Monday, August 12, 2013

Why some people say that Japanese and German people are similar in character, and not Spanish people?


Some people say that Japanese and German people are similar in character. For instance they are both punctual, diligent, and having had totalism government during the WWII, became mass producers of products after the war. I only partially agree with this view, however it raised an important question. I wondered why Japanese and German people are similar, and not Spanish people.

I have found the answer to this question through Emmanuel Todd in the book "Sekaizou Kakumei" which roughly translated means, "A revolutionary way to understand how the world works" This is a book designed for Japanese readers. It contains Emanuel Todd's basic theory and Japanese social scientists commentary on his theories about social structures. This book asks questions such as why communism is more widely accepted by Russia and China and not by Western European countries and the Far East. It also resolved my question, family structures affect the ideological tendencies of countries and thus explains why certain countries are similar to each other ideologically. In order for you to understand this theory, I will describe four family structures, how their structure affects them ideologically, and state in what parts of the world you can see these structures.

Emmanuel Todd (from Wikimedia Commons)

1. Authoritarian Families

-Parents have the authorities in the household. Their sons and daughters are unequal status.
Ex- The chosen successor will stay in their parent's home while the other sibling must leave the home.
Ideology tendencies: authoritarianism to their own citizens
Area: Japan, the Korean Peninsula, German language areas, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the east coast of England, Rwanda and Jewish communities.

2. Community based Families

Parents have the authorities in the household. Their sons and daughters have equal status. All sons and daughters stay in their parent's home even after marriage. Therefore, family structures that are community based are usually large. Heritage is divided between all sons and daughters equally.
Ideology tendencies: Communism
Area: Russia, China, Vietnam, Northern India, Finland, Tuscany (Italy), Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia
*Arabic households are structured similarly to community based families. However, in Arabic families, marrying cousins is popular.

3. Egalitarian Nuclear Families

Parents don't have strong authorities over their children. Sons and daughters are equal.
Ex- When sons and daughters come of age, they will leave the household and having their own families. Heritage is divided between all sons and daughters equally.
Ideology tendencies: Egalitarian individualism
Area: Northern France including Paris, most of the Iberian Peninsula, Northwest Italy, Poland, Romania, Greece, and Latin America

4. Absolute Nuclear Families

Parents don't have strong authority in their homes. Their sons and daughters are unequal in status.
Ex- When sons and daughters come of age, they will leave the household and have their own families. The sons and daughters heritage will be decided based on their parent's will.
Ideology tendencies: Liberal individualism
Area: Large parts of England, the Netherlands and Denmark. This structure can also be seen in Bretagne, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

This theory convinced me, in particular, about Community based families. It's structure is similar to the structure of communism. However, I have a question. Tuscany has Community based families and yet Italy is capitalist. It seems a contradiction. Actually, until recent years, the strongest communist party in the western world was in Italy. In 2006, a member of this party was elected as the President of Italy. Also the strongest supporters for the Italian Communist Party were in Tuscany. Todd's theory can once again be applied in this case.

The history of the family structures

What is the history of the family structures? Unexpectedly, I found out that Community based families are the newest because they are located in the center of the continent Eurasia and Nuclear families are on the edge of the continent. Todd says that family structures are born in the center of the world and spread to the edge. The locations of the family structures show us their history. He also said that Community based family structures are suitable to construct strong armies therefore this family structure can easily overcome other family structures.

I don't agree with the former idea presented here, that the newest family structures spread from the center of the world. However, I agree with the later. However, nowadays, the countries which have the Absolute Nuclear families seem to be the strongest in the world. The later theory of community based families being the strongest in the world is suitable when applied to the past. In the modern world, one of the most important things to survive is quick adaptation to new situations, not strong power. Absolute Nuclear families are hence, the bases for the world's modern strongest countries, while in the past, the world's strongest family structure, was the Community based families.

People's senses of values still remain

Will Absolute Nuclear families conquer the other family structures? Will all people's senses of values become the same? Todd says this will never happen. He emphasizes that people's senses of values will remain the same.

For instance, this can be seen in 1990 through the marriage of natives and immigrants.
French (Egalitarian Nuclear families) and Algerian: 25%
German (Authoritarian families) and Turk: 2%
England (Absolute Nuclear families) and Pakistanis: unmeasurable little

In France, it is more popular to marry immigrants than in German and England. The author may want to say that French people think that equality is more important than their uniqueness, or that people from Germany and England are not interested in foreign people.

I think that the French way of thinking results from their style of colonization. France controls through "direct ruling" or "assimilation" - the French government gives the same rights to its mainland citizens as to people from its colonies (however, people from the colonies rights are usually imperfect). On the other hand, England's control of its colonies is through "indirect rule" - England controls its colonies through administrators, not through controlling the people directly. This style means that English people are not interested in people living in their colonies and don't thrust their culture on people in those colonies.

The last and biggest question

Through reading this book, I have come to have one last and very important question: Why did family structures occur in the first place? For example, why did people from Tuscany construct Community based families, unlike any other Italian states? There is no answer to my question in this book which was released in 2002. Has Todd found the answer already? I will seek out his new book which has the answer.