Beliefs and ValuesHow they are Shaped Hserv 482 # 17 2008
Agenda • Values in USA • education? • business of the commercial media? • function of the media in a democratic society? • Shaping individualistic values in the USA • Alex Carey's summary of the 20th century
US beliefs, values • We're NUMBER ONE, above reproach, moral authority • History: pilgrims escaping oppression • Did not want government to rule their lives • Pride in individualism, and ability to pull selves up by bootstraps • Took care of our own • Founding fathers:SMALL WEAK GOVERNMENT • Federalism (national, state and local gov'ts) • Legislative, Judicial and Executive • Vote limited to those with property
US beliefs, values • Non-proportional representation (unlike any parliamentary democracy) • Bicameral Congress (Senate has power) • Weak political parties • Individual candidates raise own funding, make own decisions, run own campaigns • Candidates communicate through media, not through party organs • 20th century deliberate weakening of gov't • 1920s progressive movement,attacking politically powerful and corporations • Constitution amendments for women's suffrage and direct election of senators
US beliefs, values • 20th century direct primary elections took power from hands of party leaders • Presidential nominating conventions became meaningless as candidates chosen in primaries • Campaigns became more candidate and less party-centered • Polyarchy: • Party doesn't vote together as in other countries • Public Policy: federal, state, local (cf Europe) • medical care • transportation utilities • welfare • early life • housing
US beliefs, values • Little gov't regulation, instead have day in court • Litigious 1990: 20 times # lawyers/cap as Japan, 10 times as Sweden, 3 times as Germany • Tort costs 2.3% of GDP in 1991 cf 1.2% for Germany, 0.9% France, Canada, Australia, 0.7% for Japan, 0.6% for UK • "There is hardly a political question in the US which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one" Tocqueville
US beliefs, values • Public Sector (federal, state, local) %GDP 1995 (including the military) US 33% UK 43% Germany 50% Denmark 61% Sweden 66% 50% for all EU countries, and without US military gap would be even bigger • Tax Receipts 1995 % GDP US 31, EU 45, UK 38, Sweden 58
US beliefs, values • Individualism, goals, advancement NOT community goals or public advancement • Liberty (but 1/4 world's prisoners) • Equality of opportunity (not there, but belief is) Poorer people are not able to compete
US beliefs WHY? • Migrants seeking escape, economic advancement • Never had a democratic socialist movement • US states with own power to tax & spend resist national initiatives • Labor unions only interested in their own and not for ambitious welfare state as in Europe • Frontier "land of opportunity," could always go west • WWII disrupted US much less than Europe
Source: Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data in Economic Policy Institute, The State of Working America 1994-95 (M.E. Sharpe: 1994) p. 37.
US INCOME SHARES Picketty & Saez + Johnston Free lunch
Source: Congressional Budget Office, Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979 to 2004, Table 1C, December 2006.
Beliefs, values in the USA?How are they shaped?HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM BELIEFS AND VALUES IN OTHER COUNTRIES?
Beliefs, values in the USA?How are they shaped?How are they different from beliefs and values in other countries?HOW MIGHT WE STUDY THIS?
Values/Policies Across Countries • Values, policies, well-being of young children in Canada, Norway, US. Shelley Phipps • data from World Values Survey 1990
Beliefs in equality WB2005 World Development Report 2006 Fig 4.2 Ingelhart World Values Survey representative samples of 69 countries
Belief that Luck Determines Income and Welfare Spending Source ALESINA Fighting Poverty in US & Europe 2004
Redistribution and the Belief that Poverty is Society's Fault Source ALESINA Fighting Poverty in US & Europe 2004
Whoever tells the stories of a nation need not care who makes its laws. Andrew Fletcher Scotch Patriot 1653-1716 NATION BULDING Reasons for nation state concept?? French invention of chair in 1490
Individualistic Values • Health synonymous with health care • Individuals, diseases • Individual response • Self-help culture
Individualistic Values • Health synonymous with health care • Individuals, diseases • Individual response • Self-help culture • Sports and glorification of gladiators • Verification of logic of opportunity syllogism
CULTURE OF FEAR • "It is always simply a matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." • Herman Goering • Hitler's propaganda chief said to Gustav Gilbert during an Easter recess in the Nuremberg Trials on April 18, 1946
CULTURE OF FEAR • "The short answer to why Americans harbor so many misbegotten fears is that imminent power and money await those who tap into our moral insecurities and supply us with symbolic substitutes. • (Barry Glassner) The Culture of Fear pg xxviii • Oderint dum metuant: • let them hate so long as they fear (Roman maxim)
"The events of September 11, 2001, fundamentally changed the context for relations between the United States and other main centers of global power, and opened vast, new opportunities."http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nssall.html
"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have." Richard Salant, former President of CBS News
'I know the secret of making the average American believe anything I want him to. Just let me control television.... You put something on the television and it becomes reality. If the world outside the TV set contradicts the images, people start trying to change the world to make it like the TV set images.....' Hal Becker, media 'expert' and management consultant, the Futures Group, in an interview in 1981