Culture, Accountability And National Development
Professor Muhammad Akaro Mainoma
Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK)
Nasarawa State, Nigeria
Paper presented at the
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO)
Quarterly Public Lecture
Held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja
On Thursday, 5th October, 2017
Culture has been defined in many ways. Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others. It is always a collective phenomenon; but it can be connected to different collectives. Most commonly, the term, culture, is used for tribes or ethnic groups (in anthropology), for nations (in political science), and for organisations (in sociology and management). The term can also be applied to the genders, to generations, or to social classes.
UNESCO has accepted the definition of culture as:
a) that in its widest sense, culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs;
b) that it is culture that gives man the ability to reflect upon himself. It is culture that makes us specifically human, rational beings, endowed with a critical judgment and a sense of moral commitment. It is through culture that we discern values and make choices.
It is through culture that man expresses himself, becomes aware of himself and recognises his incompleteness, questions his own achievements, seeks untiringly for new meanings and creates works through which he transcends his limitations.
According to the definition of culture that Member States agreed upon at the close of the LEG EUROSTAT (2008) proceeding, activities incorporated within cultural policy are those dealing with the conservation, creation/production, dissemination and trading, as well as education, in all cultural goods and services in the following domains:
a) Cultural Heritage
b) Visual Arts
f) Books and Press
g) Performing Arts
h) Audio and Audio-visual Multimedia.
In contemporary sociology, culture is used in two senses. In the first, it is used as universal and uniquely human phenomenon which consists of patterns of thinking, believing, doing, behaving, making and using which all human beings learn in order to fit in as members of a human society. In the second sense, it is used to describe the life style that characterises a particular society and which serves as a basis for the social organisational patterns that distinguish that society from the others.
A common practice in sociology is to view culture as made up of two large and interrelated configuration or components. These parts are the material culture and nonmaterial culture. Material culture has to do with the physical or material objects and things made or used in their natural state by men. The inventory of these material or physical traits of culture are numerous and they include those things that have physical existence, which we can touch, feel and see. Examples include buildings (structures), cars, motors, machines, shoes, ear-rings, dresses, etc. Non-material culture refers those aspects of culture, which have no physical existence. The nonmaterial culture relates to the rules regulating appropriate behaviour and guiding the appropriate use of the material culture, especially in certain kinds of interpersonal relationship. Examples are the rules, appropriate behaviour, attitude, values, beliefs, law, customs, habits, ideals, ways of doing things, etc.
The concept, development, has many definitions. According to one view, development is a process of economic growth, a rapid and sustained expansion of production, productivity and income per head (sometimes qualified by insistence on a wide spread of the benefits of this growth). Another view sees development as a process that enhances the effective freedom of the people involved to pursue whatever they have reason to value (Giddens, 2006). For McGee (1989), development is ‘a many sided process. At the level of the individual, it implies increase, skills and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material wellbeing. According to Cotgrove (1978), development is a multidimensional process involving the re-organisation and re-orientation of the entire economic and social system. This involves, in addition to improvement of income and output, radical changes in institutional, social and administrative structures, as well as in popular attitudes, customs and beliefs. Dudley Seers, in his contribution to the meaning of development, argued that, “the questions to ask about a country’s development are therefore: what has been happening to poverty? What has been happening to unemployment? What has been happening to inequality? If all three of these have declined from high levels, then beyond doubt this has been a period of development for the country concerned” (Ujo, 2004).
This paper attempts to establish the nexus between culture, accountability and national development. We will examine how all cultural components affect accountability and development in the following domains: Custom, Unique values, Language, Traditions, Uniformity, Relationships, and Education.
Culture and Accountability
Accounting is affected by its environment, including the culture of the country in which it operates. Business and managerial behaviour is strongly influenced by culture (i.e. shared value systems or attitudes) (Hofstede, 1980). National differences in culture patterns have emerged over long periods of time and have often maintained their stability over many generations.
Culture in any country contains the most basic values that an individual may hold. It affects the way that individuals would like their society to be structured and how they interact with its substructure. Accounting may be seen as one of those substructures.
The origin of culture, or societal values, can be found in a variety of factors affecting the ecological or physical environment. Societal values lead to the development and maintenance of institutions in society, which include the family system, the nature of business ownership, the education system, and so on.
