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28 / 07 / 2004
Ronald Inglehart: We are not moving towards a global village

The professor of political science at the University of Michigan, USA, explained his research on contemporary society values and was convinced about the survival of basic values and traditions despite the reality of globalization

More information about Globalization, identity, diversity

Ronald Inglehart, professor of political science at the University of Michigan, USA, said this morning in the Dialogue "Globalization, Identity, Diversity" that "we are not moving towards a global village, because the persistence of culture is surprising." Inglehart described the experiment and the results of the World Values Survey, an investigation that analyzes the beliefs and values at both individual and institutional levels in 80 countries, which amount to around 85 percent of the world’s population. He pointed out that "societies do not tend towards the convergence of values but quite the reverse, as diversity in values persists."

He expressed the opinion that "although the communication and information mass media are becoming globalized, basic values are retained. The external symptoms of convergence of values are evident, but diversity persists." Nevertheless he recognized that if the gap between rich and poor increases, then so will that between values systems.

He expressed the view in the session "Is there a world culture? The globalization of the media and the culture of societies”, that there are three common tendencies in present-day society: gender equality, with tolerance towards sexual diversity, good government and democracy."

In his talk he explained that, "industrialization caused the movement of traditional values towards more rational and non-religious values, whereas in the present post-industrialization era there is a movement of the values of survival toward those of self-expression, the expression of one’s own identity."

In the same way he reflected that knowledge is the main product of the present stage in society and he warned about "how easy it is to incite hatred because of cultural differences."

The director of the World Values Survey commented that, "there is a relationship between self-expression and good government, because at the moment governments must take more into account the opinions and values of society, as their actions are always going to be compared."

Also he explained that, according to his research, "the main basic values of the rich countries change very quickly and therefore they move in the same direction, while this is not the case in the poor countries.”

The Dialogue "Globalization, Identity, Diversity" will continue until 29 July at the Forum.