Cultural Context in International Micro Business – Invent a Future

by | Sep 1, 2011 | Archives

Cultural context can help you find international investments and create an International Micro Business.

Here is an excerpt from lesson five of Event- Full Business – How to have a seminar and educational business.

Recently a reader who placed an advertisement was surprised at how fast we built and placed the ad and wrote:

Gary, WOW ! Amazing turn-around time. Have to check and make sure I’m still in Ecuador.  Great job,  Thanks.

The fact that he was amazed at the speed of service reminded me of an important asset Americans, Canadians, British who grew up and were educated in high context cultures have… our high context background.


Gary Scott age 23 with sales team he developed in Hong Kong.  See why high context cultures can help businesses in low context nations.

Amy Tan, American writer, whose most well-known work is The Joy Luck Club,has been translated into 35 languages wrote about these contextual differences in cultures..

Here is an excerpt:  High-context Cultures and Low-context Cultures

The Joy Luck Club explores the clash between Chinese culture and American culture. One way of understanding the difference is to look at communication in these cultures. Chinese culture can be classified as a high-context culture and American culture as a low-context culture. First I will define these terms, then explain the significance of these two categories, and finally apply them to The Joy Luck Club.

•    Culture is the way of living which a group of people has developed and transmits from one generation to the next. It includes concepts, skills, habits of thinking and acting, arts, institutions, ways of relating to the world, and agreement on what is significant and necessary to know. Race, ethnicity, class, and gender are cultural creations; they derive their meanings from the culture.

•    Context is the whole situation, background, or environment connected to an event, a situation, or an individual.

•    A high-context culture is a culture in which the individual has internalized meaning and information, so that little is explicitly stated in written or spoken messages. In conversation, the listener knows what is meant; because the speaker and listener share the same knowledge and assumptions, the listener can piece together the speaker’s meaning. China is a high-context culture.

•    A low-context culture is one in which information and meaning are explicitly stated in the message or communication. Individuals in a low-context culture expect explanations when statements or situations are unclear, as they often are. Information and meaning are not internalized by the individual but are derived from context, e.g., from the situation or an event. The United States is a low-context culture.

High-context Cultures

In a high-context culture, the individual acquires cultural information and meaning from obedience to authority, through observation and by imitation. To acquire knowledge in this way and to internalize it, children must be carefully trained. High-context cultures are highly stable and slow to change, for they are rooted in the past; one example is the Chinese practice of ancestor worship. They are also unified and cohesive cultures.

In such cultures, the individual must know what is meant at the covert or unexpressed level; the individual is supposed to know and to react appropriately. Others are expected to understand without explanation or specific details. Explanations are insulting, as if the speaker regards the listener as not knowledgeable or socialized enough to understand. To members of a low-context culture, speakers in a high-context culture seem to talk around a subject and never to get to the point.

The bonds among people are very strong in a high-context culture. People in authority are personally and literally responsible for the actions of subordinates, whether in government, in business, or in the family. (In the U.S., on the other hand, the general practice is to find a “fall guy” or scapegoat who takes the blame for those with more power and status.) In a high-context culture, the forms (conventional ways of behaving) are important; the individual who does not observe the forms is perceived negatively; the negative judgments for an individual’s bad behavior may extend to the entire family.

In embarrassing or awkward situations, people act as though nothing happened. Individuality, minor disagreements, and personality clashes are ignored, so that no action has to be taken. Taking action tends to be taken seriously, because once started an action must generally be completed. Individuals can’t stop an action because they change their minds, because they develop another interest, because unforeseen consequences arise, or because something better comes along. Consequently there is greater caution or even reluctance to initiate an undertaking or to give a promise. Chinese parents may overlook a child’s behavior, because they expect that the strong family tradition, which is based on ancestors, will cause the child ultimately to behave properly.
The Clash of Low-context and High-context Cultures in The Joy Luck Club

In a low-context culture, as Edward T. Hall explains, “Most of the information must be in the transmitted message in order to make up for what is missing in the context (both internal and external).” In a low-context culture change is rapid and easy; bonds between people are looser; action is undertaken easily and can be changed or stopped once initiated.

