Traditional indicators of noncompetitive performance still apply: corruption (the most seductive activity humans can consummate while clothed); the absence of sound, equitably enforced laws; civil strife; or government attempts to overmanage a national economy. As change has internationalized and accelerated, however, new predictive tools have emerged. They are as simple as they are fundamental, and they are rooted in culture. The greater the degree to which a state — or an entire civilization — succumbs to these “seven deadly sins” of collective behavior, the more likely that entity is to fail to progress or even to maintain its position in the struggle for a share of the world’s wealth and power. Whether analyzing military capabilities, cultural viability, or economic potential, these seven factors offer a quick study of the likely performance of a state, region, or population group in the coming century.
These key “failure factors” are:
- Restrictions on the free flow of information.
- The subjugation of women.
- Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
- The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
- Domination by a restrictive religion.
- A low valuation of education.
- Low prestige assigned to work.
[…] Whether on our own soil or abroad, those segments of humanity that fear and reject knowledge of the world (and, often, of themselves) are condemned to failure, poverty, and bitterness.