At the national level, culture may be expected to permeate organisational and occupational subcultures as well, though with varying degrees of integration. Accounting systems and practices can influence and reinforce societal values.
Clearly, accounting is a function of the business environment in which it operates, and it originated in order to record business transactions. The origin of accounting and its subsequent changes are therefore best studied in the context of the history of commercial transactions. Although the recording of transactions is probably as old as the history of record keeping, we tend to think of the establishment of double-entry accounting, the basis for modern accounting, as the key event.
Record-keeping, the foundation of accounting, has been traced back as far as 3600 B.C., and historians know that mathematical concepts were understood in various ancient civilizations from China, India, and Mesopotamia – often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization – to some of the ancient native cultures of Central and South America. Business transactions in different areas around the world, including the city states of central and northern Europe, probably gave rise to the recording of business transactions.
However, double-entry accounting was probably developed in the Italian city states between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. The most significant influence on accounting took place in Genoa, Florence and Venice. There is no defining moment when double-entry accounting was born, but it seems to have evolved independently in different places, responding to the various natures of business transactions and need to record them properly. The Genoese system was probably a development of the ancient Roman system. Commercial activity had been flourishing in Genoa for a long time, and Genoa was at the height of her wealth and power during the fourteenth century. The Genoese system assumed the concept of a business entity. Because it recorded items in terms of money, it was the first to imply that unlike items could be compared in terms of a common monetary unit. The system also implied some understanding of the distinction between capital and income in that it included both expenses and equity accounts.
The key influence on double-entry accounting, not so much for its development as it spread, came from Venice. Venice was the key commercial city of the Renaissance because of its commercial empire and advantages as a port. The Venetians may not have developed double-entry accounting before the Genoese and Florentines, but Venice “developed it, perfected it, and made it her own, and it was under the name of the Venetian method that it became known the world over” (Peragallo, 1938).
Accounting has a long history and a close association with the development of Chinese culture. Its roots can be found in the teachings of the philosopher and educator, Confucius, which highlight the imperative to keep history and view accounting records as part of that history. The word, accounting, is noted as far back as the Hsiu Dynasty, around 2200 BC, when the stewardship function of accounting was emphasized. Later in the Xia Dynasty (2000–1500BC), the concept of measuring wealth and accomplishment was mentioned. More recently, the master-apprentice system was used to train accountants up until the 1900s. Also, in the early 1900s, university study in accounting became an accepted way to understand and advance the principles and practice of accounting. Since 1949, Chinese scholars returning home after completing their accounting studies abroad, mainly in the Soviet Union, pioneered the development of a body of new knowledge in China, which resulted in existing practices.
However, until the 1980s, those who carried out accounting work were not held in high regard in Chinese society compared with their Western counterparts. This was partly due to the traditional Chinese culture of “respecting the peasants and despising the merchants”. Consequently, accounting education has never been well developed in China and was particularly disrupted during the Cultural Revolution (beginning in the mid-1960s).
The accounting values most relevant to the professional or statutory authority for accounting systems as well as their enforcement appear to be professionalism and uniformity. Both are concerned with regulation and the degree of enforcement or conformity. Accordingly, these can be combined and the classification of culture areas hypothesized on a judgmental basis. In making these judgments, we will refer to the relevant correlations between value dimensions and the clusters of countries identified from the statistical analyses carried out by Hofstede. From this classification, it seems clear that the Anglo and Nordic culture areas can be contrasted with the Germanic and more developed Latin culture areas, as well as the Japanese, Near Eastern, less developed Latin, less developed Asian and African culture areas. The former colonial Asian countries are separately classified because they represent a mixture of influences. The accounting values most relevant to the measurement practices used and the extent of information disclosed, are the conservatism and secrecy dimensions, respectively.
These can therefore be combined and the classification of culture areas hypothesized on a judgmental basis. As before, in making judgments about these classifications, we have again referred to the relevant correlations between value dimensions and the resultant clusters of countries identified from the statistical analysis carried out by Hofstede. Here again, there appears to be a sharp division of culture area groupings with the former Asian colonial group relating more closely with the Anglo and Nordic groupings.
This can be contrasted with the Germanic and more developed Latin groupings, which are related to the Japanese, less developed Asian, African, less developed Latin, and Near Eastern-area groupings. In broad terms, countries can be grouped as either relatively optimistic and transparent or relatively conservative and secretive.