Those of us who come from high context cultures say what we mean. This form of communication is often more efficient in getting work done.  I have heard it told that one problem the Japanese army had was that their culture was so low context that the command lacked the ability to give direct orders and the subordinates lacked the ability to give the command chain adequate feedback on conditions.

England used contextual differences against Germany in WWII.  The German army was fantastic at planning and maintaining an organized attack, but inept at adapting to change. The British on the other hand were far more flexible and capable of making do… of shifting as the fog of war changed the attack.

Along with the high or low context often goes a high or low power distance index.

Malcom Gladwell explains this in his book “Outliers” a book about what makes  success.

One part of the book looks at the importance of the Power Distance Index in each nation.  This is vital information because it explains how countries differ in their approach to dealing with risk and uncertainty.  The ability to handle risk and uncertainty  in changing times is vital.

In a high power distance cultures the following may be observed:

. Those in authority openly demonstrate their rank.
. Subordinates are not given important work and expect clear guidance from above.
. Subordinates are expected to take the blame for things going wrong.
. The relationship between boss and subordinate is rarely close/personal.
. Politics is prone to totalitarianism.
. Class divisions within society are accepted.

In a low power distance culture:

. Superiors treat subordinates with respect and do not pull rank.
. Subordinates are entrusted with important assignments.
. Blame is either shared or very often accepted by the superior due to it being their responsibility to manage.
. Managers may often socialize with subordinates.
. Liberal democracies are the norm.
. Societies lean more towards egalitarianism.

The Power Distance Index is a measure of the attitude toward hierarchy.  In short the PDI shows how much people overall, in a country, respect authority.

This index is really important in this rapid changing world because authority almost always lags behind reality.  Authority resists required change to adapt in altering conditions. Countries with a high PDI suffer from change.

For example the US has a low PDI. Russia has a very high PDI.  Thus during the changing 1980s the Soviet Union disintegrated while the US rebounded and thrived.  PDI differences were not the only reasons for this but when a nation’s leadership cannot communicate with its people…  it cannot sense reality as times shift.

Gladwell writes in “Outliers::  In low power index countries, power is something in which power holders are almost ashamed and will try to underplay.  In Austria (a low PDI country)  Prime Minister Bruno Kreiskt was known to sometimes take a streetcar to work.

Here are six countries with high PDIs:
South Korea

Six Countries with low PDIs:
United States
New Zealand

A low PDI can help a country adapt faster and better to change, so look for investments in countries with low PDIs. 

This message is an excerpt from our latest multi currency lesson.  You can read what to do now as a multi currency subscriber. Learn how to subscribe here.

However countries with high PDIs are often better for living.

I was thinking about this one morning while visiting Quito.  This is one of the world’s beautiful cities so I rose to watch the dawn.  The day broke in glorious rose patina.


Like the days ahead…  the view was obscured until the light began…


to reveal Quito’s beauty.

Ecuador’s Power Distance Index in Ecuador is a bit high. This does not stop a great city from growing. I looked out and saw that there was plenty here.  Riches enough.  All the …


creature comforts…


glowing in the daybreak.  Every material thing a person could want…


As the light spread, Merri and I dressed and rode up to the hotel restaurant.


I’ll looked out at Quito again in the light of day.


There is amazing wealth here. The hotel restaurant is opulent.


With amazing views around the city.  yet the prices here are low in part because…


poor government is created with the help of a High Power distance Index. This  keeps most of the people in Ecuador poor.  This means that we can help by bringing and spending our money here.  Those who do help Ecuador’s poor and are rewarded with good living at a low price.

This reinforces what I wrote in “Multi Currency Bank Safety

Live in one country
Bank in a second country
Invest in many countries
Earn in two or more countries
Use a company incorporated in a fifth country
Take a second residence.

On the subject of banking abroad, Denmark has the second lowest PDI in the world (Austria is number one) so it is not surprising that for the last 20 years my major bankers have been in Copenhagen and Vienna.  I like the autonomy that investment advisers have in low PDI countries.

