September 17, 2006

Cultural stereotypes shape relations

Why nations trust or don't trust each other:

Trust pays off[N]either close proximity nor common language alone affects the relative faith one country has in another. For instance, the British and French—separated only by the English Channel—tend not to trust each other. Something beyond the objective is at work.

The three cultural factors, according to the team’s research, play a significant role in forming trust. Fewer ethnic ties lowered respondents’ confidence in foreigners by more than 6 percent. The number of years their states had been at war in the last millennia also mattered. And between states where 90 percent of the population shared the same religion, as with Italy and Spain, trust rose 30 percent. Ethnicity and religion, Zingales notes, are particularly powerful indicators.
Comment:  I suspect this analysis applies to the US and its Indian nations also. For instance, I bet relations are better in the Southwest, where there's more shared ethnicity and religion, than in the Northeast.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
This a curious topic, in that Natives as 'sovereign nations' have no reasons beyond geography and subordination for trusting either the national government or state governments. If shared religion and ethnicity ostensibly could make for better relations in the southwest, there would have to be one whole hell of a lot of Catholics and mixed-race people of position in Arizona and New Mexico.
Native areas were parceled out to various religious sects on a first-come, first-grab basis. In Oklahoma, Protestants got in first and Mormons last. Hence, my own maternal grandfather was made over into a Baptist minister who then visited that faith on over half the Kiowa tribe.
Most recent burble: my brother David passed away of an autoimmune condition in June of 2005. At his wake, a cousin of mine from California came to me and started the Baptist line about resurrection and redemption, and went on and on until he struck a nerve by saying he was oh so happy that our grandparents had chosen to become Christians.
As my brother David would have said, if he had been alive, I said, "Yes, I'm happy they did, too. Remember the family stories telling that the US Army at Ft. Sill issued the Kiowas a choice: become Christians, or you will be shot down where you stand? So, yes, I'm glad our grandparents chose to become Christians, because if they had not, we would not be here to talk to one another." He looked at me, and suddenly seemed to wake up; then he nodded, shook my hand, and left.
Trust always must be earned. So, I guess I should put any trust I have in the bank, because it's not drawing any interest out here.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'