This classification of country groupings by culture area can be used as a basis for further assessing the relationship between cultures and accounting systems. This classification is particularly relevant for understanding systems authority and enforcement characteristics, on the one hand, and measurement and disclosure characteristics, on the other. The research findings to date do tend to support the significance of culture as an influential factor in the development of accounting.
Cultural influence on Accountability can be viewed from the points of Community and Individuals and how it affects performance management. In a strong community accountability setting, you would tend to feel accountable first and foremost to your family, tribe, group of clans, or the nation that you come from. Collective achievement is extremely important. The word, “obligation”, tends to be used more often in a community accountability settings than it would be in individual accountability settings.
In a community accountability setting you are given permission to try things, but only if it serves the community or family as a whole. The word, “self”, in the language of the society, is often seen as neutral at best, or negative at worst; whereas in individual accountability settings, it is often seen as positive.
In a strong individual accountability culture, your parents would likely have raised you to pursue your “own” path, and to try to discover things “for yourself.” You feel first and foremost accountable to yourself for your opinions, your growth, life direction, and career. Individual accountability cultures often carry a sense of individual freedom and the idea that you are given permission to try things that do not necessarily benefit the community if you think they will benefit you.
Most performance management systems in the world have been designed in the context of individual accountability cultures with the assumption that people have an individual accountability mindset. This is an issue as soon as individual accountability performance management systems are deployed in community accountability cultures.
If you are working in a community accountability culture, do you still use purely individual measures, or do you try to measure the sales team as a whole in some way? We have found that accountability performance mechanism in community accountability cultures work best when they consider interpersonal qualities in the work, rather than just the work itself. That means you would try to measure not just how much revenue the team brought in, but also how much they worked together to generate new accounts.
The “togetherness” of the team is extremely important in community accountability cultures, and as a result building social capital is emphasised and work is more relationally centred. In individual accountability cultures, work can be more task oriented, especially in the short term.
Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. The model of national culture consists of six dimensions. The cultural dimensions represent independent preferences for one state of affairs over another that distinguish countries (rather than individuals) from each other. The country scores on the dimensions are relative, as we are all human and simultaneously we are all unique. In other words, culture can be only used meaningfully by comparison. The model consists of the following dimensions:
Power Distance Index (PDI): This dimension expresses the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The fundamental issue here is how a society handles inequalities among people. People in societies exhibiting a large degree of Power Distance accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. In societies with low Power Distance, people strive to equalise the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities of power. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society. All societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others. In small Power Distance, Corruption is rare; scandals end political careers. In large Power Distance, Corruption is frequent; scandals are covered up.
Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV): The high side of this dimension, called individualism, can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of only themselves and their immediate families. Its opposite, collectivism, represents a preference for a tightly-knit framework in society in which individuals can expect their relatives or members of a particular in-group to look after them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. A society’s position on this dimension is reflected in whether people’s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “we.”
Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
The Masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success. Society at large is more competitive. Its opposite, femininity, stands for a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Society at large is more consensus-oriented. In the business context, Masculinity versus Femininity is sometimes also related to as “tough versus tender” cultures.
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): The Uncertainty Avoidance dimension expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. The fundamental issue here is how a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? Countries exhibiting strong UAI maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles.
Long Term Orientation versus Short Term Normative Orientation (LTO): Every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and the future. Societies prioritise these two existential goals differently. Societies who score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future.
Indulgence versus Restraint (IND): Indulgence stands for a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun. Restraint stands for a society that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms.
Culture and Development
The debate on the relationship between culture and development has been on for quite sometimes now as people have attributed the development or underdevelopment of societies to their culture. The debate is popularly believed to have been sparked off by the pronouncements of W.W. Rostow, the then economic adviser to former US President John F. Kennedy. Rostow’s idea was considered a version of the market-oriented approach, termed, ‘modernisation theory’, which argues that, low-income societies can develop economically only if they give up their traditional ways and adopt modern economic institutions, technologies and cultural values that emphasise savings and productive investments.
According to Rostow (1961), the traditional cultural values and social institutions of low-income countries impede their economic effectiveness. For example, many people in low-income countries, in Rostow’s views, lack a strong work ethic; they would sooner consume today than invest for the future. Large families are also seen as partly responsible for ‘economic backwardness’, since a breadwinner with many mouths to feed can hardly be expected to save money for investment purposes. The culture of low-income countries tends to support ‘fatalism’- a value system that views hardship and suffering as the unavoidable plight of life. In this view, a country’s poverty is due largely to the cultural failings of the people themselves.
