Host Christian Pearson is joined by international traveler and cultural expert Bruce Money, who shares his experiences and research while abroad. Later, Bruce defines Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and considers their significance within the context of humanitarian research. Christian closes out the episode with some intriguing conclusions from Banerjee & Duflo’s book, Poor Economics.

For more information about Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, visit

Inside the Cambodia Project Episode 9 Podcast Transcript: Why Culture Counts

with Bruce Money

[00:00:00.410] – Christian
Hello, I’m Christian, and you’re listening to inside the Cambodia Project, an educational podcast where we discuss cutting edge research on sustainable business in an emerging market. Last episode, I talked with Shane Harrison, an adjunct professor here at Brigham Young University and former executive director of the Cambodian Job Foundation. Shane shared some wildly unique experiences from his time living in Cambodia, and he gave some great advice on how best to implement our research project there. We also had an interesting discussion about some of Cambodia’s tragic history and more importantly, its hopeful future. In this episode, our guest is calling in all the way from Hawaii, although in truth he’s not normally so far away. Dr. Bruce Money is the Fred Meyer professor of marketing and serves as executive director of BYU’s Global Business center. His research areas include international business to business, marketing services, and negotiation. He has published over 50 articles and refereed proceedings and is coauthor on international marketing, the McGraw Hill textbook Bruce lived in Japan for two years as a young man and has led 17 student groups on study abroad programs all over the globe, half of those in Southeast Asia.

[00:01:26.370] – Christian
In part because of his experience in Southeast Asia and because of what he’s learned about marketing and culture in international markets, he is working as a collaborator on our Cambodia project. Before his academic career, he gained eight years of industry experience, serving as vice president of what is now Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. And directing japanese debt and equity relationships for a major real estate developer. He has taught in more than 75 executive education programs for clients such as Adobe, Bayer, Bosch, and Nissan. In his spare time, Bruce and his wife enjoy cycling, skiing, and playing with grandchildren. Thank you so much for joining us today, Bruce. It’s so great to have you on the podcast, even if it’s not necessarily in person.

[00:02:14.170] – Bruce
My pleasure, Christian. Tough duty out here in Hawaii, but someone’s got to do it. Seriously, I’m grateful and excited for this opportunity to talk.

[00:02:26.780] – Christian
Me too. I always like to start the podcast with a quote just because I think it’s a little brain food for us. It helps get our wheels spinning. So I’ve got a quote for you from Paolo Cuelo, who is the bestselling author of the book the Alchemist. I don’t know if you’ve read it, but here’s the quote. It says, culture makes people understand each other better, and if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbors are, in the end, just like them, with the same problems and the same questions. So what do you think about this quote. When you hear this quote, what are your thoughts?

[00:03:12.110] – Bruce
Well, it is great food for thought, as you say. And some of it I would agree with, some I would disagree with. That’s what makes it a great quote. Right? There’s a lot of layers of meaning in it. The first part, culture helping us understand each other, overcoming barriers. Absolutely true. If culture is shared understanding amongst a group and between groups, and the better we understand another culture, the more barriers we can overcome. It’s a well known fact in political science and economics that countries that trade are less likely to go to war. The last couple of lines just on its surface, although there’s deeper meanings of it that would resonate with folks. But the same problem, same questions. In the United States, our problems are different than the problems in much of the developing world. Clean water and enough food to eat, those aren’t really our problems. Now, the problems of self actualization and meaning in life, those are the same problems and the same questions. Those are shared by humanity. So some different facets of that quote that are very interesting and a great way to kick off this discussion on culture.

[00:05:06.140] – Christian
Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. Maybe on a surface level, we don’t really have the same problems or the same questions as people across the globe, but maybe there are a few intrinsic human problems, human questions of the soul that we share with people. And I think maybe that’s the point he was trying to make. But I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on that.

[00:05:31.290] – Bruce

[00:05:34.010] – Christian
Bruce, I know you’ve had so many experiences abroad. Before we dive too deep into questions about your research, I want to hear some of the things you’ve learned as director of Bregue Young University’s global business center. Can you share maybe just a few things you learned about doing business or maybe research overseas?

