Space Management Reveals Cultural Values Too
Often times, when we talk about inter-group rivalry on the international scene, it ultimately boils down to economics. At least, this is what a lot of experts would like to talk about.
This is the picture that they would like to present time and time again. It doesn’t really matter which corner of the globe the conflict is in. Economists and political scientist would always come back to economics.
It’s as if it’s some sort of one-size-fits-all solution. It’s as if it’s some sort of handy explanation that transcends space, time, and culture.
What if I told you that this is not necessarily true? It turns out that space competition is more important than economics when it comes to culture.
For culture to blossom, grow, and dominate, it has to have space first. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s not some sort of theoretical construct that people just carry around with them in the safe confines of their mind.
It’s not some sort of gossip or folklore that you pass on from generation to generation. It is real. It’s physically real.
You either find yourself in a physical space or not. When you’re in one particular space, automatically and by necessity, you’re not in another space. After all, there’s only one of you.
This is why it’s really important to understand how space completion impacts economics. When people feel that they do not have any elbow room or they don’t have room to move, their psychology changes.
I’m not just talking about individual psychology. I’m also talking about group psychology. All questions like what is possible, what is expected, what is the good life, how to approach the world, are impacted by space. A great example of this has to do with the closing of the American West.
One of the main reasons why the United States of America is so dynamic, both as a culture and as an economy, was the underlying assumption that once the 13 colonies got filled up, there’s still a lot more from where that came from. In other words, colonists just need to push westward towards the Pacific and there will be a lot more land.
This situation is in stark contrast to what was going on in Europe. In Europe, you were either born rich, poor, or middle class.
The middle class is a very thin film of population where the vast majority are peasants and desperately poor. It’s either hot or cold and black and white.
Not so in the United States. In the colonies that later on became the United States, immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom found a new home. This is a place of second, third, and fourth chances.
There, you can land. In fact, land freed up people because they can see possibility. When they have access to land, they can dream again. They can be ambitious again.
This provided the engine to the American miracle of the 1800s. Interestingly enough, once America reached all the way to the California and the West Coast, there was a closing of the American mind.
People were not as bold anymore. People started to be more fearful. People started to think in zero sum terms. This really is too bad. However, this accurate historical case also highlights the importance of space competition, as far as the proper mindset is concerned.