This is in my estimation one reason why Jyske Bank (Denmark’s second largest bank) was not caught in the sub prime or Madoff scandals.

Banks in countries with a low PDI are more likely to use the wisdom of their entire organization to head off trouble at the pass.

A reader who lives in the Philippines recently wrote about this wehn he sent this note.  Greetings From Bohol, I agree with you 100% about technology’s impact on jobs and employment.  I have been telling whoever will listen, that the major economic issue we are all facing is: no one knows how to manage a global economy.  For example, I am 62 years old born and raised in the USA, and have always worked for myself-and that is many, many working years. My major is psychology but I have been doing training, consulting and development for sometime.  About six years ago my family and I moved to the Philippines, started a consulting business with clients from all over the world.  I also lived in Mexico for 5 years where I owed a art gallery/internet cafe and a restaurant.  Technology has changed the world and there is no going back.  When you can sit is some remote country and interaction with people all over the world-that is truly change. But not just change, but economic change.

I have had extensive dealings with the schools on Bohol Island, where we presently living and Cebu Island, Philippines where we lived for our three years.  The educational system reminds me of the schooling I received in the 50’s.  Overcrowded classrooms, not enough educational materials, and not much learning.  The big focus is on order, behavior and repeating what the teachers is saying-not on thinking or asking questions.  Beginning in kinder, little children are carrying six or seven books.  School begins in most places at 7:30/8:00 and finishes around 4PM. Most children get home around dark.

Part of what we do is career development for those persons wanting to work overseas.  Therefore, I have had the opportunity to interview many of the Philippines educational systems products. And I am amazed at the lack of thinking, the lack of analytical processing most graduates are display.  They can ‘Ace’ an exam, but in most cases cannot tell you what the information means.  They can have excellent writing and reading skills, but take that book or paper away-they become like movie actors without a script writer.  Cannot put a sentence together without: ‘you know’, ‘I mean’ or ‘it is hard to explain.

Our 8 year old son has never attended school. He speaks Tagalog and English.  He is always stopped and asked where does he attend school or what grade is he in?  When he replies he does not attend school, most people are surprised, they usually say, but ‘but you speak so well’, or ‘you sound so grown’.  That is when I will interject, ‘because he does not go to school’. 

There is some discussion about the need to improve, and change the Philippines’ educational system, however, change is slow. There is a real concern about being the ‘first’ one doing something different-thinking outside the box.  As the former president of a university in Cebu told me during a meeting about his school partnering with Harvard University, he stated:  we are older than Harvard, and I replied, that is true you are older.  But who is better known?   

All of this has lead to many foreigners/expats opening schools, and providing different educational options, not only for their children, but for local families.   That is what we have done on a small scale bases, this year we begun homeschooling our son with some children from local families.  What technology has allowed us to do is to access information that we ordinary would not have had access to.  Technology has allowed us to share different learning styles, techniques, and materials with the local educational system.  This year, I-it allowed me to create a special education program for a local private school, a program which I named: ISPED-Innovative Special Education Program. 

If there is any ‘special place’ for foreigners or expats to focus in emerging societies; I do believe it is in the area of information/education/schooling.  The knowledge you can obtain and access through the computer/internet and the difference it can make is amazing.   Plus, I get paid.

There you have it.  An asset many of us from High Context – Low Power Distance Index backgrounds is  the ability to think, to provide analytical processing and be willing to move ahead out of the box… without being told… and take risk.

This is a powerful asset yet many of us take this for granted and do not even know how useful this can be in a Low Context – High Power Distance Country like Ecuador Index.

This cultural conditioning we have can help us keep up the good effort to make us all global citizens.

It is business people like you and me… who bring cultures together through trade… who have always moved cultural evolutions along.

Earn in Ecuador… sell Ecuador real estate ads.

Learn more on how to earn with a seminar business at our International Business and Investing Seminar October 7-8-9, 2011 in North Carolina.


Earn by giving high context educational seminars in low context countries.

Online Earn With a Seminar & Tours Business Course

Learn how to earn extra income from a seminar, tour, exhibition or events business.


