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The President's Corner   | Left, Right Left  | A Case for Cultural Sensitivity in Economic History

May 2001

Volume II, Number 3 

by George Huppert

          I was bent over with laughter when I read Walter Goodman's tongue-in-cheek account, in the New York Times of August 19, of the annual meeting of a well-established scholarly association. "Sociologists to the barricades," ran the headline. The official theme of this year's meeting of the American Sociological Association was "Oppression, Domination and Liberation." The conference promised insights into "manifestations of social inequality, such as class exploitation and oppression on the basis of gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual preference, disability, and age." It was a big tent, remarked the Times reporter, as he lingered in amazement over seductive panel of titles such as "Gender Oppression," "Postmodern Critiques of Science," "Gender Discrimination Revisited," or "Confronting Racism, Sexism and Homophobia in Academia." Among the speakers who caught the reporter's attention was an assistant professor from California "who kept announcing himself as a 'pro-feminist gay Chicano.'" The rare speaker who neglected to call for immediate political action found himself denounced for "implicit racism," while another speaker's call for "an end to the system we are all fighting against" met with approval. There was warm support in the audience for what the Times reporter describes as "a non-discriminatory policy of overthrow." 
          Given the theatrical simulacrum of political engagement on the part of our assembled sociological colleagues, it was not entirely surprising, perhaps, that Ralph Nader, the presidential candidate, appeared to address the meeting and drew a sizeable crowd, while the "Gender Discrimination" panel attracted only two dozen women, among them "a small woman in a large hat calling fervently and very sociologically for a 'feminist paradigm.'" The reporter was having a field day, in the tradition of James Thurber, but he also raised a serious question: "what was a presidential candidate doing making a campaign address under the auspices of a group purportedly given to scientific independence of a sort?" 
          I suppose that most readers of this bulletin are not in the least surprised by the odd behavior attributed to our sociological colleagues. After all, we have seen equally surprising attitudes struck at nominally scholarly meetings for some time now. Some of us have learned to give a wide berth to panels whose participants "construct" and "deconstruct" and speak of "representation," "discourse," "gender," and "bodies" in tortured phrases seemingly mistranslated from the original Bulgarian, as in "Rewriting the Sexual Encounter" or "The Artisanal Body: Narrating Bodily Knowledge." University Presses continue listing monographs with alluring titles such as Making the Body Beautiful (plastic surgery), Written on the Body (tattoos), Tortured Subjects (pain, bodies,) or The Pope's Body. Violence done to bodies is a popular theme in university press books, as in Writing Violence on the Northern Frontier or Sapphic Slashers, although the duller titles are content with proclaiming their radical chic quality by inducing the passé-partout word "gender," as in Gender, Sexuality and Self, or, grandly, The Gender of History
          Such topics, often chosen by dissertation writers and panelists at historians' conferences, may seem a bit on the odd side. The innocent observer may also be struck by the uniformity of these productions which resemble each other as fatefully as do the cheap constructions of suburban strip malls. The books and papers are all about oppression, about violent sexual behavior, about "bodies." They seem designed to invite derision. 
          Could it be that the contortions described by the Times reporter are actually symptomatic of a disease already receding? For confirmation of such an optimistic prognosis, one may turn to the Olympian verdicts in the pages of the New York Review of Books, which attest to the survival of a hard core of sane scholarship immune to the vulgar fetishes brandished by mobs of arrivistes. One need only to look at the program of our own national conference to recognize that many historians stay clear of trivial pursuits. Look at some of the names of the speakers at our two June conferences: John Patrick Diggins, Karen Fields, Shelia Fitzpatrick, Robert Fogel, John Lewis Gaddis, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Eugene Genovese, Daniel Gordon, Victor Davis Hanson, Richard Hellie, John Higginson, Patrice Higonnet, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Russell Jacoby, Donald Kagan, Emmet Kennedy, Robert Kingdon, Mary Lefkowitz, Michael Lind, Pauline Maier, Martin Malia, Wilson J. Moses, Steven Ozment, Orlando Patterson, Stanley Payne, Leo Ribuffo, Sheldon Stern, Deborah Symonds, John Womack, Dale Van Kley, Lynne Viola, Sean Wilentz, or Gordon Wood. Many of the other participants were young, fresh out of graduate school, or still students. We heard straight talk and significant questions addressed. And although the theme of the 2000 conference happened to be the study of Revolutions, no one called for an armed uprising, and blessedly, there was no mention of bodies. 