[00:05:55.250] – Bruce
Well, things I’ve learned. I’ve learned how much fun it is, for one. I just love getting out there and learning about new cultures. Taking the academic inquiry abroad, if you will. My role as the global business center director is to internationalize the business school at BYU. If any of our listeners are familiar with the Kennedy center at BYU, it’s in charge of all the international activities for the university. The Global Business center is kind of a mini Kennedy center that’s responsible for getting students out on study abroad programs, faculty out on research, sponsoring case competitions in foreign languages. I’ve learned that the cat’s out of the bag on this global stuff. It’s no longer just a subtopic of a subtopic. Oh, well, international that’s out there somewhere now. It is core to what we do as a business school, to what our economy must do to grow and to thrive. And students have figured that out too. We’ve had an exponential increase in number of students seeking study abroad opportunities. With our grant graciously provided from the US government, Department of Education, and our benefactor, the Whitmore family and other donors, we’re able to defray some of those expenses.

[00:07:33.100] – Bruce
And it is expensive to get out and about, but we consider it money well spent and it helps our students and our faculty get out there and experience the world. If BYU’s motto is the world is our campus, then we’ve got to get out there on campus.

[00:07:58.350] – Christian
Yes. Got to get away from the phone for sure.

[00:08:00.720] – Bruce
That’s right. Get out of Pro bowl. We do in the global business center.

[00:08:04.730] – Christian
Yeah. Why are you so passionate about international research and international business?

[00:08:12.510] – Bruce
Well, I think I’ve seen the energy that it brings to a research agenda as an academic. I’ve seen the energy it brings to an economy. It’s no secret that you don’t have to quote me, quote the 200 years of economic theory that specialization in trade makes the world go round and brings a higher standard of living to people across the world. It’s slow and coming in some places, of course, and there are setbacks, wars and recessions and depressions economically. But it’s easy to get passionate about for me because I’ve seen the good in the world that it does academically in business, in the humanities, and humanitarian efforts like the one we’re engaged researching about. And it’s just a lot of fun. It’s not just the tourism part of it, but the meeting new people and seeing new places, especially as I see students discover themselves out there in what BYU, we would call the Lord’s country and kingdom taken right out of our scripture in the doctrine covenant, section 88. I never get tired of that and seeing them expand their world, the Kennedy Center’s mantra. So I could go on about that. But I am passionate and it’s been that way for my 30 year career.

[00:09:55.230] – Christian
I can tell you’re passionate, Bruce. I think they got the right guy for the job. As far as the executive director of the Whitmore center goes, I’m feeling a little motivated to go traveling now. Just after listening to you. That’s awesome. You have that fire and that drive behind the international research and international business. I want to ask you, I guess a follow up question about just some of your experience abroad as we’re considering in our research interventions. In Cambodia, we’re trying to help reshape domestic abuse norms. And we’ve considered finding celebrity or social media influencers out there to help promote our message. And from looking at your credentials, it looks like you’ve done some research on celebrity endorsements in Japan. So maybe could you share some of your findings just as far as that?

[00:10:50.690] – Bruce
Sure. Sure. It was really interesting, a fun project to work on, because celebrity endorsers show up in advertising to different degrees and different cultures. Very little in the US compared to in Japan. Well, it start with the US, particularly for some celebrities who wouldn’t be caught dead endorsing a product in an advertisement because it’s a sign in us celebrity culture, particularly movie stars and recording stars, folks like that, that you need the money, your career is kind of washing up. And therefore, okay, I’ll do this endorsement. I don’t really believe the product or know the product or care about the product, but I’ll plug it and collect a nice little paycheck for that. In Japan, the use of celebrity endorsers is everywhere. And those same people who wouldn’t be caught dead endorsing a product in the US are all over japanese mass media advertising folks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, folks like Meryl Streep, folks like George Clooney. Schwarzenegger is endorsing ham. Meryl Streep beauty products. These are celebrities who don’t do endorsements in the US or other places, but the Japanese love it. And we try to get at that phenomenon in our research. Particularly what happens when a celebrity endorser gets in trouble.

