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21 December 2008

Society, mindset & resilience - Part 1

Over the past week I've travelled to Boulder CO and San Francisco meeting people for business and also taking the opportunity to meet some Twitter people IRL. It has been interesting to discuss some of the cultural differences between my home (Australia) and the US.

Two moments of clarity occurred in discussions over lunch yesterday with IdaRose and dinner last night with Valerie.

From my perspective Australia takes a more collectivist or mutual aid approach - which seems to arise from our harsh climate, challenging geography and foundation as a series of penal colonies. This is a nation that sees it as right and proper to provide social security safety nets for the sick, poor and unemployed. It also is a nation that increasingly seeks government support for the private individual.

Australia is also the home of the tall poppy syndrome, where individuals who are seen as getting above the mass are brought down to the same level as everyone else. This is what makes us feel all weird at the idea of building a personal brand. There are strong cultural values that make personal branding uncomfortable.

I'm thinking about this in the context of John Robb's ideas of resilient communities. I wonder if these cultural norms in Australia are likely to make our society more resilient in difficult times?

More on this later ...

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

1 comment:

hyperpeople said...

The Tall Poppy Syndrome, as I see it - as an emigre Australian - is really about people who _act_ above their station. Australians *love* talent. But they hate people who put on airs about that talent. It's when those airs come on that the shears come out.