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Reply #4: The Concept of "Soft Power" - Professor Nye [View All]

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CorpGovActivist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. The Concept of "Soft Power" - Professor Nye
I had the incredibly good fortune to take a course from Dr. Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

One of the concepts he hammered into us was the importance of "soft power":

When "lesser" cultures no longer aspire to be like the "greater" culture that would seek to organize and lead them, the "greater" culture faces a real crisis.

Notable examples include:

* the Athenian city-state's dominance in Ancient Greece

* the Pax Romana

* the collapse of the British Empire

Soft power deals with such matters as: would an 18 year old in {fill in the blank with country} rather own a pair of American-style blue jeans, or an outfit associated with his/her own culture? Would that same 18 year old prefer to be seen in public with a Coke, or with a beverage associated with his/her own culture?

It also deals with perceptions of benevolence: does that 18 year old believe that America is benevolent and just in its dealings with his/her culture?

One important barometer that would be interesting to measure: how many non-aligned nations are investing state resources in educating their elite/promising students in English, versus Mandarin?

- Dave
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