The modernisation theory thus believes that third world countries are poor because their culture inhibits development. According to Giddens (2006), a number of theorists in the 1960s questioned this market-oriented explanations of inequality offered especially by the modernisation theory. Many of these critics, mainly from Latin America and Africa relying heavily on Karl Marx’s ideas, opposed completely the idea that their country’s economic underdevelopment was due to their own cultural practices.
According to Francis and Hezel (2009), “the success of national economies is driven by cultural factors more than anything else. The thrift, hard work, tenacity, honesty and tolerance are cultural factors that make all the difference”. They concluded by saying that, modern technology alone will never be able to turn around an economy and boost the standard of living among a population. The development of the mindset, with accompanying values and habits, is a big part of the equation. These arguments and counter arguments as well as current happenings with regard to development, have led to the heightening of the debate on the role of culture in development.
Culture and development are two words which have not always gone together, or been worked upon within the same context. In recent years, however, we come across new elements, instruments and ideas which place increasing emphasis on this pair of concepts.
Culture is said to be the oil that keeps society running. Tradition and knowledge have also been described in certain quarters as the main pillars of development and sustenance of communities and that no society can progress in the absence of the two. Undoubtedly, some of our cultural values are indeed not useful today. This should however not be an excuse to throw away the bad water and the bathed baby. We can take a cue from countries, such as, Malaysia, South Korea, China, Japan and India, among others, who have adopted what is referred to as critical cultural renaissance. Culture is an effective tool for development if carefully handled. As a country, we will benefit immensely if we learn to combine effectively neo liberal development with relevant traditional culture.
If development must come to Africa, it must come in the cultural features of African languages and other institutions of culture. Many African countries are said not to have made giant strides in their development agendas owing to their inability to combine their indigenous values with the colonial legacies as the Asians have done. If development can be regarded as the enhancement of our living standards, then efforts geared development cannot ignore culture.
The World Conference on Cultural Policies – MONDIACULT, took place in Mexico City between 26th July and 6th August, 1982, and set down the working bases in relation to cultural policies to govern the various actions of the international bodies and state governments in the following years. The Mexico Declaration established the irrevocable link between culture and development: Balanced development can only be ensured by making cultural factors an integral part of the strategies designed to achieve it Various ideas linked to culture’s inclusion in development, cover:
Cultural Identity: It reaffirms that every culture is a unique and irreplaceable body of values and that cultural identity therefore contributes to the liberation of peoples. It considers cultural identity as wealth which promotes human relations; culture is dialogue and runs out and dies in isolation.
Cultural Dimension of Development: Culture is taken as a fundamental dimension of the development process. Sustainable development can only be ensured by integrating cultural factors into the strategies to achieve it.
Culture and Democracy: Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community…”, to emphasise that culture belongs to everybody in the community, avoiding the elitism which had often defined it and defending the term, ‘cultural democracy’. It stresses that in order to guarantee the participation of all individuals in the cultural life, the inequalities must be eliminated, whether due to origin, nationality, age, language, gender, belonging to minority groups, etc.
Cultural Heritage: Its conception of heritage covers both the tangible and the intangible. All peoples have the right and duty to defend and preserve their cultural heritage.
International Cultural Cooperation: It defends the need to share cultural knowledge through exchange, to favour the diffusion of the creativity. This cooperation will be based on the respect for the cultural identity and the value of each culture, without the possibility of cultural subordination or assimilation.
UNESCO’s General Conference passed the proclamation of the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997). The Action Programme for this Decade reflects a dual concern whose aspects are complementary: «how to promote greater consideration of the cultural dimension in development processes, and how to stimulate creative aptitudes and cultural life in general». This Decade served therefore to call attention on the international level on the need to take cultural aspects of development:
1. Take into account the cultural dimension of development: The recognition of the cultural dimension of development will come from the recognition of the cultural aspects of all the activities linked to economic, social, scientific and technical development.
2. Affirm and enrich the cultural identities: The aspects of this objective tend towards a protection and appreciation of the heritage, but distancing itself from a purely conservative vision, but rather impacting on revitalising processes of these heritage assets; it also indicates the need to stimulate creativity.
