How to explain the differences in development of African and Asian countries?

Leading assumptions

1. Cultural values need structural interpretation.
2. History is a resource of social capital.
3. The cultural heritage of nations is grounded on local traditions.
4. Catch-up development depends on pre-colonial complexity.
5. Development trajectories reflect the cultural heritage.

The innovative element of our research: We found a way to link the traditional social organization of local societies with the performance of modern nation states since 1960. The approach is tested with new data and methodologies:

1. Based on anthropological records, the cultural heritage of 95 African and Asian countries is documented and transformed to quantitative national indicators.

2. Innovative maps and data expose the social structures of the precolonial societies in Africa and Asia.

3. The new methodological tools allow for quantitative research on the correlation between the precolonial past and the development of postcolonial societies.

4. Empirical analyses show that by inserting the new cultural indicators into econometric models, their explanatory power is strongly increased.

5. The most important factor explaining differences in development is the ➔ structural complexity of precolonial societies: The higher the traditional social and political complexity, the better the development records (and vice versa). The effect of this factors is not decreasing since 1960.

6. Since people neither can chose their history nor their race, the capitalist transformation should be functioning in a „culture neutral“ way. This, however, is not the case. It rather is discriminating against people who, in precolonial times, were organized by kinship instead in states.

7. The question is: Have people with a stateless past just tough luck? Or should alternatives to the metropolitan diktat get a chance? And if the dictum of the „end of history“ is rejected as non-sense: What role will the cultural heritage play in the process of creating alternatives to the capitalist world system?