[00:12:45.570] – Bruce
That was path breaking because no one’s ever looked at that cross culturally. That is the news reports of the late Michael Jackson being accused of child molestation. Charlie Sheen, pretty much a bad boy out there. In the world of celebrity endorsers getting in trouble. Others, Madonna, folks who have had some negative publicity. We’ve had some recent examples of that in the sports world as well, doping and so forth. What happens? Well, they get dropped pretty quickly in the US. What happens in Japan? And how do the japanese consumers versus american consumers view an endorsement that gets in trouble? And the findings were a bit surprising in that the samples in the US, it seemed like the more trouble the celebrity got into, the more customers liked their product that they were endorsing. Yeah, we called it a bad boy effect. And it’s like, well, we’ve maybe not get trouble to that extent, but we’ve all made mistakes and we all have character flaws. If you developed a drug problem, that’s kind of your own business or your own problem unless you do something untoward while you’re on drugs. But that’s different than scamming a group of people out of their money in an investment scheme.

[00:14:29.630] – Bruce
And so in our research, we found that a highly collectivist society sees the damage done to the brand much more severely if it harms the group rather than if it just harms the individual, which we kind of expected but confirmed in our research. So those are the findings in a nutshell. And it made the news, so to speak, in research terms. Got published in a pretty good marketing journal.

[00:14:59.690] – Christian
That’s super interesting, Bruce, thanks for sharing just that two minute recap. I wonder, how do you know some of those findings? If we were to run something similar in Cambodia, do you think we might see something similar? Do you think they’re a largely collectivist society there as well? And if we were trying to promote social change through celebrities or social media influencers, what might that look like in Cambodia?

[00:15:29.620] – Bruce
Well, I think you do see similarities in the asian cultures when it comes to things like endorsers, although we tend to look at Asia as a monolith of culture, and it’s not exactly that way. Japan, being a more highly industrialized society than Southeast Asia, is going to be more individualistic. And the data, the cultural data, bear this out. Then a place like Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, which are highly collectivist, it’d be a fascinating study around. Just on the celebrity endorser piece, my guess is that you probably find even more of an effect of the collectivist versus the individualist in that the societies in Southeast Asia are so I think they’re more tightly knit than northern Asia. And I’m guessing that endorsers and I don’t have data on cambodian advertising in specific and how they use celebrity endorsers. But my theory, my hypothesis would be that you’d see a similar effect, that if some bad behavior is harming the collectivist and society is the collectivist doing harm to people out there, not just yourself, through a personal indiscretion, then that could be more research and experience would bear that out, or not could be highly effective.

[00:17:21.630] – Christian
That’s super interesting. Thanks for sharing that. I feel like those insights might be really useful as we try to work potentially through those influencers abroad. We’re kind of just going into the deep end, and we don’t really know exactly what we’re going to see. But let’s talk more about what you’ve seen in Asia. First, from our all hands on research meeting about a month ago, I realized that you are an expert at Hofsted’s cultural dimensions, and I’d love to ask you some questions related to that. But first, could you explain just to me and also to our listeners, in layman’s terms, what are Hofsted’s dimensions? And also, why are they important to understanding cultural differences around the world?

[00:18:10.910] – Bruce
Sure. Just a brief recap of who Hofsted is and what his research entails and how these dimensions have come about. Hofsted is a dutch researcher in organizational behavior, Geert Hofstedta, and he did a study back in the early 80s when his research was published book called Culture’s consequences about dimensions of national culture. And he surveyed IBM employees all over the world, 117,000 of them, actually, which is an impressive data set. And from that distilled five dimensions of national culture. And those five dimensions are power distance, which is basically a measure of rank in high power distance diet. It’s okay to have people of higher status and people of lower status in low powers in society. It’s more egalitarian. It’s better if people are more on an equal footing when it comes to power. Second would be individualism versus collectivism, which is pretty much what it sounds like. I can get into more specifics of. And these were out of 60 countries, by the way. The IBM data were collected around the world. But moving on to the other dimensions, the next one is distinct. Role separations between the genders. Men do one thing in our society, women do another.