3. Broaden the participation in cultural life: It considers that it is necessary first of all to guarantee access to cultural life, in order to later stimulate participation. Both access and participation are necessary for real cultural development; there must be favourable conditions for the effective exercise of the cultural rights.
4. Promote international cultural cooperation: Culture can perform a determining role in establishing more balanced relations between States, analysing the cultural bases of a new balance in the relations between the world’s different regions.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), there is no clear relationship between culture and development. The idea that a group’s culture has an impact on its development is very attractive on an intuitive level and allows cultural stereotypes to become explanations for the state of the world, thereby breaking away from the cultural determinism, which is so deep-rooted in some sectors.
Culture is an ingredient in the development of any society. It can enhance or deter development. The ability of any society to keep abreast with innovation and change depends on how open and adaptive the culture is. Most nations have been able to develop because their culture is dynamic and receptive rather than antagonistic and resistant to change. There are some domestic and traditional technologies which are unique and which should not be allowed to dislocate because of acculturation. For example, there are simple technologies in the realm of manufacture, craft and arts which when harnessed could develop into sophisticated military might and power. The Japanese technology is an example. Crafts, artefacts and iron smelting rely heavily on simple technologies. They should be appreciated, developed and applied in manufacturing outfits. Americans have been able to integrate the ingenuity in their traditional culture and education into modern manufacturing industry and military know how. The outcome is the diversification of their export of finished goods, services and coercive power resources, which they use in international politics (Curr. Res. J. Soc. Sci., 3(2): 50-53; 2011: 52).
The technological component of culture is a veritable instrument as far as development is concerned. This aspect of culture has been harnessed and integrated in machine designs, agriculture, commerce and industry, manufacturing and health care. Scientific discoveries and applications have improved life expectancy and standard of living thereby improving the poverty level of most countries. Products from the arts and crafts exhibitions have been sources of foreign exchange earning to some countries as well as opening avenues for bilateral trade and relations. For example, most of the Ife and Benin works of arts are found all over the world and especially in British museum and have been a great source of tourist attraction and revenue. The ideological component of culture involves belief, values and ideas, which are aspects of the culture ethos. The cognitive culture especially can be properly abstracted and applied in the areas of development. Granted that the ideological component makes particular cultures unique and remains a perspective for viewing other cultures, there are some cultural practices and attitudinal dispositions, which can be explored and integrated in the process of development. These dispositions include hard work, ingenuity, initiative, creativity, frugality, concerned efforts, tolerance and patriotism.
Nigeria’s aborted ‘Opinion A-4’ is a cultural ideological component abstracted from our traditional political institution. This should have been properly developed and exported to the whole world as part of our contribution to the development of world politics. The organisational ingredient of culture involves integrative approach, organisational acumen and abilities of a people in the areas of coordination and cooperation. These help to make life what it is – unique. A society without peace and harmony cannot grow and develop. A country where patriotism and identification (fellowship) are exchanged for brigandage, sabotage, subterfuge, fraud, embezzlement, terrorism and the like will always wallow in abject poverty, disarray and political darkness. These are vices that do not allow creativity, hard-work and development to nurture. Political stability rather than political instability should be an integral part of a nation’s political culture as this attracts foreign investment and industrial development.
Language is an effective symbol in culture and men’s ability in symbolising should be accorded a significant place in development. Language diversity, though a dislocating factor, can be positively explored. The educational system and programmes operating in society should reflect the felt needs and development-oriented culture of the people. The idea of admixture of cultures for the sake of emulation and civilization should be jettisoned. The normative culture serves as a control mechanism. It stipulates what ought to be the pattern of life and behaviour in the society. It is more effective than the formal control system especially if the cultural elements are properly internalised through effective socialization. It therefore checks crime and deviance.
The art industry helps to improve the individual skills, talents and creativity. The various images of art work, weaving, carving and decorations and designs are examples. Nature offers opportunity for increased exploitation and use of natural environment to the advantage of man. The skills involved in the mining or natural resources like petroleum, iron ore, coal, etc., and weather reading are examples (Onwuejeogwu, 1975).