George Huppert is president of THS and a professor of history, University of Illinois, Chicago. 

Opinion: Left, Right, Left
by Andrew J. Bacevich

          As an entering graduate student in history at Princeton in the mid-1970s, I lacked both academic preparation and intellectual self-confidence. When it came to divining the meaning of the past, everybody else -- faculty and fellow students alike -- evinced great certainty. For my part, I felt overwhelmed, as if I had been shoved toward an unfamiliar pitch, handed an odd-shaped ball, and told, "you're in." I didn't even know the rules. Only the fact that I was at the time also a serving military officer saved me from complete disorientation. Despite all the evidence to the contrary that had heaped up over the previous decade -- Saigon had fallen just two months before my arrival on campus -- I approached history certain of one thing: in a manichaean world, the United States walked on the side of the angels. 
          When it came to my chosen field -- U. S. diplomatic history -- this conviction offered a useful compass. By the 1970s, the study of American foreign relations had become all but indistinguishable from the study of the Cold War, which was in turn largely viewed through the prism of Vietnam. As such, the field was stormy, contentious, highly politicized, and on occasion downright nasty. Knowing who the good guys were, knowing that the likes of Mao, Ho, and Fidel weren't good guys, permitted me to navigate to a safe harbor -- to wit, the familiar confines of liberal internationalist orthodoxy. 
          Orthodoxy offered a multitude of benefits, not the least of which was that it obviated any requirement to examine pre-existing assumptions regarding the purpose and uses of American power. It enabled me, with Ernest May, to derive comfort from the belief that whereas "Some nations achieve greatness; the United States had greatness thrust upon it."1 The ultimate explanation for (and justification of) American global preeminence lay in the realm of Providence. 
          In the grand historiographical scheme of things, orthodoxy also enabled me to situate myself in relation to two key figures, each in his way a nemesis of the liberal internationalist creed: William Appleman Williams, the godfather of Cold War revisionism, and Williams's renowned precursor, Charles A. Beard. 
          At the time, one was au courant, the other passé. Everybody was reading Williams. His ideas did not inform seminar room debate; they permeated it. By contrast, no one read Beard. If we had occasion to touch on his ideas, it was chiefly for the purpose of rejecting them out of hand. 
          Of the two, Beard was by far the easier to reckon with, if only because he had long since become discredited. In the twilight of a fabulous career, this lifelong progressive had (so the story went) inexplicably soured, veered sharply to the right, and on the defining question of the day -- whether or not Hitler (and the system he represented) posed a threat to the United States -- erred spectacularly. To the last, Beard had opposed U. S. entry into World War II. As soon as the war ended, he returned to his cause with something like perverse enthusiasm, launching a venomous attack on FDR for having been deceitful, prevaricating, and manipulative. In so doing, Beard put himself beyond the pale of respectability. Already in 1944, Lewis Mumford was castigating Beard in print as "a passive -- no, active -- abettor of tyranny, sadism, and human defilement." 2 The bottom line was that Beard was a certifiable isolationist. In the liberal internationalist church there exists no greater sin. Knowing that, I knew all that I needed to about Charles Beard. 
          Beard's intellectual heir, Williams proved far less easy to dismiss, if only because of his status as a reigning academic celebrity. In his writings, Williams echoed and amplified themes that Beard had first developed decades before -- depicting U. S. foreign policy as an outgrowth of domestic imperatives, manifested in a persistent drive to secure an "open door" for American capitalism. Like Beard, Williams viewed the drive for openness abroad as an effort to deflect threats to cherished but deeply flawed political, economic, and social arrangements at home. Whatever ailed the country, the solution was to be found in growth, especially economic growth. In the eyes of American policy elites, therefore, the choice was as stark as it was inescapable: commercial expansion or stagnation and decay, world dominion or irreversible decline. 
          To Beard, the implications of continuously "pushing and holding open doors in all parts of the world," had been clear: it pointed to meddling, militarization, and permanent war justified as a messianic pursuit of universal peace.3 Williams concurred, adding his own apocalyptic warnings about illusions of military omnipotence, born of the nuclear revolution. But whereas Beard could only speculate about calamities that might ensue, Williams had seemingly irrefutable proof immediately at hand: the debacle of Vietnam. 
          When it came to remedies, Beard offered modest suggestions for Americans to tend to their own garden. Williams seemingly went much further. More than a mere progressive, he stood in the vanguard of the New Left. In the fashion of the day, Williams denounced American "imperialism," touted the virtues of "revolution," and referred sympathetically, if vaguely, to "socialism." To some, such talk was heady stuff. To others, it smacked of sedition. 
