project WORLDVIEW worldview theme info         copyright 2009                Home         

Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Worldview Theme #21A: Populism   Worldview Theme #21B: Service to Others
Contrast Worldview Themes #21A and #20A -- these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!

Contrast Worldview Themes #21A and #22B -- these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!

Contrast Worldview Themes #21A and #36A --  these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!           

brotherhood -- an idealized situation in which people treat each other in a highly considerate way as if they were members of the same family (brothers or sisters).

communitas--intense feelings of social solidarity, community spirit, and joyful togetherness.

cooperatives principles -- These were formulated in the 1840s by a co-operative of weavers in Rochdale, Lancashire, England: 1) voluntary and open membership; 2) democratic member control; 3) members economic participation; 4) autonomy and independence; 5) provide education, training, and information 6) cooperate and work with other cooperatives; 7) concern for the community

corporate executive pay issues--According to many observers of top U.S. companies, the ratio of top corporate executive compensation to that of an ordinary private sector worker is excessively large. Based on figures compiled by the Institute for Policy Studies, in 2005 average annual CEO compensation for the top 350 American companies was $11.6 million, whereas that same year the average American worker made $28,300. Dividing the former number by the latter yields a ratio of 411 to 1.  This ratio is up from 100 to 1in 1990, and is much higher than the corresponding 11 to 1 ratio in Japan.  While some feel all such high corporate executive compensation is unjustified, many single out the outrageously high salaries, bonuses, and severance pay packages of executives who led companies which performed poorly.

demagogue--a leader who plays on popular prejudices, makes false claims, and pretends to champion the causes of common people, all in an effort to get elected and gain power

democracy -- government by the people, typically controlled by majority vote of the people as a whole, as opposed to government controlled by a particular class, group, or individual.

dividing people, tactics used to do this -- those who fear the collective strength of people who have organized and united to form a group, often seek to exploit differences within the group and destroy its populist mission. Differences exploited often include race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class -- but fracturing can occur along many potential fault lines if outsiders are working to encourage it.  After the fracturing, people who previously fully embraced populism may have moved away from it (to some extent) and toward individualism, and blame, dissension, finger-pointing, lack of trust, etc. may exist where previously they didn’t. 

economic democracy--while conceptions of it vary, this generally refers to a socioeconomic system that does some or all of the following: 1) transfers economic decision making from the (corporate elite) few to the majority through worker management / ownership of productive enterprises, 2) generally promotes democratic local / regional control over corporate state central planning, 3) charges central government with levying taxes that allow social control of investment, which is carried out locally / regionally, and 4) while retaining the market system, abolishes private ownership of productive resources, and wage labor. With respect to the latter, in worker run enterprises there are no labor costs: workers are compensated by dividing up what is left after other costs have been subtracted from sales  revenues.  With 3) and 4) in this conception, such economic democracy looks like a form of socialism. 

egalitarianism -- the belief that all human beings should have the same rights, opportunities and privileges

exclusive -- excluding others from participating. American writer, poet and populist Carl Sandburg, whose works included a 1936 book entitled The People, Yes! , when asked what word he most detested, replied, “exclusive”.

fundamentalism, the poor and social justice-- the failure of the government to do much for improving the plight of the poor has resulted in those people in many parts of the world turning instead to religious fundamentalist groups--particularly Islamic-- for help. As William Dalrymple describes it, "...much of the Islamists' success in Pakistan and elsewhere comes from their ability to portray themselves as champions of social justice, fighting Westernized elites."

individualism -- a social philosophy and belief system that places individual interests and rights above those of society , and individual freedom and independence above any social contract obligations.

jihad–an Islamic term, linked to religious duty, which seemingly has two meanings: 1) spiritual (greater) jihad: refers to striving in the way of Allah, promoting Islam, fighting injustice, and nonviolent religious struggle;     2) (lesser) jihad of the sword: holy war  against the enemies of Islam aimed at defending and expanding the Islamic state.

kinship metaphors -- examples of these abound: brotherhood, sister cities, fraternities and sororities, mother country and fatherland, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”, “Our Father who art in Heaven”, etc. All of these seek to extend the natural love or special treatment that exists between blood relatives to those who are unrelated. Evolutionary biologists explain the special treatment of kin in terms of relatives sharing many more genes than nonrelatives and that natural selection can work to insure survival of common, favored genes by promoting favored (altruistic behavior) treatment of relatives.