Delegates at a recent writer’s camp… one of the events we conduct at our North Carolina seminar center.

Many readers of this site crave freedom… and perhaps adventure.  At least they desire the ability to get out of the rat race.   They want  to travel… spend time… live… laugh or love in more than just one place… and they want the places to be ones they choose.

How can one live such a lifestyle… where a suitcase is a necessary and vital friend?

There are few people more capable of answering this question than… Merri and me.

For 44 years (from May 1968) we have been paid to travel and live exactly where we have wanted to be… because we have had an events business conducting seminars, courses and tours.

Our seminar/conference/ events business has allowed us to visit and to live almost anywhere we have chosen… or not.

Sometimes we have incredible adventures.


Here I am with Merri and an Ecuadorian Yatchak deep in the Llanganatis jungle creating a shamanic tour.

However when we want to stay at home we can also do so.  One does not have to travel to have an events business.


Here I am (in brown shirt) speaking to a delegate that we conducted at our Florida home.

We even built a…


seminar hall on Little Horse Creek so we can stay in the mountains when we desire… and still conduct events.

Here is one of the small groups at a retreat we conducted in the seminar hall.


Most owners of an events business do not do this much, however!  Lesson Two of a new course we have created called “Event – Full Business” shows how to start small and gradually build a larger events business (if that is your desire) as we have done.

We have conducted events as small as two delegates and some with over 400 so…


we know the events business inside and out… large and small. Here Merri and I are speaking to over 400 + people in Quito, Ecuador.

There are innumerable fringe benefits to an events business. For example almost all of our global travel has been tax deductible for all these years.

The pay has certainly not been bad either.  As you’ll see below, one time we earned  $142,260 in three days.  In another instance we earned over $135,000 in two days.  Once our earnings exceeded $200,000 in just three days.

Yet the income has been a small part of this adventure. The expanded horizons… the people we have met… the adventures we have shared… the tens of thousands of delegates we have enjoyed and hopefully helped…. the poor we have served… the freedom we have felt… to be able to go where we desire and come home, when we desire, with more than when we left.

These facts have dramatically enriched our lives….and we hope others.

Now we would like to help improve your lifestyle as well… if… earning with a seminar, tour events business appeals to you.

We have conducted seminars or events or spoken at them in… (alphabetical order)  Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, England, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary (before the Iron Curtain came down), Indonesia, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands,  Panama, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and at one time or another most of the United States and more.

There is a possibility that  Merri and I know more about conducting events than 99.9% of the people in the world and because so many have asked… we have finally decided to provide an online correspondence course on how to create your own seminar, tour or events business.

We call this brand new emailed correspondence course:  “Event – Full Business”.

We have completed 17 lessons and to give you a better idea about “Event – Full Business”. The Introduction Lesson is below.

I am ready to send you the Intro and Lesson #1 of “Event – Full Business” and am ready to accept your enrollment of students in our beta program.

See how to benefit from this first stage in our course development after you have studied this introduction.

“Event- Full Business” – How to Profit Conducting Seminars, Workshops & Tours

Sometime about 24 years ago…. around 1987:


Photo from

A white water symphony… harmonized in crushed octaves.  A melody amplified by nature’s power and white water sound conducted in the fresh air amphitheater that is Niagara Falls.

Merri and I walked arm and arm along the Canadian side of the falls…overwhelmed by its strength and its spectacular beauty.  We had driven from our home in North Carolina to conduct an International Investing and Business Conference… one of the largest of our own seminars that we had ever conducted…380 people.

We arrived a day early… took a suite with a large red garden tub… soaked after the long journey and then enjoyed the wonder of this natural phenomenon…Niagara Falls.

This was the day to enjoy because the next three we would be busy, very busy… with stress-of course. Marketing had shot past our expectations and this was a large crowd. We would work hard yet we would also earn approximately $142,260 for three days work. Actually more. You’ll see why below.

We have earned in many ways since then… until now… 24 + years later.

This morning a reader enrolled in our 2011 International Club allowing him to attend all the seminars we’ll conduct for the next year.