          Indeed, Williams fancied himself something of a homegrown radical. Among his legion of admirers, much was made of his role as charismatic leader of the "Wisconsin School." The young Williams had breathed deeply the radical vapors that seemingly hover above Madison. But other parts of his biography told a different story. Like Beard -- and like myself, for that matter -- Williams had been born and raised in the heartland. Like myself, he was a service academy graduate. During World War II, he had served honorably as a naval officer in the Pacific. Could such a man really be quite the dangerous heretic that cardinals of the liberal internationalism such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. accused him of being? 
          Schlesinger and other princes of the church would not budge from their insistence that the defining question of the Cold War was whether or not Stalin (and the system he represented) posed a threat to the United States. On that score, Schlesinger had no doubts and, my own dismal experience in Vietnam notwithstanding, neither did I. Yet Williams, like Beard before him, disagreed and persisted in posing altogether different questions from a different point of view. When it came to totalitarianism, he was, again like Beard, blind, deaf, and dumb. That became the bottom line on William A. Williams. Knowing that, I knew -- for the moment at least -- all I needed to. 
          Fast-forward twenty-five years. A decade after the end of the Cold War, with totalitarianism little more than an ugly memory, we have ostensibly embarked upon an altogether new era. According to the conventional wisdom, one of the few things that we can state with confidence about this new era is that the United States has yet to devise a coherent foreign policy. Now at the top of the heap, the nation that had greatness thrust upon it just makes it up as it goes along. 
          Bill Clinton, thus far the era's dominant political figure, says otherwise. Although as a foot soldier in what Mrs. Clinton calls the "vast right wing conspiracy," I cannot abide her husband. On this point it seems to me that he deserves a hearing. Clinton campaigned for the presidency, announcing his discovery that in the aftermath of the Cold War foreign and domestic policy had become all but inseparable. He came into office promising to place U. S. economic interests at the forefront of his foreign policy agenda. To the new president and his advisers, that meant above all finding new outlets for American manufactures and capital. Securing new markets abroad, administration officials said, was a prerequisite for restoring prosperity at home. (Absent prosperity, there would be no second term). 
          Appropriating clichés about globalization and the information revolution, the president and his lieutenants -- chief among them Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Samuel L. Berger, his national security adviser -- evolved over time a broad theoretical basis for this renewed emphasis on commercial diplomacy. Henceforth, they argued, the central objective of U. S. grand strategy would be to facilitate the processes of integration, tearing down barriers that obstructed the movement of goods, capital, people, ideas, and culture. The aim was to nurture an international order whose abiding characteristic would be "openness." Harnessed to the wonders of information technology, "openness," they asserted, would generate wealth on a scale hitherto unimaginable. It would advance the cause of democracy around the world. It would reduce, if not eliminate, the inclination of states to wage war against one another. It would produce a world sharing America's values (which are, of course, universal values) and remade in America's image. Over that world the United States would benignly preside as the "indispensable nation." In an open world, international politics would no longer be a zero-sum game. It would be win-win, with the United States, not so incidentally, claiming the larger share.           This was not just idle talk. The passage of NAFTA, the creation of the World Trade Organization, Clinton's flip-flop on China granting the "butchers of Beijing" Permanent Normal Trade Relations, the three hundred plus trade agreements that the administration incessantly bragged about having negotiated -- all testified to the vigor with which the United States pursued the goal of openness. 
          But the pursuit of that goal tells only half the story of American policy in the 1990s. The other half centered on the doings of the anachronistically named Department of Defense. At a time when conventional threats to U. S. national security had all but vanished, American military activity increased exponentially. As the world's only superpower, the United States dispatched forces around the world in an astonishing array of settings and situations to demonstrate resolve, restore order, enforce norms of behavior, succor the afflicted, and punish rogues and miscreants. 
