2017-04-02 18:33:36 UTC
Islam. Clearly it's not the case that Islam itself is hostile to science;
after all, for hundreds of years, the Islamic world was the standard-bearer
for world scientific knowledge and progress. Yet, education in many Muslim
countries consists primarily of religious rather than scientific programs,
and those who do get quality educations in the west tend to remain overseas.
-- Women as second-class citizens. It's not just that women can't contribute
directly to the workforce (although that's a big factor), but that women
aren't educated to the same standard, and thus aren't able to raise children
to be scientists and engineers as effectively. This is one area where great
progress has been made, but there's a generational lag.
-- Geopolitical instability. In general, lack of stability doesn't lead
people to make long-term investments in the future. If you're worried the
world is going to end, you're going to enjoy life now (to the extent
possible), not sacrifice a lot to potentially have a better future. A high
level of fatalism and lack of feeling of agency has never helped
-- Antiquated legal environment (largely based on old UK law without update,
merged with Sharia), and not really compatible with modern business. Setting
up a business takes a long time, requires local partners, etc. - not a free
market. There are efforts to have different law for some countries (the
Dubai free trade zones are great examples -- Jebel Ali in the 70s was
probably the first major development of its kind), but the law outside
business still needs revision.
-- Corruption. It's a combination of an inefficient official process and a
small number of wealthy and powerful families, able to either change the law
as needed, or ignore it. If you ever get into a dispute with a local
national, you're going to lose. If local nationals of different levels of
power get into a dispute, it's usually decided on the basis of connections,
vs. the merits of the case.
-- High cost of failure. If someone launches a new business and it fails,
there's a high degree of shame and loss of social standing, but even worse,
potential prison time for any debts personally guaranteed. Compare this to
Silicon Valley where an entrepreneur with a few failed businesses is
generally viewed as experienced.