He wrote: “Hi Merri. I am looking forward to meeting you both again. Had met in Niagara in the 1980s. Thanks.”

Obviously, something we did for this client 25 years ago brought this extra business to us now.

This fact stimulated me to get on with this course which I have been outlining for some time. A seminar, conference, tour business not only creates unusual profit opportunity now… but when a seminar business is properly run, it can create income for a lifetime!

This course shows how Merri I and have created riches and a lifestyle beyond our wildest imagination and shares steps you can take to create a profitable and fun business conducting seminars, workshops conferences and tours wherever and whenever you like.  (Or perhaps you want to conduct seminars online or live or with a video sent through the internet.)

When it comes to conducting seminars, courses and tours, there are few people with more experience than Merri and me. Over 43 years we have organized, marketed and conducted thousands of tours for tens of thousands of people in dozens and dozens of countries (even behind the Iron Curtain).

This course shares how we have done this… what we did right… what we did wrong… how you can get started and what you can do much better than we have.

Here are the initial lessons in an outlined that I am writing.

#1: How to earn millions from seminars, courses and tours. See how we have earned as much as $200,000 for three days’ work. (Once $135,000 in two days.)

#2: How to build a seminar business. See the one day Washington-Atlanta-San Francisco system that helped our courses evolve and how to use this approach to help your teaching grow.

#3: When and when not to use other speakers. Seminars for speakers… a way to get it all out as your bank accounts gets it all in.

#4: How to use other speakers. Gain the key to the room and the people within. Why the golden pen is mightier than a glib tongue, the sword and the overloaded brain.

#5: Dealing with hotels/locations. Why the marketing does not talk to catering who will not communicate with accounting and the mess this could mean for you. How to choose… arrange and survive the hotel. Forget the $11,314 coffee bill… for swill.

#6: Scheduling seminars. Magic dates and times for marketing… how far in advance to market and seminar death dates to avoid.

#7: Creating a back end business. How Merri made $12,936 dollars at a seminar in 37 minutes by just standing still.

#8: Three types of courses… delegate driven… speaker driven… third party driven.

#9: The importance of strategic partnerships for added wealth.

#10: How to market seminars, courses & tours.

#11: List building.

#12: Alternative seminar and course location options.

#13: The benefits of both big seminars and small courses.

#14: How to survive the dreaded problems: What to do when enrollments are low. Handling the heckler, the takeover and the cell phone. When the hotel fails. Surviving speaker no shows and all of those types of things!

#15: How to enhance your other businesses with seminars.

We welcome you to “Event – Full Business”.

We’ll be doing all we can to help you create your riches and a lifestyle beyond your wildest dreams with an events business so your life and income can be filled by events and event full!

The first lesson will look at seminars, workshops conferences, exhibitions,tours, various events, how they differ and their strengths and weaknesses so you can begin to zero in on what would be best for you.

This is the introduction.  We invite you to become a subscriber to this new online correspondence course, “Event – Full Business”.

We’ll send you the first lessons immediately and each lesson as it is completed.  Plus we’ll ask for your input.

Never Ending Story – Save Next Year

The world is changing at an ever faster pace, so no course on business remains current for long.  Our events business evolves every year.  Consequently our courses never end… they evolve with our business.

Throughout the year we update, rewrite and expand our courses… adding new tips and share real time what we have learned and what we are still learning.  We show the changes we are making… how and why… in our business through the year.

This continual update is like an Alumni Club. Imagine attending Harvard. After graduation you stay in touch with your fellow students. You share. You help one another. You network and stay up to date. Our online business courses work in the same way so we… all our subscribers… and you,  help the courses evolve and keep pace with new ideas, new technology, innovation and changes in the market place.

So you gain more than just savings as a beta subscriber.  The extra added benefit is that you help direct the creation of the course and make it more useful from the very beginning.

Then year after year… as long as you like… you stay in touch with us, our webmaster and with the other subscribers from around the world though a special password protected site.

The first 17 lessons above are set and will be sent regularly. Your questions, comments, actions, successes and failures will help expand and direct this course over the next year.

Enroll in the online Event – Full Business course, $349 by clicking here.