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DHP P224: Cultural Capital and Development

Course Description

The influence of cultural values, beliefs, and attitudes on the evolution of societies has been shunned by scholars, politicians, and development experts. It is much more common for the experts to cite geographic constraints, insufficient resources, bad policies, or weak institutions. But by avoiding values and culture, they ignore an important part of the explanation why some societies or ethno-religious groups do better than others with respect to democratic governance, social justice, and prosperity. They also ignore the possibility that progress can be accelerated by (1) analyzing cultural strengths and weaknesses, and (2) addressing cultural change as a purposive policy to apply through families, schools, churches, media, leadership, and/or the law.