          Globalization, it turns out, has a dark side as well. The same openness that helped launch the Clinton economic boom also offered opportunities for those who did not share the president's view that the United States embodied what the president called "the right side of history." According to Clinton, globalization generated new threats, making the world a more dangerous place and expanding the requirement for American military power. Nobody could quite say what the ultimate cost of openness was likely to be, whether in blood or treasure, but it was not going to be a freebie. 
          Thus, although the United States was already spending more on defense than all of the other major powers, whether friend or foe, combined, the 1990s ended with both of the candidates vying to succeed Mr. Clinton agreeing that the Pentagon's budget was too small. Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, having shed their infatuation with nukes, were flinging themselves headlong into a fresh effort to achieve military omnipotence, hoping to parlay America's edge in advanced technology into what they called "Full Spectrum Dominance." 
          From time-to-time reservations about these policies were heard, whether coming from those who detect in U. S. global aspirations a certain hubris, or from others uncomfortable with the incessant flexing of American military muscle. The Clinton administration regularly denounced such concerns as the hectoring of isolationists. 
          What is one to make of all this? From my present vantage point -- no longer a serving officer and not a practicing diplomatic historian, but an interested observer of contemporary policy -- the received dogmas of liberal internationalism have not proven to be especially useful.           But the insights of Beard and Williams -- neither of whom would have been surprised by a liberal president's preoccupation with openness or penchant for using force -- have been very useful indeed. When it comes to Hitler and Stalin, they remain as wrong as they ever were. But their peculiar blind spots are today less pertinent -- indeed, may even account for -- the fact that, in their own time, they were able to see what others missed or refused to acknowledge. 
          What they saw then matters now. The progressive-turned-crank and the icon of the New Left remind us that the supposedly "new" policies of a "new" era have deep roots in the American diplomatic tradition. Re-reading Beard and Williams, it becomes impossible to accept the Clinton administration's typically self-aggrandizing claims of innovation and creativity in reshaping American grand strategy. Taking a fresh look at the "Open Door" thesis suggests that the post-Cold War assertion of global leadership (a. k. a., hegemony) backed by military power reflects the culmination of a project that spans a century or more. 
          For those seeking to understand the origins, scope, and implications of that project, Beard and Williams deserve recognition as genuine (if flawed) prophets. Dissenters from the present-day foreign policy consensus should find inspiration in the example of Beard who persevered, despite being vilified for advocating an "isolationism" that he never actually espoused. They should honor the courage and patriotism of Williams, who, as it turns out, was never quite the wide-eyed radical he purported to be. (Not only did Williams nurse a soft spot for conservative statesmen like Herbert Hoover, he positively loathed the cultural upheaval to which the New Left helped give rise, being equally discomfited by the sexual revolution and the women's movement. His "revolution" amounted to a nostalgic hope that America might adopt the values of the small-town Iowa of his boyhood).4 
          Those who would fashion a critique of post-Cold War U. S. foreign policy could do far worse than to take as their point of departure the framework of analysis first developed by Beard and Williams. Above all, they might follow the example set by Beard and Williams in refusing to accept the perversion of language that impedes honest discourse about the actual purposes to which American power is put -- the language that today, for example, talks of "humanitarian wars" that are nothing of the sort, and the use of force to "restore democracy" where democracy has never existed. However unlikely the notion, those of us who consider ourselves conservatives might actually find in the embattled old progressive and the self-professed radical kindred spirits. Worried about the consequences of the United States involving itself in another world war, Beard once cautioned that America's true destiny was not to be Rome but to be America. In the first decade of the second American century it may be too late to worry about whether or not the United States should be shouldering imperial burdens. But it is not too late to reflect on just what sort of empire we intend to be. In that regard, we would do well to heed Williams's counsel. "Assume empire is necessary," he wrote in his last book. "[W]hat is the optimum size of the empire; and what are the proper -- meaning moral as well as pragmatic -- means of structuring, controlling, and defending the empire so that it will produce welfare and democracy for the largest number of the imperial population?"5 
          Those remain the right questions. In the post-Cold War era, they are increasingly urgent questions. To ignore them further is to court disaster. 

