Buying Bread in the Midst of a Culture Shift

Left: Professor                                Center: Student                                    Right: Gadfly

  1. Zidane, you chose to open the discussion today,
  2.    What is Inglehart’s central thesis?[i]
  3.       Please explain.
  4. The postwar era has led to a culture shift:
  5. From material priorities to postmaterial precedence.
  6. Postmaterial priorities mix:
  7. Environmentalism, feminism, and well-being,
  8. As values that are reordered to the top by society.
  9. How does Inglehart design his inquiry?
  10. He uses cross-sectional and longitudinal data,
  11. To explain the rise of new postmaterial values.
  12. These reflect an enduring, intergenerational change;
  13. Rather than a momentary manifestation.
  14. Not only is postmaterialism here to stay,
  15. But it causes a culture shift worthy of notice,
  16. By political scientists these days.
  17. When could you use his thesis,
  18.    To spawn a new hypothesis?
  19. In political behavior, partisanship, political protest,
  20. And cleavage analysis.
  21. What has Inglehart’s culture shift impacted?
  22. Attitudes towards nationalism, subjective well-being,
  23. Economic growth, NATO, and religiosity.
  24. For Inglehart researches trends of secularization,
  25. Changing attitudes on gender roles,
  26. Cognitive mobilization, and the fading of
  27. Cross-Atlantic bonds within NATO.
  28. For these all occur as postmaterialism grows;
  29. As we witness a shift in culture:
  30. Postmaterialism is the core.[ii]
  31. And the data for that?
  32. 20 years of Eurobarometer surveys are complemented,
  33. With surveys from a variety of other cultures and systems,
  34. Including China, Japan, and Eastern European nations.
  35. Thank you for the introduction Zidane.[iii]
  36. Within Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society,
  37.    There are a few paradoxes worthy of replies.
  38. First, social groups show low variance in subjective satisfaction with life,
  39.    Yet different groups are objectively much better off,
  40.       Through time.
  41. Second, it is observed that postmaterialists end up earning less,
  42.    Than the materialists’ testify.
  43. Thus we must pose: is there a cyclical process in which the children,
  44.    Of postmaterialists will return to materialism;
  45.        Do you recognize?
  46. The theory of culture shift is predicated on the fact,
  47.    That different economic societies produce different values,
  48.        For the people; as a society, turn lean; or, fat.
  49. Some wondered if the professor was again,
  50. Trying to be provocative.
  51. For generations raised under conditions of scarcity will value,
  52.    Material priorities quite high,
  53. For generations whom material needs were not so stressful,
  54.     Participation and expression define their time.
  55. There are two hypothesis in chapter 2 that you,
  56.    May use for additional research clues.
  57. An unusually quiet student read from the book:
  58. A Scarcity Hypothesis: An individual’s priorities
  59. Reflect the socioeconomic environment:
  60. One places the greatest subjective value
  61. On those things that are in relatively short supply.
  62. A Socialization Hypothesis: The relationship between
  63. Socioeconomic environment and value priorities
  64. Is not one of immediate adjustment:
  65. A substantial time lag is involved because,
  66. To a large extent, one’s basic values reflect
  67. The conditions that prevailed during
  68. One’s pre-adult years.
  69. Page 68.
  70. Thank you.
  71. Now recall that Inglehart admits that there is no
  72.    One-to-one relationship between economic levels,
  73.        And the manifestation of postmaterialist values.
  74. So to reorder, the scarcity hypothesis says that when prosperity
  75.    And food are on the table—the norm; then,
  76.       Postmaterialist values will form.
  77. In doing so, the socialization hypothesis admits that neither
  78.    The individual or society will alter their values overnight;
  79.         Rather, about every score and seven fortnights,
  80.            A new generation becomes the decision makers,
  81.                And their values are observable by sight.
  82. Andrea wondered:
  83. Does Inglehart get a lot of criticism
  84. From political scientists,
  85. Since this generational-socialization hypothesis,
  86. Is not available for same day experiments?
  87. Sure, and some is well-earned. But let me tell you a story,
  88.    That supports Inglehart’s inventory.
  89. My ex-wife grew up in communist Romania,
  90.    And every morning, at 6am, her grandfather
  91.       Would stand in line for bread.
