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central liberal truth

central liberal truth - Culture's Effect on Society In his...

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Culture’s Effect on Society In his book The Central Liberal Truth , Lawrence E. Harrison claims that culture is a major determinant on how successful and progressive a country is in the modern world. Throughout the book, Harrison defines different aspects of culture and how those aspects affect society. He determines that many aspects of a country’s culture can either help and foster economic growth or hinder economic growth and retard a society’s progression. In defining different characteristics of culture, he investigates how each characteristic can help or deter an entire society. In attempting to prove that culture matters, Harrison uses the island of Hispaniola to compare and contrast the cultures of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and their progression into modern society. Countries with similar cultures are notably similar in their success. Harrison explains the similarities and also states possible solutions for a country’s culture to change in able to encourage economic growth instead of preventing it. In the introduction of The Central Liberal Truth , Harrison defines culture by stating, “culture is the body of values, beliefs, and attitudes that members of a society share; values, beliefs, and attitudes shaped chiefly by environment, religion, and the vagaries of history that are passed on from generation to generation chiefly through child rearing practices, religious practice, the education system, the media, and peer relationships.” (H, 6). Harrison goes on by expressing how progress of societies is directly linked to the culture of that society and that the ideology of a culture, especially through religion, can either enable or prohibit a country’s success. Progress, as present in 1
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the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the right to life, liberty, security, an adequate standard of living, adequate medical care, freedom of thought, education, and equality before the law. Harrison mentions that a successful country is not only economically strong, but that it also inhibits the following norms of basic humanity: Life is better than death.
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