Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Many and One

This David Brooks Op-Ed column in NYT Harmony and the Dream is steeped in cultural biases glossed by the thinnest sheen of scientific evidence to support his point of view. While there may something about cultural influences on how people think and behave, Brooks fails to discuss the more important questions of the day - what happens when collectivist cultures turn individualistic ? What forces come into play and how does it transform who participate or are impacted by such a change ?

Conversely, what happens when individualist urn collectivist ? Also, in large, complex and heterogeneous cultures like China or India how the different parts of it - on a varying sliding scale that ranges from highly individual to highly collective work in concert. Those would far more interesting themes to write Op-Eds about. Clearly, that takes more than stringing together a bunch of off the cuff borrowed observations and call it an article as Brooks is prone to doing.

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