[00:19:58.030] – Bruce
The most highly masculine society with role separation without the aggression part is Japan. World War II historians would say, well, they were highly aggressive. Well, that was the warlords versus the emperor. And the general japanese populace are, by and large, not a highly aggressive people. War does strange things to culture, but men pretty much do one thing in that society. Women do another. Men go off and toil away for the good of Japan, Inc. Women, by and large, stay home and tend the home front. But that’s just an example. The fourth dimension is what is known as uncertain avoidance, which is a measure of risk. Highly uncertainty avoidant cultures avoid uncertainty. They avoid risk, they don’t like risk, whereas low uncertain avoidance cultures don’t mind it. The stock market might be a measure of uncertainty avoidance. Cultures that are highly uncertainty avoidant don’t like the stock market, as well as cultures that do that are low on uncertainty avoidance. Bring it on.

[00:21:25.070] – Christian
Yeah. What’s like a good example, just off the top of your head, of a low uncertainty avoidance country or society?

[00:21:35.310] – Bruce
Well, the cultures of northern Europe for example, pretty stayed in their behavior. They’ve had a lot of economic history and political history. They don’t like war on their own soil, so they’re going to avoid things that bring on risky things politically or economically. War brings depression. So that’s an example of a few collection of cultures that don’t really like risk and have become more uncertain avoidant over the centuries.

[00:22:17.730] – Christian
Interesting. And then there is one more.

[00:22:20.430] – Bruce

[00:22:20.670] – Christian
What’s the fifth?

[00:22:21.770] – Bruce
The fifth would be long term orientation that at first wasn’t highly emergent in the data, but Hofsted found this fifth dimension that had to do with planning, tradition, a long term view of life in the world versus the short term view. And as you might imagine, asian cultures are more long term oriented than western cultures. I mean, in the US, speaking of the stock market, the analysts, it’s all about quarterly earnings, right? 90 days, that’s kind of their horizon in a lot of cases. Mitsubishi has a 300 year budget. What? Who’s going to be around in 300 years? Nobody. But that’s the way they look at their civilization in the world. And Japan has been extant as a culture for several thousand years. So what’s 300? Haven’t even been around as a civilization in the United States for that long. So that’s long term versus short term orientation. And then I should add that students of culture will know this, that a 6th dimension has been added in the last couple of decades called indulgence. Indulgence versus restraint. Cultures that have an eat, drink and be merry culture or attitude are indulgent in their ways, whereas those that are less so, they’re the antithesis of party animals, so to speak, exercise restraint.

[00:24:14.350] – Bruce
And again, you can imagine that the long tormentation dimension in the asian cultures is highly correlated with the indulgence versus restraint cultures. Asian cultures, particularly northern Asia, are more restrained because they’ve been around for so long. They see what indulgence can do to a country and a culture. The US is higher on indulgence, maybe because we haven’t been around so long as a culture and we tend to look at things now more in the moment and we’re shorter on our orientation. So there’s a couple of examples of how those two dimensions work together. But that’s kind of a summation of Hofstudd’s dimensions, why they’re important. First of all, the naysayers would say IBM culture is not national culture. And you measure corporate culture, not culture of the person on the street in these countries. And that’s a valid criticism. It’s been fairly difficult to replicate these dimensions in cross cultural research. A colleague of mine tried it and failed on all but the one dimension of long term orientation. We measured that dimension better than Hofstead’s items, which was news and got published in a pretty good journal. But that being said, the strengths of his research and the importance of his research cannot be overlooked because of the massive database.

[00:25:53.250] – Christian
How many of us have a size of 117,000?

