Saturday, August 06, 2005

Silly Western notions

Via ALDaily I find this old Guardian article about Japan. It begins by chiding those who believed that Japan's recession was caused by its business culture and recommended that Japan shift to more of an individualistic, Anglo-Saxon model. More Western triumphalism! Another failure to recognize the merit of another culture! The money quote: "The age-old western habit of believing that its arrangements - of the neo-liberal variety, in this instance - are always best proved as strong as ever: it is in our genes."

Well, I guess it is in our genes, since the author of the article proves just as willing as the "witch doctors" he decries to lecture Japan when it comes to something he believes in. Toward the end of the article, he writes: "The differences are legion, and not always for the better. Japan, for example, is still blighted by a rigid and traditional sexual division of labour."

I do not disagree with him on the substantive point, of course -- I do think it's better for women to have equal standing in the workplace. This is only meant to show, one more time, that people are rarely interested in deconstructing as Western and hegemonic the ideas that they themselves hold dear.

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