Sunday, September 7, 2014

Japan leading by example

This is a fascinating look at Japan, but what I wanted to highlight was this:

People I interacted with in Japan seemed to be intent on being honest and conscientious in their work because it was part of a cultural code of conduct. That’s just the way we do it in Japan is what it felt like to me...

Within a few days in Japan, my cynicism was replaced by trust, which made me begin to feel an obligation to the society as a whole to keep within the social code of integrity.

We are social animals. We copy what others do, especially if those others are social leaders. Now look at how many of our social leaders behave, from celebrities to politicians. That should explain a lot.

Trust is the most valuable cultural asset, and the Libertarian enterprise to reduce everyone to a profit-seeking machine destroys that trust. I don't particularly want to live in Japan (its social conformity has plenty of downsides), but the basic concept of integrity is something that is self-replicating. Sadly, that's the only way it replicates: people are only trustworthy after others have been trustworthy to them.

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