On this episode of Unsupervised Learning Razib discusses the new book, The Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move To a Lot Like the Ones They Left, with author Garett Jones. Jones is a professor of economics at George Mason University, and The Culture Transplant is the third book in what he likes of think of as his “Singapore trilogy,” beginning with Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own, and then moving to 10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less. Jones explains how cultural assimilation and acculturation is actually not nearly as powerful as we might think and that ancestral folkways and norms persist for centuries, transforming nations like the US and Argentina over time as migration streams alter their demographic makeup. He argues that this is important because some nations are highly productive and innovative, and their cultural frameworks are necessary to foster their economic role in the global system. The Culture Transplant takes a contrarian position, going against the stance of mainstream economics, whereby every individual is an interchangeable “homo economicus.”
If you’ve ever wondered how past and future migration may change the world, then Jones’ arguments on this podcast are worth listening to, and The Culture Transplant is a must-read.