this topic, especially given how hard it is to do so on Hacker News these days on this topic.

I'm typically highly critical of America but I think Asian cultures have a lot to learn from the US resolution of the civil war and general conflict resolution between parties of unequal power. One can easily reference the uneasy outcomes of Asian civil wars that didn't end in re-homogenization (such as Japan).

My running theory is still that the millennia-steeped culture is rooted in geographic dispositions and historical modes of production. In derivatives of mediterranean trading cultures like minoans, pheonicians, greeks etc, local production is not self-sufficient and equality, contracts, conflict resolution is your 'means of production' and, to put in a controversial idea, what social darwinism selects for. In continental/big plains/big rivers agrarian societies like sinocentric societies or even Egypt, unity, mass labor, hierarchy is their means of production for flood control, irrigation and other agrarian projects. Questioning traditional wisdom/methodology, parents and trying to get creative with how you plant your crops is an easy way to get yourself starved and what social darwinism selects against.




I really like this kind of thinking, it's where my brain is heading currently.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time or skill in weeding through historical facts and theory/storytelling to know if the "agricultural economy informs cultural values" hypothesis is true.

My theory right now is more on income being a much stronger determining factor of culture than realized. A lot of specifically "Asian", "Indian" or "Western" values are actually just a reflection of income levels more than anything else, and many cultural norms will disappear when income levels equalized (like, the Asian attitude towards luxury goods or smoking).




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