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Über dieses Buch

Since the end of the Cold War, the study of intercultural relations has become one of the most popular topics in the field of global politics and economics. This book presents a methodological framework for the analysis of intercultural issues frequently misinterpreted by existing theories. The book uses a challenge-and-response theory of cultural development to examine the relationship between different natural disasters and threats and the developments of ancient civilizations. The spatial interaction of ancient civilizations is assessed and some theoretical patterns of intercultural influences are presented with a focus on the Chinese, Egyptian, Indus, and Mesopotamian civilizations. Using the development of China as a case study, and on the basis of a simplified spatial model, the optimal spatial structure and size of culture areas are mathematically solved, and the political economy implications to the interactions between cultures differing in size are illustrated.

The book also examines various aspects of intercultural economic influences, such as those of culture on international trade. The empirical results suggest that high-income trade partners are less sensitive than low-income trade partners to the measures of cultural dissimilarity which block international trade. The existing literature relating to the determinants of economic growth treats explanatory variables such as income inequality and cultural diversity separately. This book investigates whether there are any conditions under which income inequality and cultural diversity could encourage economic growth and provides evidence from a broad panel of nations, which reveals that economic growth is quite independent from the variables of inequality and cultural (linguistic and religious) diversity. Finally, this book provides suggestions for how cultural influences can benefit developing economies both large and small.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Civilizations and Cultures

Abstract
This chapter investigates the origins and the evolutions of ancient civilizations of the world. In order to answer why ancient civilizations are only associated with the rivers of the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Nile, the Indus, and the Yellow instead of the others, a challenge-and-response model of cultural development is founded, and the relationship between different natural disasters (threats) and the developments of ancient civilizations is examined. My discussion takes into account of the world’s major primary civilizations and concludes that rivers and their cyclic nature of annual floods, not the other natural and environmental forces, were a greater catalyst to the birth of the oldest civilizations in the world. This chapter also answers questions such as why existing cultures are conflicting and also complementary.
Rongxing Guo

Chapter 2. After Cultures Meet…

Abstract
No culture is isolated from other cultures. Nor is any culture changeless, invariant, or static. All cultures are in a state of constant flux, driven by both internal and external forces. All of these are the inherent dynamics of a multicultural world per se. In this chapter, beginning with the question “why Mesopotamia had the oldest civilization in the world?,” the spatial interaction of ancient civilizations is assessed; also, four nonlinear patterns of the intercultural dynamics are presented. Our empirical analyses of the four major ancient civilizations (the Mesopotamian, the Egyptian, the Indus, and the Chinese) focus on intercultural influences as well as how they have shaped the spatial dynamics of the world as a whole.
Rongxing Guo

Chapter 3. Spatial Optimality of Cultures

Abstract
Why have some small culture areas formed larger ones, while those large culture areas eventually disintegrated? Why are unions formed by culturally heterogeneous economies sometimes less stable and efficient than those formed by culturally homogeneous economies with different political systems? In this chapter, a model of spatial efficiency (optimality) of cultures is constructed to explain the integration and break up of culture areas. On the basis of this model, four propositions relating to the equilibrium location of and the optimal size of cultures are derived, and their political economy implications to the interactions between cultures differing in size are illustrated. The analytic narratives indicate that the increasing complexity of managing a culture area that either grows beyond a certain size or has locational disadvantages is the major source of cultural inefficiencies.
Rongxing Guo

Chapter 4. Intercultural Economic Influences

Abstract
Given the markedly differing attitudes as well as cultural values between different cultural groups of people, the adoption of a common standard is unlikely to prove effective. However “cultural dissimilarity” may also generate “economic complementarities” that will in turn exert positive influences on foreign trade. As a result the final output of the cultural influences should be nonlinear, subjected to various conditions concerned. In this chapter, cultural influences on international trade are found to be more significant for the post-Cold War era than in the Cold War era. Our empirical results also provide evidence supporting the presumption that high-income trade partners will be less sensitive to the measures of cultural dissimilarity than low-income trade partners between which cultural dissimilarity leads to barriers to international trade. The treatment of linguistic and religious factors as continuous variables in this chapter has improved past studies in which “language” was treated as one or more dummy variables and “religion” was ignored.
Rongxing Guo

Chapter 5. Economic Growth in Culturally Diverse Nations

Abstract
In existing literature relating to the determinants of economic growth, such explanatory variables as income inequality and cultural diversity have been treated separately. In this chapter, we try to discuss their joint effects. Evidence from a broad panel of nations reveals somewhat ambiguous results in that economic growth is quite independent from the variables of inequality and cultural (linguistic and religious) diversity. But for the post-Cold War era, there is also an indication that religious diversity tends to retard growth in high-inequality nations and to encourage growth in low-inequality places. Besides, we find some evidence that supports the view that inequality tends to encourage growth in low religious diversity nations, but not in high religious diversity places. The estimated results show that higher religious diversity could become a source of productive factors contributing to economic growth for low-inequality nations; but in nations with high degrees of religious diversity, high inequality could seriously affect economic growth. In nations with low degrees of religious diversity, income inequality could generate higher economic growth since there are very few, if any, intercultural barriers within each religiously homogeneous nation.
Rongxing Guo

Chapter 6. Multicultural Risks and Opportunities

Abstract
Cultural dissimilarity is found to result in both conflict and cooperation, depending on various conditions and contexts concerned. Specifically, intercultural cooperation will be very sensitive to the measures of cultural difference in countries where cultural difference leads to serious intranational and international barriers. However, cultural dissimilarity would have a very small effect on conflict if the diverse groups have learned to live with each other in a politically stable and economically equitable environment. Our case studies provide empirical evidence that supports the hypothesis that culture sometimes may be an obstacle to multicultural development. At the sametime, they also suggest that (1) small, low-inequality economies can benefit from cultural diversity; (2) small, backward economies can benefit from radical and large-scale cultural influences from the outside world; and (3) large, backward economies can benefit from gradual and incremental cultural influences from the outside world.
Rongxing Guo

Chapter 7. Intercultural Economic Policy

Abstract
Since the end of the Cold War era, the study of intercultural relations has become one of the most popular topics in the field of global politics and economics. In this last chapter, intercultural economics sets out to include more practical issues. The tips highlighting negotiation differences in nine distinct cultures (African, Arabic, Chinese, Eastern European, Western European, Japanese, Indian, Latin American, and North American) are provided. It should be noted that although the various cultural groups in the world have some commonalties, it is unlikely that the cultural universalism would become a possibility in the foreseen future. Surely, it is time to learn how to let cultural diversity lead not to the clash of cultures, but to the peaceful coexistence and creativity!
Rongxing Guo

Backmatter

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