Sunday, June 14, 2009

Declining American exceptionalism? Using the World Values Survey (WVS), I calculated mean scores for the United States on the following questions given several times over the past two decades:

How much freedom of choice and control

1982 7.4
1990 7.6
1995 7.6
1999 8.0
2006 7.6

We need larger income differences as incentives

1990 6.8
1995 5.5
1999 5.7
2006 6.1

Competition is good

1990 6.8
1995 6.8
1999 6.6
2006 6.4

A sense of freedom has perhaps gone up a bit since the early 80s. Feelings about income differences match conservative-liberal swings. In the era of Oprah and Obama, an appreciation of competition may be slipping. This is the one sign of declining Americanism.

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