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Are some cultures more honest than others?

  1. Sep 23, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was reminded of a story told by two US engineers and a Chinese engineer. This was on a NOVA, on PBS, I think... The short of it came down to this: The Chinese engineer described US engineers as gullible and naive; "they give everything away", she said [after the translation]. The Americans described the Chinese engineers as closed and basically dishonest. They also described a work atmosphere that stifles the creative design process.
     
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  3. Sep 24, 2005 #2

    honestrosewater

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    Do China and the US have similar intellectual property laws? I would be wary of sharing my creative work if I didn't have the protection of our laws.
     
  4. Sep 24, 2005 #3

    Lisa!

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    No, perhaps she was dishonest only in technical information case. AS you know Chinese consider US as a rival in technology. Anyway generalization is dangerous. I think you can find honest and dishonest people in every culture, but you know I can't deny that cultures have an important influence on people's personality. For example in some culture there's an extra emphasize on honesty and people in that culture can't tolerate dishonesty and they never forgive people who're not honest with them. So it's not starnge if most of people in that culture try to be honest all the time. (Luckily I'm too tired to continue more now! :tongue: )
     
  5. Sep 24, 2005 #4

    Astronuc

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    Every culture has those who are honest and those who are not.

    I am not sure the context of the comments by the engineers, but perhaps it has to with technology transfer. In some cases, the US has given away a lot of technology, and others have taken it and improved upon it. That however is not necessarily up to the engineers, but rather managers.

    Sometimes, the motive is strictly monetary. A company gets into a market overseas by sharing technology. However, the short terms gains may be a pyrrhic victory - in the long term, the overseas company which receives the technology will replace the US company in the overseas market, and then perhaps compete in the global market.

    As for the domestic US market, companies always try to learn each others technology, and in the extreme cases, industrial espionage does occur. Also, companies try to hire the best engineers from competitors.
     
  6. Sep 25, 2005 #5

    loseyourname

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    There are plenty of cultures that are less honest than others. For instance, the culture of con-men is less honest than the culture of Girl Scout troop leaders. The culture of federal Senators is less honest than the culture of Quaker devotees. The culture of personal injury lawyers is less honest than the culture of black belts in the Martial Arts. National cultures are less obvious, but I'm sure there are some that do less to encourage honesty than others.
     
  7. Sep 25, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    It seems a little hard to believe that every culture [culture defined generally as a country] place equal value on truthfulness. If that were true it would be quite astounding, really. I can see this for any culture based on biblical ethics, but why would all cultures evolve the same sense of right and wrong here?

    Also, I know, for example, that for some Muslims [told this directly by a buddy from Iran], one is serving God to make a profit; which puts a little different twist on the notion of a fair sale, IMO. Talk about pressure! :biggrin:
     
  8. Sep 25, 2005 #7
    That story describes the Chinese well. I know many. They aren't dishonest per se, but do see life as much like a poker game: it is foolish to let anyone know anything about you they don't have to know. The constant Chinese smile isn't politeness, it's their version of the poker face. They don't outright lie any more often than we do, but they are exceptionally obtuse, evasive, and hold their cards close to their chests. They are happy to take advantage of anyone too naive to play by these rules.

    People from Latin American countries and other places close to the equator strike me as the least interested in obscuring what's on their minds.
     
  9. Sep 25, 2005 #8
    In America we have freedom of speech. I can tell any random person on this forum...take astronuc. YOU'RE A DIRTY HIPPIE!

    Is it the truth? I don't know. You must define truth. China is an industry that keeps building. Someone in China must be very dishonest to keep the cash flow coming in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2005
  10. Sep 25, 2005 #9

    Lisa!

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    You know what's wrong here: we see someone from X country and think all the people who live in X are like him, but it's not true. I don't want to reject the cultural influences on people, but I want to say you can't generalize all people because of 1 example. Yo live in US and as you know every American is different fromthe other. One support US administration, the other don't! People in other countries are just like that. Let's give you an example:
    I have a very close friend. We live in the same city, study in the same school and university and our families are almost the same. We're relatives but not close relatives. I know her parents who are normal and honest people. Now my friends tell lies even when it's not necessary and even no one asks her anything! But I can never tell lies! So is thattrue you'd say because we live in the same city and relative, I must be a liar too? You even can't comment on people who grow up in the same family base of what you know about 1 of them! :smile:
     
  11. Sep 25, 2005 #10
    I wonder what would happen if I just decided to pop up in china and start break dancing like MC Hammer. Do you think they would lie to me and tell me I suck at doing helicopters?
     
  12. Sep 25, 2005 #11
    They would just execute you.
     
  13. Sep 25, 2005 #12

    Astronuc

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    :rofl: Hey, thanks for the compliment. :biggrin: I shower every everyday.
     
  14. Sep 25, 2005 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    But you don't have my water treatment system. :biggrin:
     
  15. Sep 25, 2005 #14

    Astronuc

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    Life is rough here back east. :biggrin:

    My system has a simple greensand filter and water softener.
     
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