[00:25:59.330] – Bruce
Who’s got that? Nobody. We call that face validity. There’s just so much what emphasis and impetus and momentum and just the sheer force of data in his work that it’s hard to argue with his book that I mentioned culture’s consequences in 1980s. He’s cited more as an author than Karl Marx in the Social Science Citation Index. As we’re speaking, another 17 doctoral students are citing culture’s consequences when it comes to cross culture research. And there’s been other, maybe better dimensions, measures. It’s all about measurement, right, of culture out there by Schwartz and others, Trendis and Gelfen, to throw out a few names. But Hofsted’s place in the cultural universe, measurement and dimensions, pretty well stands. And so we continue to cite him as kind of the nitus of measurement of national culture, even though the research is what coming up on 45 years old, does culture change? Yeah, a little, anthropologists would say, but not a lot. That is the underlying faith. Belief in your own culture and faith and your own belief system doesn’t change a whole lot. The manifestations, the artifacts of culture do change. That is the music, the fast food, the clothing, for sure.

[00:27:57.740] – Bruce
Those things come and go, and we’ll talk more about the definition of culture. But people criticize what was published in 1980 on how old is the chinese culture? A few millennia. As culture researchers, we’re not too concerned about that, although we’re always looking for new knowledge and new ways to measure things.

[00:28:19.220] – Christian
Yeah. So of those dimensions, of Hofsted’s dimensions, which ones do you think will affect research and humanitarian work in Southeast Asia? As far as our project goes, which ones should we bear in mind?

[00:28:36.150] – Bruce
Yeah, if you look across the dimensions, I think definitely individualism versus collectivism would be a dimension to look at and consider in Cambodia, like the rest of Asia, going to be. More so. If you’re looking for social change in a society, it’s more likely to happen in collectivist society than an individualist society, just by force of numbers and just how it works. Masculinity versus femininity, kind of role separation, men doing one thing, women doing another, the roles of men and women being different, that may be leading to some of the problems that we’re examining in this culture. So that could be a dimension to look at. Power, distance. Yeah, definitely the hierarchy, the okayness of high versus low status in society. That, again, could be leading to some of the problems that we’re looking at. There may be some of the others as well, but I think those are the main three.

[00:30:02.050] – Christian
Yeah, we’ll definitely have to keep those in mind as we attempt to implement this research. I think I really like that you brought up how collectivism might actually work for us in our favor as we’re trying to promote some societal change. Lucky for us, Cambodia is a mostly collectivistic society, and so they’re going to hopefully embrace to some degree this community social impact angle that we have with our research. I think that is something that will be working for us. So that’s encouraging at the very least. Last week, just to change the topic slightly, I went to lunch with several other BYU students who had lived in Cambodia, and they told me about an interesting phenomenon. So I’m going to pick your business, your international business brain at the moment, in open air markets just on the side of the street, they saw regularly like three or four businesses, and they’re set up right next to each other in a row, all selling the exact same thing with absolutely no differentiation at all, no marketing, no different labels. I mean, the same exact products. And I was just wondering, what do you think about that?

[00:31:25.260] – Christian
Is that normal in Southeast Asia? I have a theory that maybe the collectivist nature in Southeast Asia might have something to do with why businesses might want to do know, maybe out of respect for their neighbors or something. But what are your thoughts on that practice?

[00:31:44.050] – Bruce
Well, it’s a lot of fun to watch, and it’s common in Asia. I’ve seen the same thing. And if you’re looking for a certain color or size of a product that one vendor doesn’t have, they scurry off and say, oh, just a minute. They’ll go to their neighboring vendor and get that product to fit your specifications, and off you go. The transaction complete. I imagine in the background after money’s exchange, they go arrange some kind of a split with their neighboring vendor. That doesn’t happen in the US, right?

[00:32:22.990] – Christian

[00:32:24.510] – Bruce
A stock out at Walmart, they don’t go over to target and say, hey, can we use some of your jeans to sell to this customer? I realize the scale is different, but the business culture just doesn’t work that way. What’s going on there? Yeah. Highly collectivist. Their culture encourages cooperation. Encourages, well, this is kind of a social bad piracy, if I can use that term. Kind of a stark way to say it. But the whole phenomenon of copying a product, that’s a compliment to a manufacturer in Asia culture, and I’m, again treating as a monolith, there’s differences. Japan has stronger intellectual property rights than China and some of Southeast Asia and so forth. But it wasn’t that long ago where trying to own your own product, your own IP, was punishable. The cultural revolution in China, they’re going, what do you mean? That’s how we’re going to get ahead in the world economy is by cooperating, by copying. We make a good copy, and they kind of scratch their heads at our objection to that. Well, they’ve come to the World Trade Organization party and figured out that you need some IP protection. But the basics of collectivism versus individualism, I mean, they’ve copied bmws in Shanghai.

