Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Culture vs Economics

Under ideal conditions, I would choose culture over economics.

But as an individual, I put my economics above culture for the sake of personal survival. That's why, successful individuals have learned to be adaptable, adjusting to the external environment while defining for their individual selves a sense of identity - rather than holding strictly to their culture while trying to change the external environment to their defined ways. This is the constant struggle between the liberals and the conservatives.

But then what is culture - Language, Way of Life or Way of Thinking?

Language, in the old unglobalised world, is an infinite variety of sounds made by people to communicate among themselves. In a globalised world, the sounds are now reduced to a few dominant ones for the purpose of mass communication. Purely from an aesthetic point of view, we should try to preserve as much as we can the exotic sounds of humans, within reasonable economic cost.

Further, our culture is defined by our way of life. And our way of life is defined by our social organisation for economic survival. The rural communities have their way of life, the urban centres have their way of life. We have a tendency to think of our culture as the way of life of our parents or ancestors, while we are busily adapting ourselves to the immediate environment for survival. Our way of life is the way we go about our daily business of living, with our "culture" giving us a sense of identity.

But the greatest meeting point must be the meeting of minds, when different people agree to think in a certain way although they may not agree totally with each other's view point. Do we think based on reason or emotion? That is the words of "wise" men and women have been preserved in different languages and handed down thousands of years for the enjoyment and enlightenment of modern people.

What is economics - the alleviation of fears over animal needs?

Animal needs are very easy to satisfy - as the vagabond or the beggar.

But the alleviation of fears over animal needs seems to be creating an enormous problem for the world, where the perfectly fine and living environment is covered with inanimate materials by humans so that they can control the environment. They compact themselves to maximise economic value, which is nothing but the labour of others for the benefit of oneself which is conversely the labour of oneself for the benefit of others.

Culture and economics are intertwined in constant evolution. We are merely in the midst of reaching for a new horizon.

No comments: