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Why Culture Matters Most$
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David C. Rose

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199330720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199330720.001.0001

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The Rise of Flourishing Societies

The Rise of Flourishing Societies

(p.77) 5 The Rise of Flourishing Societies
Why Culture Matters Most

David C. Rose

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how societies can climb a development ladder whereby each step leads to a larger set of transactions through which to increase the value of output per capita. Each step higher is harder because each step adds transactions that require higher levels of social trust. The problem is that many of the benefits of climbing the ladder are realized at the level of society as a whole, so individual adults and individual parents have much to gain by conserving on their own resources while allowing everyone else in society to invest into the inculcation of the required moral beliefs to produce a high-trust society. There is a public good problem associated with investing enough to best promote the common good. This problem is particularly daunting for the kind of moral beliefs required to produce trustworthy individuals and it worsens with societal success.

Keywords:   large-group trust, high-trust society, human capital, social capital, public goods, generalized trust, bilateral trust, trust in the system, development ladder, relational contracts

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