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The Role Of Culture In The Economic Development Of Countries

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Autor:   •  October 2, 2010  •  3,338 Words (14 Pages)  •  963 Views

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Introduction:

The role of culture in the economic development of countries is often overlooked by economists, yet it can significantly affect a country's economic development. Culture generates assets, such as skills, products, expression, and insight that contribute to the social and economic well being of the community. I will show the benefit of culture's impact on economic development through tourism, social capital, and corporate governance. In contrast, culture can produce negative outcomes in economic development. Cultural issues, such as gender inequality, lack of social capital, and diminishing cultural heritages, contribute to a downgrading economy.

To understand culture's impact on a country's economic development, it is important to understand what culture is: a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living (Hill 98). Furthermore, it is about the way the people live, and how the quality of their lives can be improved. It shapes "the way things are done" and our understanding of why this should be so. Culture is concerned with identity, aspiration, symbolic exchange, coordination, and structures and practices that serve relational ends, such as ethnicity, rituals, heritage, norms, meanings, and beliefs. It is not a set of primitive wonders permanently embedded within national, religious, or other groups, but rather a set of contested attributes, constantly changing, both shaping and being shaped by social and economic aspects of human interaction.

Economic development is fundamentally about enhancing the factors of productive capacity, such as land, labor, capital, and technology, of a national, state, or local economy, as stated by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Economic development influences growth and restructuring of an economy to enhance economic well-being. We experience economic growth when our standard of living is rising. Rather than being a simplistic process, economic development typically is a range of influences aimed at achieving objectives like creating jobs and wealth and improving the quality of life. It incorporates coordinated initiatives targeted at expanding infrastructure and increasing the volume and/or quality of goods and services produced by a community. A common measure of economic development is a country's gross national product per head of population (Hill 62).

Review of Key Arguments:

Cultural tourism is becoming an established part of national and local economic development programs across the world. Regions struggling to maintain a favorable balance of trade without the benefit of manufacturing industries sometimes find that tourism offers the only development option. A number of countries have diversified traditional tourism strategies to include the cultural experiences that tourists increasingly want. Tourism helps improve the local economy and people's living standards. This is very important for the economic development in remote and disadvantaged areas. As much as 90 percent of tourism revenue produces social income through expenditure in trade services, entertainment, food, and transport (www.vov.org.vn). It also generates many new jobs with each person directly involved in tourism generally creating indirect jobs for another two people.

The development of sustainable tourism will attract more people to become involved in introducing new tourism products, protecting the environment, and preserving historical and cultural sites. Many localities are becoming increasingly aware of the contributions of tourism to the increase of their GDP growth, so they have produced various investment strategies for tourism development in their regions.

The strength of social capital, in the form of leadership, partnerships, and community spirit, is another important driver of economic growth and development. Social capital is a community's human wealth: the sum total of its skills, knowledge, and partnerships. It is a powerful element for sustainable development because it ties together local capacity, indigenous knowledge and self-reliance rather than depending on external inputs. Social capital can improve access to resources, services, and opportunities. It can build trust, confidence, and reciprocity to ultimately promote local involvement, group action, and control. The process of cooperation when citizens are actively engaged in the development of their communities awards intangible rewards, such as joy, happiness, job satisfaction, affection, and social support.

At its simplest, culture is itself a form of social capital. When a community comes together to share cultural life, through celebration and intercultural dialogue, it is enhancing its relationships, partnerships and networks. In other words, it is developing social capital. Positive attitudes in terms of local behavior contribute to their general well-being. The factors that make up social capital play a decisive role in the better economic performance, better quality of government, and greater political stability of a country's economic development.

Organizations are increasing their international and competitive business environments. As a result, the culture of an organization and the culture of the country where it is located have become increasingly important factors affecting organization performance. This in turn affects the economic development outcome of its host country. Governance is concerned with issues as diverse as administration, law enforcement, civic engagement, citizen participation, and promotion of equality. The concept of universal human rights ratifies the idea that everyone has fundamental rights and freedoms. Still, there is growing international recognition of distinctions between individual and collective human rights. Culture is a major factor influencing how governance and human rights are conceptualized and put into practice.

Corporate governance comprises a country's private and public institutions, both formal and informal, which together govern the relationship between the people who manage corporations and all others who invest resources in corporations in the country. These institutions notably include the country's corporate laws, securities laws, accounting rules, generally accepted business practices and prevailing business ethics. Although legislative and regulatory frameworks for culture are mainly invisible components of the socio-political environment, they have a profound impact on the development of a community, region, nation, and future generations. Corporate governance matters not only for the health of a country's corporate sector, but it also matters for the country's

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