Through the use of wide range of ideas, culture is therefore regarded as an agent of civilization. This is epitomised in the areas of sophisticated art works, architecture, aesthetic, mathematics and metallurgy. The interconnectivity between culture and development can also be established when we take a look at the emergence of modern day capitalism. In fact, ample evidence exist that points to the fact that Western capitalism evolved or developed as a result of the cultural ethos, which Protestantism encouraged. This is evident in the works of Max Webber. For Webber (1904/1958), Protestantism and modern capitalism appeared on the historical scene at about the same time. He went further to argue that, firstly, capitalism attained its highest development in protestant countries compared with catholic regions. Secondly, in countries with both Protestants and Catholics like Germany, it seemed to be the protestant regions that pioneered in capitalist development. Lastly, he came up with evidence that it was Protestants and not Catholics who were early entrepreneurs. Based on these, he concluded that the protestant ethics, particularly as it is embodied in Calvinist doctrine instilled an attitude which seeks profit, rationally and systematically. It can therefore be argued that the culture of hard work, sobriety, thrift, restraints, avoidance of fleshy pleasures, and deferred gratification which the Calvinists preached to a large extent though debunked by other scholars, accounts for the rise and development of capitalism (Hughes et al.,1999).
In discussing culture and development, a distinction is made between positive or progressive culture and negative or regressive culture. Positive or progressive culture is one that is exploited for human and national development. Examples of such cultures include those in Japan and South Korea, which have contributed to national development in the areas of manufacturing, industry and politics. Also we have the African form of architecture and designs. Progressive culture is dynamic and stands the test and challenges of different epochs. It is sustainable over time. There should be no inhibition in the interplay that occurs between culture, science and technology, otherwise it would be regarded as retrogressive. It should have the capacity of utility and acceptability to a larger world community. Negative or regressive culture is the one that offers no contribution to nation building. The culture of indiscipline, fraudulence, wasteful spending and the likes; killing of twins and certain social stratification systems in particular societies are examples.
Culture is an engine of social development and economic growth; but at the same time. it may be affected or even destroyed in the process. Generating added value and jobs, the cultural industries are a straightforward contribution to the national economic mix. While individual artists’ jobs are hardly counted and economically significant (due to the largely non-institutionalised profile that they have and of the small numbers involved in professional artistic production), art markets, cultural management, and the activities of cultural institutions do represent a large employment sector.
We can identify three “impact areas” of culture on the local economic environment:
a) direct economic impacts from employment and value generation in the cultural industries and indirect expenditure effect, which are so much larger the more “embedded” in the local are cultural professions;
b) induced effects of cultural activities on the quality of a place, among which the tourist attractiveness, which leverages additional visitor expenditure, but also the location amenities for companies; and
c) “creative inputs” accruing to the local networks of production (both to products and processes of production, or organisational models). These are “cultivated” in a lively and stimulating cultural environment where a creative class develops, attracted by tolerance, openness, educational and social opportunities. A creative economy improves the competitiveness of the urban environment.
Country experiences and empirical evidence suggest that entrepreneurial culture can influence the quantity of entrepreneurial ability and economic development (Mainoma & Aruwa, 2014). One variant of this school of thought argues that economic growth and development depend on certain characteristics of the people. It posits that negative qualities of people, such as, lack of inventiveness, lack of dynamism, irrationality, low achievement motivation, high rate of absenteeism, laziness, negative attitude to work, failure of high earnings to elicit more work, lead to underdevelopment.
Others link development with certain cultural traits of a people, such as, fatalism, a high regard for customs, rituals, lack of rationality and limited wants, which inhibit development. Another variant of this school looks at development in terms of the quality of the people with respect to inventiveness or technological dynamism of the people.
We can sum up by saying that culture plays a major role in the accountability systems, the political, economic, social religious and educational development of nation. In other words, there can be growth and development in any given human society if the culture in existence is not supportive of such.
Whereas any induced development programme should not undermine the culture of the people, the way of life of the people should not hinder or stagnate development. The people are the actors and beneficiaries of development efforts. A dynamic culture, therefore, should be able to accommodate change rather that stagnate predictive processes. Culture should be able to regenerate itself and should offer opportunities to be harnessed for the improvement of standard of living of the people.
Culture forms the indices of accountability and for measuring national development. A country where the citizens are xenophobic; are unable to decolonise themselves; and are not proud of what they are and have, finds it difficult to step into the wheels of sustainable growth and development.
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