The system of us values is not always consistent with

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The system of US values is not always consistent with behavior The values themselves are not always consistent Success (Individual Achievement) The highly valued individual in US society is the self-made person, the person who has achieved money and status through personal efforts in a highly competitive system Economic success is often used to measure personal worth There is evidence that today’s parents are putting more and more pressure on their children to succeed Competition Competition is highly valued in US society Competition pervades almost all aspects of US society Most people believe it is the one quality that has made the US great because it motivates individuals and groups to be discontent with the status quo and with being second best
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An important consequence of this emphasis on the survival of the fittest is that some people take advantage of their fellows to compete successfully In sum, while competition can be motivating and have positive consequences, competition can also foster unhealthy behaviors and a “winning at all costs” attitude that can cause other societal problems Work North Americans have elevated people who were industrious and denigrate those who were not Therefore, most north americans assume that poor people deserve to be poor because they are allegedly unwilling to work as hard as people in the middle and upper classes This type of explanation places the blame on the victim rather than on the social system that systematically thwarts efforts by the poor Progress Societies differ in their emphasis on the past, the present, and the future US society place a central value on progress The commonly held value of progress has also had a negative effect on contemporary life in the US Progress is typically defined to mean either growth or new technology Progress also means faith in technology But new technology often creates problems that were unanticipated Latent functions: unintended consequences Manifest functions: intended consequences of an activity or social argument Material Progress A belief of people in the US holds that work pays off The payoff is not only success in one’s profession but also in economic terms And these acquisitions have more than symbolic value because they are elements of what people in the US consider the good life and, therefore, a right Individual Freedom North Americans value individualism They believe that people should generally be free from government interference in their lives and businesses and free to make their own choices Implied in this value is the responsibility of each individual for personal development The focus on individualism places responsibility on the individual for his or her acts - not on society or its institutions Individual freedom is, of course, related to capitalism and private property
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