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Account for the growth of post material values in western Europe and asses the consequences of their development.

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Introduction

Account for the growth of post material values in western Europe and asses the consequences of their development Post-material values have been a prominent characteristic of the West European political climate for a period stretching beyond the previous decade. The cultural ascendancy of post-materialism has been evident more so in Western Europe than anywhere else and its impact more profound in some European countries, for e.g. Germany than lets say Britain. Several arguments and theories have been developed to explain why this may be. One basic point to look at is the concept of political socialization which breeds value change. In this case the values of the current generation who have helped carry the post materialistic values to the forefront of politics. Values denote a partiality for certain persona and social goals and also some kind of a method to achieve them. Therefore any change in the value system of people will be contagion on the way our society perceives and reacts to particular events. By political socialization we mean the process by which people learn political values; as in this case post materialistic values. ...read more.

Middle

Also the process of socialization is not without influences from religious teachings, peers and what social class they identify with. The second strand of Ingelhart's hypothesis is value change. He suggests that individuals are motivated by the opportunity to own something that is in scarce supply. That is when something is in short supply its value is enhanced making it more attractive to those who don't have it. If the supply increases to satisfy the demand for the good then over time the object will come to be taken for granted, for e.g. up till recently everyone took petrol for granted. However, during the strike the quantity of petrol allowed per individual was limited to 15 liters. Following the strike drivers were much more eager to stock up, panic buying incase of a second strike. So according to Ingelhart our values correlate with our economic situation. The better the state of the economy the more likely we are to acknowledge post material issues. Another approach pioneered by Maslow is the hierarchical order to individuals needs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Only the industrial advance countries have the sort of major political activity which has it roots in post material values. The growth in post material values have had a profound impact on the society and the political climate. Post material values are a catalyst for many individuals to be more actively involved in the political process, which directly or indirectly effects them. Post materialist are therefore more likely to be involved in the process of decision making than others who are more materialist, also the former are more like to attempt to translate their interest into political movements. The consequences of post materialism are evident even outside the political arena, for e.g. at the work place, employees have many more rights and greater say and influence in daily operations. Job satisfaction is now considered just as much important as any monetary rewards associated with the job itself. Individuals are also much more likely to be involved with strike action to support a colleague's claims for better pay or improved working environment. However, this may not have been the case if the economy was facing a downturn. ...read more.

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