The 2000-2001 academic year saw the release of a major publication from the Academy's Global Cultures Program. Arising from a 1999 Harvard Academy symposium, Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress was published in 2001 by Basic Books. The book is edited by Lawrence Harrison (an Academy affiliate and author of Underdevelopment is a State of Mind) and Academy Chairman Samuel Huntington.
Culture Matters examines the question of why some countries and ethnic groups are better off than others, and the role that cultural values play in driving political, economic, and social development. A distinguished group of scholars, journalists, and practitioners looks at the role of culture in developmental contexts across the globe. Among this diverse group of contributors are Francis Fukuyama, Nathan Glazer, Ronald Inglehart, Seymour Martin Lipset, Orlando Patterson, Michael Porter, Jeffrey Sachs, and Richard Shweder. Most of these contributors but not all conclude that cultural values are a powerful factor in promoting development and value change is indispensable to future progress in underdeveloped countries.
Described as "stunning" by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Culture Matters was favorably reviewed in such diverse publications as Time, The Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs. It has stimulated extensive discussion in the United States and other countries, been the subject of a long story in The New York Times, and is being translated or has been translated into seven foreign languages.