  92. For decades this was the case—of scarcity—truly,
  93.    There was never enough for the populace.
  94. Then the revolution let in capitalism, and,
  95.     Soon there was enough bread for all—all day,
  96.       For the store at last never ran out, really,
  97.           The store had leftovers from yesterday.
  98. No matter. There he was, awaiting for the doors to open,
  99.     At 6am—for twenty more years!
  100. Andrea, here, hit a home run:
  101. And your ex-wife? Is it scarcity, or the socialization Hypothesis?
  102. Right. She shops randomly with respect to the dish,
  103.     That she will create; I assure you, delish.
  104. Heartening smiles.
  105. There is a complication within the scarcity hypothesis.
  106. For clearly my ex-wife, having grown up in terribly scarce conditions,
  107.     Is now at the opposite end of the spectrum—in America.
  108. But will our daughter not understand her mother’s parents’ norm,
  109.    And return to materialism’s dominion?
  110. What if she does not observe preceding generation’s hardships,
  111.     Or what if we never travel to less developed countries,
  112.         For her to witness material bondage?
  113. Thus if scarcity is relative rather than absolute,
  114.    My daughter’s increased prosperity may not yield,
  115.       A systematic change in values.
  116. So put that in a hypothesis and wield,
  117.    New papers to be engineered!
  118. The professor waited as the students debated.
  119. For that long decade by his memory, with her,
  120. like the Frost of Spring under the rising morning Sun,
  121. Slowly abate and fade into the Past; of the Present, discern.
  122. “Culture” and “values” in this study seem synonymous
  123.    Which vary from people to people via socialization.
  124. Now I cannot recall, class, do rational choice theorists,
  125.    Use values in addition?
  126. A student of rational choice reflected:
  127. In an earlier lecture you purported,
  128. Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments
  129. Whereas values are indeed part of a R.C. examination!
  130. More than that: Fiorina’s theory of retrospective voting, for instance,
  131.    Is predicated upon past experiences, and that of their parents,
  132.       To determine one’s voting decision.
  133. Of course, there is also reason to reject,
  134. Paradigms as scientific analysis.
  135. For Inglehart’s causal directions, as he says, are a little ambiguous.
  136.    Would someone care to come to his defense?
  137. Kroar motioned:
  138. Rational choice does aggregate,
  139.  Via methodological individualism, yet,
  140. Culture is beyond aggregation,
  141. For culture is all around and everywhere found.
  142. The scientist need only differentiate what matters:
  143. The significant webs impacting political patterns.
  144. Soon enough, the cultural prism,
  145. Will reveal cultural causal mechanisms.
  146. For example, Abbott argues that American Exceptionalism,
  147. Is a cultural phenomenon which must be incorporated,
  148. Into all American institutional-cultural analysis.[iv]
  149. And by the way—rightly so; regardless,
  150. Inglehart has earned objective praises.
  151. You had me at “significant webs impacting political patterns.”
  152. The Jerry Maguire line caught some off guard.
  153. That is interesting. But the cohort analyses is by birthday;
  154.    Not necessarily by the context of the culture embraced,
  155.      Or the decade’s life-cycle attitude replacement,
  156.          Or the period’s circumstances.
  157. Brano laughed:
  158. Like how baby-boomers are all bipolar:
  159. Nations are good or evil,
  160. People are rich or poor,
  161. States are either a democracy or,
  162. A dictatorship—of course.
  163. I mean, only a baby-boomer would suggest,
  164. “You’re either with us or for the terrorists.”
  165. The professor almost conceded,
  166. But instead to Inglehart yielded:
  167. Here lies a collective action problem:
  168.    For a random sampling of the respondents’
  169.       Experiences in their youth would strengthen
  170.          Or shake Inglehart’s aggregated variables; e.g.,
  171.             National GDP, cohort analysis—indeed;
  172.    But in America, for instance, no one wants to pay for it.
  173.       Even though it could assist in political development,
  174.           Particularly in international relations;
  175.              ‘Tis like knowing how to solve the problem of fusion,
  176.                   And then simply not having the will to do it!
  177. Everyone waited for a correction,
  178. To this outbreak and deviation.
  179. Alright class. Open the book.
