Friday, November 24, 2006

Culture or Institutions?

Very interesting article about Iraq. But it's also relevant to Georgia I think, in terms of transition economics and state building. Here are some quotes:

..........however, is that some of the institutions that clearly matter are indisputably cultural. Corruption, which eats away like acid at most development projects, is a lot easier to fight if your citizenry sees bribery as a moral outrage, rather than a convenient way to evade inconvenient rules. Keeping your girl children out of school, and sending the boys to religious schools that eschew math and science in favour of memorising religious texts, dramatically disimproves the prospects of competing economically in the modern world. And people whose cultures distrust foreigners, or any strangers outside the extended family, are unlikely to enter into the complex web of trust in strangers that supports a modern economy—or accept the legitimacy of a democratic government elected by millions of countrymen they have never met.