Posted: July 19th, 2023
Return of the State, Globalization, State Theory
Capitalism, as we know, is an economic system that is simple in its definition — but complex in its realization. Arising with the medieval practice of feudalism (lords owning land and controlling labor of the serfs), capitalism is can be simply defined as an economic system, marked by open competition in a free market. In this free market, however, the means of production and distribution are owned by individuals or groups (corporations) and only their continual growth and reinvestment (accumulation of wealth) drives the economy forward. However, for some, capitalism tends to incorporate a certain “way of thinking,” driven by greed, the search for ever increasing profits, worldwide expansion, and internal development. Starting from the earliest origins of capitalism, only societies with the capabilities and the appropriate mindset could flourish amidst this period of economic, social, and religious dispersion. Modern capitalism arose and developed in Europe, largely due to the rise of technology, the Industrial revolution, and for some, the ethics of Christianity which promoted manual labor and helped provide the necessary hyper-productivity for a surplus of production (Bryer, 2004). By its very nature, though, capitalism requires a sort of imperialism — markets and areas that can be exploited for economic development. Some even argue that the 21st century is a world of “new imperialism,” characterized by the direct penetration of U.S. capital into foreign social formations, which induces the restricting of economic, political and ideological relationships within those nation states and their subordinate articulation with a new American superstate (Barrow, 2005).
There is a presumption, often promulgated by scholars and politicians in the developed world, that social, political and cultural development are synonymous with a move towards modernization. In fact, modernization theory is also sometimes referred to as the developmental doctrine, a paradigm spurred on particularly after World War II when the United States formed its Cold War policy and understood that it had obligations to the developing world (e.g. unindustrialized or newly independent post-colonial nations). Modernization can thus be an evolutionary movement of technological progress or a reaction to the past and a new template for the future. However, we must understand that it is both a continuous, and open-ended, process. It is not the type of social change in which there is a clear beginning, middle and end; but rather a movement towards equilibrium on a scale that is constantly changing. Historians, for instance, tend to link modernization to the process of urbanization and industrialization, as well as the spread of compulsory education throughout a population based in this view, humans come together in cities for a variety of reasons: safety, job specialization, etc. And then move technologically forward until much of their society is mechanized and there is then ample opportunity for even more specialization and adaptation through education (Inglehart 1997). In critical sociological theory, modernization is linked more to the more cognitive process of rationalization. This process holds that as modernization (especially technical acuity) increases within a society, the role of the individual begins to take on far more importance, and eventually replaces the family, the extended family, and even the community as the fundamental change agent for society (Roberts & Hite (eds.) 2000).
The idea of development equaling modernization is not new to the 20th century, even though the popularization did not really occur until decolonialization post-World War II. In fact, Aristotle suggested that states follow a natural pattern of growth, much like plants and biological entities.
Culture & Negotiations
Globalization has brought many benefits and potential growth opportunities for companies around the world. Companies may now expand their reach to sell their products to countries on the other side of the planet, but there are some issues that have to be approached and resolved prior to doing business overseas: the negotiations between company “A” in the United States and company “B” in Singapore, for example, have to take into account cultural differences and cultural traditions. This paper reviews some of the negotiation styles that need to be understood and practiced in the context of doing business in foreign lands.
When business representatives from different cultures meet in a negotiation setting there needs to be understanding of the cultural foundations of each negotiator. When an American business representative is interesting in negotiating a deal for his company to establish a manufacturing plant in Singapore, for example, the American must understand that Singapore is home to three “dominate cultural groups” (Chinese, 76.4%; Malays, 14.9%; and Indians, 6.4% of the population) (Osman-Gani, et al., 2002, p. 820).
The link between culture and negotiation, according to author Osman-Gani, can be best understood through four approaches: culture as a “learned behavior”; culture as a “system of shared values”; culture as a “dialectic”; and culture “in context” (821). “Culture as a learned behavior” is defined as those behaviors that attempt to reflect the attitudes of the (foreign) culture, but some negotiators read “how to negotiate” manuals and think this will help in understanding the foreign culture, but doing this “fails to explain individual differences in negotiation styles” (Osman-Gani, 821). The author’s “culture as a system of shared values” means that the one culture must have some similarities with the foreign culture, but wait, this also fails to explain negotiating style differences. “Culture as dialectic” is more dynamic than the first two but the bottom line is the Chinese negotiating style is collectivistic and the American style is individualistic, so there has to be some give and take. . “Culture in context” suggests that negotiation styles between Americans and Chinese in Singapore really boils down to negotiation based on individual personalities and cultural values.
After conducting surveys in Singapore (to Chinese negotiators, Malay negotiators, and Indian negotiators), the author reports that the most prevalent style of negotiating for all three cultures in Singapore was “intuitive” negotiations. Americans going to Singapore to entertain the possibility of establishing business there, need to know each of the three cultures prefers to deal.
Religion plays an important part in the cultural life of every country, and a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of International Business Research points out the cultural realities regarding the negotiation styles of Muslim Iranians, Buddhist Taiwanese and Christian Americans. The independent variables in this research — religion, collectivism, education, age, gender and work experience — were tested through empirical surveys of the three cultures. The “devotion to religious rules” is far more prevalent among Muslims than among Christians and Buddhist groups (Farazmand, et al., 2011).
While negotiators should be aware of this cultural fact, this does not mean that any Muslim negotiator would rely more on religion than on “analytical, normative, factual or intuitive negotiation styles”; what matters is the degree of devotion the negotiator has to his faith. Finding that out prior to launching negotiations of course may be problematic, but the negotiator should make an attempt to learn the degree of devotion a Muslim negotiator has prior to the interaction (Farazmand, 40). Knowledge of the Muslim religion would help and “…could result in a higher probability of successful agreements,’ Farazmand explains (40). Moreover, knowing the ideological beliefs of the negotiator — whether it is in Taiwan, Iran, or America — also gives the negotiation a sense of cultural understanding before engaging in dialogue.
In conclusion, having a full understanding of the cultural beliefs, practices and ideological dynamics of the person in the foreign country that will be the negotiator offers an open door to understanding, cooperation, and deal making. The ability to know ahead of time the level of religious and ideological commitment the other negotiator has with respect to his culture is extremely valuable for the success of the negotiation.
Farazmand, Farideh a., Tu, Yu-Te, and Daneefard, Hasan. (2011). Is Religious Culture a Factor
in Negotiation: A Cross-cultural Comparison of Iran, Taiwan and the United States. Journal of International Business Research, 10(1), 27-41.
Osman-Gani, AAhad M., and Tan, Joo-Seng. (2002). Thunderbird International Business Review
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