  180.    Please take a moment to find,
  181.       Your favorite quote; according to,
  182.          The implications of a culture shift—
  183.              And how culture looks.
  184. During this, imagine new hypothesis!
  185. Zidane, from page 425:
  186. “The declining economics of imperialism
  187. Seem to be reinforced by an accompanying culture shift:
  188. With economic development
  189. And the rise of Postmaterialist values,
  190. People not only have less need to plunder their neighbors,
  191. But seem to be less willing to do so.”
  192. Catherine, from page 426:
  193. “The amount of territory and natural resources
  194. One controls become secondary considerations;
  195. Increasingly, the key resources are
  196. Knowledge and innovation.”
  197. Gayle, from page 3:
  198. “Each culture represents a people’s strategy for adaptation.
  199. In the long run, these strategies generally respond to
  200. Economic, technological, and political changes;
  201. Those that fail to do so are unlikely to flourish,
  202. And unlikely to be imitated by other societies.”
  203. Aaron, from page 14:
  204. Cultural factors have rarely been measured quantitatively,
  205. And remain poorly explored.”
  206. George, from page 24:
  207. “…interpersonal trust alone is not sufficient to support,
  208. Stable mass democracy.”
  209. Anthony, from page 38:
  210. “Again, we have the chicken-or-the-egg question:
  211. Does a culture of dissatisfaction and distrust
  212. Give rise to an extremist vote,
  213. Or do extremist parties produce
  214. Distrust and dissatisfaction?”
  215. Nicole, from page 45:
  216. “This political culture syndrome is tapped
  217. By three indicators:
  218. (1)    Interpersonal trust,
  219. (2)    Life satisfaction, and
  220. (3)    Support for revolutionary change
  221. (Which is negatively correlated).
  222. Jennie, from page 49:
  223. “Particularly crucial is Weber’s insight
  224. That culture is not simply an epiphenomenon
  225. Determined by economics,
  226. But an autonomous set of factors that sometimes shape
  227. Economic events as well as
  228. Being shaped by them.”
  229. Reem, from page 53:
  230. “We suggest that the Protestant Reformation
  231. Was only one case of a more general phenomenon:
  232. The breakdown of traditional cultural barriers
  233. To economic modernization.”
  234. Rob, from page 49:
  235. “In preindustrial society,
  236. To a large extent,
  237. Culture is religion.”
  238. Let’s stop here.
  239.   Please take a minute to deduce,
  240.      How to operationalize culture;
  241.         To operationalize values.
  242.       The professor sipped coffee,
  243. And after five minutes,
  244. Began to speak.
  245. Let me take a minute to rearticulate today’s book.
  246. As GDP per capita increases, people experience,
  247.     A diminishing return for material things; i.e.,
  248.       Food, cars and clothing.
  249. Instead, people develop an appetite for nonmaterial goods,
  250.     Like the environment, relationships and civic values;
  251.        Or, postmaterialist values—real personhood.
  252. Postmaterialism is nurtured through a sense of security,
  253.     In adolescence and also childhood.
  254.  Thus, these changes were thought to become enduring,
  255.     In more advanced industrial societies.
  256.  The culture shift is from the long dominant preoccupation,
  257.     With material and physical well-being; to,
  258.       Concern for quality of life, self-expression, sexual freedom,
  259.         And less formal interpersonal relations.
  260.            The latter is the “postmaterialist” syndrome.
  261. Therefore, post WWII advanced industrial nations,
  262.     Exhibit a people generation after generation,
  263.         With increasingly postmaterialist values; and,
  264.             This changes the face of the nation.

[i] This poem is an analysis of: Inglehart. 1990. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton University Press.

[ii] Defining the core is the goal. There certainly are many “core” amongst people in culture. The core of culture is thus a gateway to many additional research hypothesis.

[iii] Zidane is a character from a new book that makes me laugh heartily: Everything Under The Suns.  It is appropriate here—because, I think, it is a book written for, and by, millennials (targeting college students) [though I am Gen. X and really enjoy it!].


2 thoughts on “Buying Bread in the Midst of a Culture Shift

  1. Pingback: Learn Comparative Politics–Week 2 Reading « Political Pipeline

  2. Pingback: A Case for ‘republicanism’ Before Lincoln (an R1 APD) | Political Pipeline

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