Learn more about the economic impacts of culture at this online learning platform to expand your knowledge of various GP issues and refine your writing techniques for comprehension and essay questions to ace your A Level General Paper examination. Although culture may appear to have an indirect and less relevant influence on the economy, it is important to examine how cultures shape the mindsets and behaviours of individuals, which will affect pace of economic progress.
This article is the 4th segment of a 5-part series covering Culture. To ensure seamless reading, you may wish to start from the first segment of ‘How is Culture important?’
In the 21st Century, many countries have undergone rapid economic transformation to achieve modernisation, which is important in raising the living standards of individuals. The pursuit of economic goals, like attainment of economic prosperity, has benefited many households, enabling many to enjoy the fruits of labour. However, the fast-paced modernisation process has led to growing concerns over the need for cultural preservation. On the other hand, those who support modernisation reject such a view and argue that the retainment of traditions is redundant as it is a mere setback for the perpetual push for advancement in the human civilisation. In view of these polarising opinions, this essay is more inclined to the view that we should hold on to traditions while coping with the rapid pace of change and modernisation.
Economic progress necessitates the abandonment of archaic traditions
For those who advocate the need to let go of traditions for economic progress, their rationale stems from the belief that desires to hold on to traditions are impediments to economic modernisation as such outdated cultural influences conflict with economic values that promote a cyclical process of change and improvement. Preservation of traditions can stifle economic advancement as archaic cultural practices influence individuals to act in the interests of their ethnic communities, such that economic progress is compromised on. As such, modernists believe that economic progress is only possible with the abandonment of obsolete traditions. By doing so, individuals can align their mindsets and behaviours towards a national aim that enables the country to grow and prosper. For example, the Meiji Government of Japan recognized feudalism was a stumbling block that hindered modernisation. As such, they encouraged the abandonment of traditional values between 1868 and 1945. As a result, the Japanese were subjected to Western influences, while advancing its economic goals. Hence, it is evident that we should not hold on to traditions in order to keep up with the rapid pace of progress.
Cultural preservation is important for the creation of a national identity
However, such a view can be fatal to the maturity of modern societies as the obsessive desire for economic modernisation can lead to cultural erosion and the loss of national identities. Culture is a unifying force that binds people together in closely-knitted communities as it creates a common sense of belonging. Without cultural influences, the never-ending chase for economic success can hollow out the meaningful lives and experiences of people. As described by Mahatma Gandhi, a nation’s culture resides in the soul of its people. For example, the National Heritage Board (NHB) of Singapore introduced the ‘Our SG Heritage Plan’, which is a masterplan for Singapore to preserve its cultural heritage. With the combined efforts of the NHB and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), 72 national monuments were gazetted for conservation. As a result, these efforts have helped to strengthen the Singapore identity, in the midst of the continual push for economic modernisation. Therefore, it is clear that governments should hold on to traditions, while balancing the aim of economic development, in order to create and retain national identities
Retainment of traditions ensure social stability
Furthermore, holding onto traditions will be beneficial for societies as it creates social stability. Although economic progress can contribute to improvements in well-being of its citizens, culture is the driving force for individuals to play their part in the economic development of countries. It is a misleading view to believe that choosing between economic progress and cultural preservation is a zero-sum game. Instead, governments can retain traditions while attaining economic growth. Traditions promote desirable values that influence individuals to behave appropriately, thus fostering harmony and cohesion. For example, the Chinese culture promote the importance of loyalty and trust, which are essential aspects to create a cohesive society. Hence, culture can became the impetus for social stability and thus support the economic development of countries.
In conclusion, this essay reasserts the view that we should hold onto traditions, even though economic progress is important for the advancement of modern societies. Preservation of culture is of paramount importance in enriching the lives of people from various ethnic communities as it fosters national identity and creates social stability.
In addition to the economic perspectives that provide insights on the contributions of culture, you can browse through the following related resources to understand the individual, social and political implications of cultural influences. Cultural impacts can be viewed in both positive and negative ways, depending on how you perceive them.
Culture is important in shaping the norms and values of individuals, which in turn influences their behaviour that will impact the development of modern societies. Also, culture shapes the identities of individuals.
Read more at GP Tuition Singapore
Culture fosters a common identity for individuals belonging to the same ethnic community. As such, it is crucial to examine how cultural influences affect the way we interact with one another. Explore the social impacts of culture.
Read more at GP Tuition Bishan
Culture is an essential contributing factor that sustains the political stability of countries, given that its influences transcends boundaries, like social status, political authority and economic well-being, as such policymakers also take into consideration cultural practices and norms that are strongly upheld by the people before implementing any large-scale measures. Learn more to understand the political impacts of culture.
Read more at GP Tuition Bukit Timah
In this section, you can share your views in relation to the topic of Culture and view the comments provided by fellow students. We will feature a topic for discussion that will promote reflective thinking as this exercise is a useful opportunity for perspective thinking and viewpoint formation.
Topic for Discussion: ‘Cultural heritage should be forgone to pursue economic progress.’ With reference to your own society, do you agree with this view?