marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote in bookish,

Race And Culture

Race And Culture by Thomas Sowell

Germans were pioneers in starting up piano making in colonial America, France, England, czarist Russia, and Australia.

There are patterns in history that help explain this, and not because there is anything peculiar about the Germans.  Repeated patterns that happen over and over again, where various cultures are exported with the emigrants, and replicate themselves for generations.  Though you have to be careful about how you tease them out.  There were distinct differences between northern and southern Italians when they immigrated to the United States, and lumping them together can conceal that.

Not that it means they stay the same as home country.  A minority like the Volga Germans can maintain its customs for generations, but the home country can change substantially.  (And then there were eras where a majority of German immigrating to Canada were Volga Germans.  There's a nice way to muck up your numbers:  count them as Russians, and things change.)

On the other hand, some culture's cultural traits make it easy for them to adopt things from other cultures -- and this does not depend on closeness, as both Japan and the United States copied England's industrialization.

Patterns in slavery, practiced all over the world.  The differences between domestic and plantation slavery, which can appear even when both the masters under differing conditions had come from the same culture and obtained their slaves from the same location.  The enormous limits of power shown by the fact that slaves have often been rewarded for their work.

The effect and importance of geography for culture.  Mountains form snow pack, which makes for navigable rivers, assuming you don't have rapids and waterfalls.  That Africa is larger than Europe but has less coast line is important; Europe has many, many, many more ports.  The Yuangtze River lets enormous ships sail far up it, with much impact.  At the end of the 17th century, more than three quarters of the people in the world lived in coastal areas.  By the twentieth, this had gone down to merely two-thirds. . . .

And many more topics about economics, race, and culture.
Tags: author: s, genre: non-fiction, review

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