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of international relations at Boston University. He is completing a book on post-Cold War U. S. foreign policy. 

1Ernest May, Imperial Democracy (New York, 1961), p. 270. 
2Quoted in Peter Novick, That Noble Dream (New York, 1988), p. 292. 
3Charles A. Beard, The Open Door at Home (New York, 1935), p. vii. 
4Williams's cultural conservatism -- by the end of his life he had returned to the Episcopal Church -- greatly complicated efforts by his biographers to canonize him as a New Left saint. See Paul M. Buhle and Edward Rice-Maxim, William Appleman Williams: The Tragedy of Empire (New York, 1995), pp. 153-156, 160-165, 177-178, 198, 250. 
5William Appleman Williams, Empire as a Way of Life (New York, 1980), p. 213. 6 


The Profession: The Case for Cultural Sensitivity in (Economic) History 
by David Moltke-Hansen 

          Economic history is still a battleground. George C. Rogers made the point in his commentary on several econometric papers some two decades ago. Observing, "It is names, not numbers, that count," he flashed on the screen a slide of a mid-eighteenth-century waterfront view of Charleston, South Carolina. He then went down the row of wharves and, after naming their owners, explained their ties across the Atlantic, down in the Caribbean, and along the Atlantic seaboard. It was a bravura performance. History for him was about people, not simply their statistical shadows and patterns. It frustrated Rogers that his subject had been lost to view in the papers on which he was commenting. Why not, he in effect was asking, render the understandings derived from statistical analysis in such terms as his reading of the Charleston waterfront suggested? Rogers's commentary was also substantive. South Carolinians in the eighteenth century lived within the world economic system. The meanings and functions of this system, however, were personal as well as local, not just statistical or global. 
          The same is true, it can be argued, when the subject is the American South's industrialization in the half-century before or the half-century after the Great Depression. One needs to grasp the nature of the challenges and changes facing the South's leading modernizers, this argument goes, to see broadly the contexts and constraints within which these men operated. That said, the story is still the achievement of relative economic success in a relatively backward area, and that story should, the argument continues, take us back from numbers to names and from economics to culture. From this perspective, much of the interest of the story lies in the ways in which modernizers defined and pursued their goals culturally as well as economically. These men were not simply importing, but adapting, as well as adapting to, norms and practices originally developed elsewhere. In doing so, they were taking into account issues of race, class, and gender that had specifically regional, not only national, dimensions. 
          The argument has present application. Although Mississippi and North Carolina are now the most industrialized states in the union, labor does not have nearly the organized presence there that it developed in the North. This matters, as do the differences in worker culture between North and South. As a machinist from New Jersey recently observed, living in Charlotte is not like living in Newark or Chicago. He was talking about more than prevalent accents and diet. He found education, productivity, and professional associations as well as pace of life, neighbors' attitudes, and entertainment opportunities very different. "You can take the Yankee out of the North," he said, "but you can't take the North out of the Yankee." Many southerners would agree. There are still cultural as well as economic differences between North and South, although they are diminishing. 
          What scholars need to remember, the culturally sensitive insist, is that the South's industrialization began as southerners were consciously reframing their cultural identities after the Civil War. In important ways the economic and cultural development of the region were intertwined. The contrasting argument is that an area's long-term economic success is to a large degree situational and circumstantial, not cultural or social or moral. The small initial advantages of some communities or regions become magnified with the passage of time. Success breeds success. Little differences become big differences. Such economic success, however, is not predestined or permanent. The plantation economy propelled much of the Old South's wealth but then mired the region in colonial dependence on an industrializing North in the wake of the Civil War's devastation. 
          Scholars inclined to this culturally insensitive approach ignore the arguments of Max Weber and Richard Tawney in, respectively, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and Religion and the Rise of Capitalism. Weber and Tawney sought to explain the motives and behaviors of the participants in the take-offs of the economies of Northern and Western Europe. They observed that Protestantism arose in these same areas of future economic development at a time and among people important in that development. Their conclusion was that the culture, and elements of the ideology of Protestantism had had profound economic consequences. 
          Scholars challenging the premises of Weber and Tawney can point to differences between the developments of the American South and the American manufacturing belt. There is no large region in the contemporary, developed world with a more Protestant populace or greater level of church attendance than the American South, a place as large as all of Western Europe. Yet this area fared progressively worse than the northern industrial belt that drew large Catholic and Orthodox Christian, as well as Jewish, immigrant populations in the century before the Great Depression. Even today, despite the economic resurgence of the sunbelt, the South has less entrepreneurship, cutting-edge developments, or number of patents than the much more urbanized parts of the North. 