[00:34:04.760] – Bruce
How do you copy a car? The scale, that’s just astounding to me. But some cultural nuance there to the aspect of cooperation and collaboration, that’s what I think is going on.

[00:34:24.610] – Christian
In Southeast Asia. Sorry to interrupt. You would say that imitation definitely is the highest form of flattery, at least in Southeast Asia. As far as business goes.

[00:34:35.290] – Bruce
Well, I can’t speak for the entire business community in that part of the world, but I can’t see what I’ve noticed. And, yeah, it’s kind of the collaboration. Well, let’s see if we can improve on each other’s work. That’s a phenomenon. And it goes to this kind of sub dimensions of collectivism and individualism. Just to kind of drill down on that a bit. Some researchers took individualism and collectivism and split them into horizontal individualism and vertical individualism and collectivism. So just an example. The horizontal individualism that is going up and down a hierarchy that is talking about individual rights, basically, and a country that values self reliance. But individuality would be high in horizontal individualism. The scandinavian countries, for example. Okay, leave me alone. I’m kind of like to keep to myself, but I really enjoy the government kind of taking care of me. I don’t mind paying 80% of my taxes for free education, free health care, and so forth. Vertical individualism would be more upward mobility, power seeking status, the pre revolution french culture. Why there was so much hierarchy and wealth in the upper classes and very little in the lower classes, led to death to tyrants and the revolution against the monarchy.

[00:36:46.690] – Bruce
A little too much verticalism I think Southeast Asia kind of fits into a horizontal collectivism. If you move to the other side, horizontal collectivism would be interdependence, helping others, nurturing, being equal with more social responsibility. And I think that, again, works to the advantage, to the phenomenon we’re trying to study and perhaps influence in our research about social responsibility.

[00:37:25.250] – Christian
Yeah, it makes me wonder if maybe there’s, I am going into this research thinking, wow, if we could just teach these businesses to differentiate, maybe they have so much they could learn from us and from our western ideas of what business should look like. I’m starting to think maybe we stand to learn a lot from them and the way they do business, just the way that they prioritize the community before the individual. And I think I’m excited to go there and to really experience and see if I can learn something from them, maybe even more than I can really teach them.

[00:38:08.990] – Bruce
Well, that’s so true. And anthropologists would say there’s several levels of analysis of culture, right? What is culture? First of all, there’s 100 definitions out there. Plus, culture is a system of beliefs, values, and traditions that they have to be three things to be a culture learned, shared, and transmitted by a group of people, not as individuals, but as groups. And those things change slightly over time. But in the analysis of the levels of culture, the first level is data. Here’s what’s going on in that culture. Then at the end of that what continuum, there’s harsh laws against cultural norms that are broken. I mean, any culture, murder is bad. The other cultural universal taboo is incest. No matter what culture you’re talking about, sexual relations amongst family members, the family of origin is not acceptable. And in the middle, you kind of have this area of judgment like, oh, you should change your culture to be more like ours. Anthropologists and I think smart business people stay away from that. Our task as business anthropologists is to go and learn, just as you were saying, learn from their culture before you can have any chance of influencing attitudes or behavior for change and change for the better.

