Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

Why We Need a Recession to Move to a Social Society

Friday, June 27th, 2008

In the Netherlands there is a discussion going on about a possible shortage of working power. In the near future there will be an abundance of old people (the baby-boomers) and a shortage of young people. The strange thing is that there are really enough people available to do what is needed but they are not qualified to do the job.

Everybody has to work. Parents with young children need external help to take care of their children. To make this possible the government is giving parents a tax benefit. To get this benefit the parents have to use an accredited childcare institution. The tax benefit created a huge demand for accredited child care. The huge demand created a shortage in certified experts. The booming childcare business has created a budget problem.

When I was young life was simple. Mothers took care of the children. Fathers went to work. Mothers were not paid to take care of the children.

When you move childcare from the “for free” to the “paid” zone of society you have to determine what an expert needs to know and what she or he has to do. You are formalizing childcare. Most of the people that are out of work are unable to acquire a certificate to work in the child-care business. The norms are too high.

You also need buildings, transport, managers, laws, law-enforcers, advisors, quality management systems, controllers, bookkeepers and many others things to create an institution. We are generating a higher level of activity in society than before.

When childcare was not formalized everybody was qualified to raise children. When the norms are formulated it becomes very clear that the people who were doing the task (the parents) can be divided into two groups the not-educated people and the educated people.

This starts a discussion about childcare in general. The end of the discussion is a new institution that is taking care of parents that are unable to raise children and the parents themselves. Again we are generating a higher level of activity in society than before.

What is really happening is a formalization of society. Society is moving from a stage where people were helping each other to a stage where you have to be paid to get help. Every interpersonal activity is changed into a transaction. When interpersonal activities are changed into a transaction people lose the feeling of responsibilty for the whole.

Transactional relationships are aimed at the short term. When you pay a person directly you don’t have to pay back in the future. Transactions destroy long-term reciprocity.

When you are rich you are able to pay for every thing. When you are poor you are unable to do this unless you are helped by others or by government. Government has to create laws and the laws contain conditions. When Government is paying you, you have to do something in return.

When you are out of work you have to do the work government is telling you to do. To work you always have to leave your house and go to another place. When you have to work you are unable to take care of your children.

The real problem is that we are too active in the formalized area of society. We are doing things that could be done in a more natural way. Taking care of others is a natural tendency of the human being. To do this we simply need more time.

To generate work we have created an immense not productive workforce in society, called the social services sector. A social service is really not social at all. It is a formalization of social activities. Social activities are managed by the emotions.

Formalized Emotions are very different from the Emotional Emotions. A formalized relationship is managed by a contract, procedures and norms. A social relationship is for free and is based on friendship and reciprocity.

When I was young life was simple. Children took care of their parents when they were old. The children were not paid to take care of their parents. Now their children are unable to help their parents and their parents are unable to help their children. Both are too busy or unable to help. Some of them are even not allowed to help because they have to stay busy in the formalized part of society.

The people who are unable to get a qualification are constantly trained by government. Many of them are unable to get a “usefull certificate“. Because they have to “work” they are not allowed to take care of their children. The care for their children is taken over by professionals paid by government.

The experts are getting a salary that is much higher than the unemployed ever could get. Perhaps the government could pay parents to take care of their own children and pay children to help their own parents.

I hope you see we are creating a spiralling loop and the end of the line is an imaginary disaster. It is an imaginary disaster because the problem is easily solved by reducing the amount of activities in society until people are able to help other people without being paid.

I hope you now understand why we need a recession. We need a recession to move to a more social society.

LINKS

About Vocation

About Calvinism

About Guanxi

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Guanxi is a Chinese term, generally translated as “networks” or “connections”. Although guanxi is often characterized as uniquely Chinese, similar relationships occur in other nations, especially in East Asia.

In China guanxi has become especially significant in the last fifty years because it provides individuals with a patterned, structured set of relationships that to some extent replace the social networks of family, village, and clan that are more difficult to maintain in the face of population relocations, urbanization, and Westernization.

Guanxi is a mechanism for dealing with social uncertainty in a complex social environment.

Guanxi has been a significant element in Chinese business relationships for several hundred years. Wide webs of guanxi tie Chinese businessmen and Chinese firms into a cohesive and functioning economy. The success and even survival of many businesses rests on the establishment and maintenance of guanxi.

For Western businesspeople, the idea of guanxi is a useful reminder that trust, understanding, and personal knowledge can be vital components of economic relationships.

The development of guanxi is not something that takes place instantly, and this can be one of the frustrating aspects of doing business in China for non-Asians who are accustomed to striking a deal and moving on.

Most guanxi relationships are based on individuals’ having something in common, a phenomenon called tong in Chinese. The commonalities may be the fact of having attended or graduated from the same school, having the same place of employment, working in the same industry, or coming from the same village or region. Guanxi relationships have a strong emotional element, something easily overlooked by outsiders.

The essence of guanxi is that each relationship carries with it a set of expectations and obligations for each participant. A guanxi relationship may lead a person to feel obligated to help someone. Those who meet these obligations gain face and status and expand their guanxi network. Refusing to help is a sign of inhumanity and can bring disgrace. Guanxi involves the notion of honor and respect, two core values in Chinese society.

There are a variety of customs and practices in the West that reflect concepts similar to those used to explain guanxi, concepts and rules that define the relationship between individuals and groups. For example, traditionally European etiquette required a person to be introduced by a mutual acquaintance, never simply to strike up a conversation with a stranger, even at a private event.

Nonetheless, in the West ties tend to be less strong, less structured, and less based on expectations. Old or distant relationships are also less important in the West than they are in China.

The main reason is that Western People are acting on the short term. They want to strike a deal and move on.They still have not learnt from the results that came out of a tournament that was organised to solve the so called iterated Prisoners Dilemma.

The Prisoners Dillema is a game in which two players may each “cooperate” with or “defect” (i.e. betray) the other player. If two players play the Prisoner’s dilemma more than once in succession (that is, having memory of at least one previous game), it is called iterated Prisoner’s dilemma. Robert Axelrod created popular interest in his book The Evolution of Cooperation (1984).

The best strategy was Tit for Tat, developed by Anatol Rapoport. It was the simplest of any program entered. When you use Tit for Tat the only thing you have to do is offer cooperation. If the other is not cooperating retaliate, forgive and start to cooperate all over again.

I think you understand what I want to show. If we involve the Chinese notions of honor and respect, offer cooperation, forgive and (this is very important) leave people that don’t do this out of our networks we will create a cohesive and functioning economy.

It is simple! Just as simple as the Strategy of Tit-for-Tat and just as simple like many other things in life.

LINKS

About the Extended Family

About Social Cohesion