          Urban density translates into markets, a depth of labor resources, and inventive talent. The South has cities, but not a belt of cities. Instead, it has belts of rural poverty--the black belt, stretching through roughly 650 counties from Delaware to Texas; Appalachia, which runs from northeastern Mississippi to New England and is primarily a belt of white poverty; a Latino belt stretching westward from Texas, and a Native American archipelago encompassing reservations and other Native American population concentrations in North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as in such western states as South Dakota. 
          Together, the black belt and southern Appalachia almost precisely match the Bible belt, as well as the gospel music belt. The plantation economy that led to the black belt's development and the migration patterns and transportation developments and geographic features that have defined aspects of Appalachia's emergence have been culturally linked in profound and often surprising ways. To isolate the economic from these other considerations may have heuristic value. On the other hand, to separate the South's economic from the region's cultural development is fundamentally misleading. The South's culture and economy--or cultures and economies--developed together and interdependently. Weber and Tawney were not wrong to ask about the interrelatedness of Protestantism and capitalism. And, as close readers know, they never argued simple cause and effect. Rather, they suggested that the developments reinforced each other ideologically as well as practically, at the level of work ethics and habits. Both scholars also noted quietist, corporatist, and other tendencies in Protestantism that were anti-capitalist. The development of capitalism militated against these anti-capitalist strains in Protestantism, while the development of Protestantism helped define the cultural perceptions and functions of capitalism. 
          New England began as a corporatist and anti-capitalist, Protestant bastion, only later to flourish as an increasingly secular center of industrial development, while the South began as a relatively secular magnet for profit seekers, and only later saw its economic development outstripped by the manufacturing belt during a period of growing southern religiosity. This paradox does not undercut, but rather reinforces the significance of the effort to analyze cultural and economic developments together, dialectically. 
          If culture has pervasive and profound economic implications, economic developments also have pervasive and profound cultural implications. As Steven Hahn has noted in his The Roots of Southern Populism, many southern yeomen surrendered much of their vaunted independence when they started participating in the market economy as cotton or tobacco producers, or as textile mill hands. 
          Even at the level of infrastructure, the economy includes cultural factors. Most would acknowledge that education at once reflects and imposes cultural values to economic as well as social and political ends. Scholars have long accepted that the different natures of French, German, and English economic developments in the twentieth century in part have reflected decisions made about education in each country in the nineteenth century. Tax policy is another arena where cultural values have considerable influence. A strong labor town, Philadelphia has imposed heavier taxes on business than any other major metropolis in the country. The correlation of patents with other indices of economic development does not argue against the cultural dimension of entrepreneurship. Rather, it suggests that development not only takes place where entrepreneurship is valued, but also can change culture, increasing its value. 
          To observe that very different cultural areas have sometimes produced very similar numbers does not effectively counter the point. Over the last third of the nineteenth and first two-thirds of the twentieth centuries, northern New England, Quebec, and the Maritimes did no better fundamentally than the American South. Both broad areas lagged significantly behind the emerging, then maturing, manufacturing belt. But while Quebec and the South both lagged, they did not lag for all the same reasons. In each case, though the reasons were in substantial part structural, they also, as a result, were cultural. 
          Both regions were much less urbanized, much more rural than the manufacturing belt. Both depended on agriculture, extractive industries, and later, low-wage manufacturing. Quebec, like the South, lost a war, and its dominant population also suffered as a result. French ethnicity and Roman Catholicism shaped education policy differently, however, than the race issue and Protestantism in the South. North Carolina and other southern states welcomed immigrant industries and people in the wake of desegregation. French Canada became progressively less hospitable over the same decades. Francophone separatism has been a much more influential force than southern separatism since World War II. 
          To understand what the numbers mean, one needs to do more than isolate and perform statistical analyses on a few factors, however key those factors may be. The numbers do not so much explain as show what needs explaining. Economic life is not only experienced, but also conducted culturally. The rituals of bargaining in a Moroccan souk are very different than the rituals of Wall Street. People can live in more than one culture or community, but they cannot live outside of culture and community. Even early desert anchorites in the Christian world and the hermits with whom Sidhartha went to live in the Indian forest, were equally parts of their respective communities by virtue of how and why they lived apart. 
          Like these men apart, economies can only be understood in their cultural contexts. In the end, then, despite the heuristic value of analyzing economic performance separately, shouldn't one consider cultural and economic development together? 

David Moltke-Hansen is President of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

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