[00:39:52.990] – Christian
Yeah, that’s just super interesting. I think even just during this podcast, I think I’m learning a little bit more about how I should go about approaching our research just abroad and going about doing good abroad in general, just being sensitive and aware of the implicit cultural differences and learning to appreciate them because they probably exist for a reason. And I guess we’re kind of out of time. But I want to ask you one more question before we go. So I recently finished Banerjee and Duffalo’s book. It’s called poor economics, and one of their most interesting takeaways based on their findings. They did a lot of international research, mostly economic research, but they talk a lot about entrepreneurial endeavors in developing markets, not unlike Cambodia. And one of their biggest findings was, contrary to popular belief, these countries that we think of as poor or developing are, in fact, not doomed to continue to be poor. They’re not doomed to failure based on current poverty or a tragic history. They really think that poverty is a fixture of the 21st century, but that it doesn’t have to be. And based on what you’ve seen just abroad and throughout your research, do you agree or disagree with that take and why?

[00:41:35.070] – Bruce
Well, I would have to agree that they’re not doomed to failure. And I’ll give you an example in just a second. I do want to leave our listeners with a tool that they can use when it comes to culture, and that’s in the Hofstead website that lets you take any of those 60 countries and compare them on the six dimensions you pop in. United States versus Japan. Now, Cambodia isn’t in the data set of 60 countries because in 1980 wasn’t a place people were doing a lot of research. But you can look at Thailand or Vietnam and see the differences. And interestingly enough, Japan, and we found this in our research, is climbing on individualism, as opposed to Vietnam, for example, in Southeast Asia, that is still pretty collectivist. So you look it up on Hofstead’s websites,, and students have a lot of fun looking and comparing and contrasting different countries. And part of that plays into the question, right? Are countries what are seen as culturally or actually poor? Tragic history. I think the most clear example of that is Japan. Talk about tragic history, poverty. It wasn’t that long ago. If you take forty s, fifty s, that’s not ancient economic history or cultural history or political history or history as a country.

[00:43:24.600] – Bruce
That’s not that long ago, for sure.

[00:43:26.710] – Christian
Last century.

[00:43:28.770] – Bruce
Yeah. And last 20, 30, 50 years, Japan was 60, 70 in 1945. At the end of the war, Japan was a smoking pile of rocks. There was no food. We can get into the horrors of war. It’s never a pleasant subject. And their museums of war, our memorials at Pearl Harbor. I mean, there’s the Hiroshima horror and civilians, all that’s horrific, no question about it. What happened in Japan is the collectivists kicked in big time and they said, all right, here’s where we’re feeding. They were feeding their infants milk based on the water that would drain off of rice, the milky substance. It wasn’t milk, it was water that came out. It looked a little like milk. That’s how bad things were. There was no milk in Japan. There was no dairy and people were starving and there was no industry. It was just all gone from the war machine destruction. And what happened in the. Well, Japan as a people and industrial policy is different than a centrally planned economy, right? The fall of the Soviet Union would show that central planned economies don’t really work. That’s different than industrial policy. The japanese economy, the japanese government said, we’re going to put this together and we’re going to focus on electronics.

[00:45:26.160] – Bruce
We’re going to focus on automobiles, for example. And it worked. The Mitsubishi’s, the Sumitomos, the Mitsuis, the old trading houses of ancient Japan, rose to the fore and pulled Japan up by its bootstraps. The level of standard of living rose dramatically during that time. And the quality, just the sheer hard work that I witnessed over there living in. Yes, some of that, if you want to talk about sweatshops, that’s to the extreme. But in general, those are hardworking people. And the economic rise of Japan, the japanese miracle, as it’s called, was no fluke and shows that poor countries are not doomed to failure. Now where’s the next Japan? I don’t know. Maybe it’s Cambodia, maybe it’s Philippines. I’m not sure. I can’t really fortune tell here, but I think that quote is correct, that these countries like Cambodia in the current case, are not doomed to failure at all.

[00:46:43.700] – Christian
Well, I really hope you’re right, Bruce, and I think that’s a great example with Japan and the way that they recovered from just such an economic disaster, I guess we could call it. Thanks so much for sharing your take on that. And I think we all stand to learn something from the examples of Japan, the example of just collectivist societies in general, as far as how we can all contribute something. We can all work together for the greater good of society as a whole. And that brings me to the way we always end our podcast, which is a reminder for everyone listening that you matter and you can make a difference. And most importantly, remember to lift where you dance.