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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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