labor union -- an organization of workers whose purpose is to promote and advance its members’ interests with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions. The power of organized labor in America peaked in the mid 1950s when 31% of the work force belonged to either a craft or industrial labor union. By 2007 it had declined in America such that only 12 % belonged to unions, although in Canada (30%) and some Western European countries the labor movement was relatively stronger.  

multiculturalism--an orientation in which blending of cultures / cultural diversity is seen as beneficial to the larger society / nation since it creates societal cohesion.

noble savage view of human nature -- the belief that people, if they lived in a natural state away from the corrupting influence of social institutions, are fundamentally peaceful, co-operative, and altruistically concerned with each other’s well being -- not aggressively greedy, acquisitive, competitive and merely out to advance their own self interest. This view was popularized by 18th century French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau.

pluralism--a societal state in which people of diverse religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds all live together, both preserving aspects of their heritage and traditions and living together under the same national government .

populism--is related to appreciation of "the people," their heroic struggle, and their potential to unite and claim the political power that their numbers suggest they have to oust the self-serving elite who rule. The preceding can connect with either the first or both of the following and give the term two different meanings: 1) use of appropriate, persuasive language in political appeals to common people; 2) a social and political movement in which diverse groups bridge their differences and come together to work for meaningful change.

social class-- divisions amongst members of a society typically based on wealth, heredity, land owned, occupation, education, etc. that order a society in ladder fashion ( lower, middle, and upper classes are common divisions).  Extremes here have ranged from extraordinarily class conscious feudal society (remnants of which today still remain in the United Kingdom) to ideally classless communistic societies.  In the United States talk of social class and class struggle is "politically intolerable" according to historian Howard Zinn.

spirit vs. ego--according to Collier, contrasts how people feel connected vs. their feeling separate. 

trust--with respect to extending this to another person, it refers to relying on the integrity, character, and ability of that person.  The degree of that trust is in proportion to the belief and faith one has in the honesty, good intentions, and competence of the person to be trusted.

workers' rights--legal rights under relevant (labor) law and human rights, as in the UN Declaration of Human Rights articles 23 & 24, that govern workplace conditions, conditions / benefits of employment, and relations between workers and management.  Important rights here include the right to safe working conditions, right to join labor unions, expectation of fair compensation, and freedom from discrimination.  The International Labour Organization is the UN agency concerned with promoting decent working conditions.

  affirmative action -- in decision making related to offering jobs or extending other opportunities to individual applicants, preferentially favoring members of some minority group to make up for this group’s past, unjust exclusion from the chance to have certain employment, educational or other opportunities.

altruism -- putting the interests, welfare, happiness, and perhaps even survival of other people or living things above one’s own interests, etc. This devotion often involves self sacrifice. In an extreme case it can even mean giving up one’s own life so that another can live.

civics -- a social science concerned with the rights and duties of citizens

development -- the process of improving the quality of human life, especially in poor countries. Besides targeting raising people’s standard of living, increasing their freedom (in terms of choices available to them) and creating conditions allowing for the growth of their self esteem are major development goals.

empathy -- concisely it refers to “fellow feeling” , that is imagining that you are in the other person’s shoes and experiencing his or her feelings, struggles, etc.

justice -- implementing what is just, defined in various ways as being reasonable, proper, lawful, right, fair, deserved, merited, etc. For some, justice is intimately connected with fairness, a connection with three dimensions: equal treatment, the degree to which exercising freedom and liberty is to be allowed, and reward for contributing to the common good.

non-profit organizations--incorporated or legally constituted organizations which exist for educational, cultural, humanitarian, religious, charitable or other reasons without any expectations of profiting monetarily or commercially.

philanthropy--has general and specific meanings: the former referring to active efforts to promote good will and the quality of human lives, the latter referring to the giving of money, material goods, time, or energy to a charitable organization in support of specific goals or programs that help others or enrich lives.  As the twenty first century began, Americans altogether annually made nearly one-quarter of a trillion dollars in charitable contributions--over $800 / person / year.

public service, tradition of -- instead of selling their services in the private sector to the highest bidder, some people feel called to work in the public sector, perhaps even in an elected position, and to work for the government for lesser pay. There are various reasons why people might choose to do this. For some, such work is based on professional -- and perhaps family -- tradition in which one takes pride in unselfishly serving the public interest.

self actualization -- the ultimate personal development state as studied by Maslow and other psychologists. Self actualized people, according to Maslow have achieved, “the full use and exploitation of talent, capacities, potentialities, etc.” They are self confident but also possess humility that allows them to listen carefully to others and admit their ignorance. They see life more clearly than others partly due to a better understanding of themselves. With this superior perception comes a better sense of right and wrong. Among their attributes, Maslow includes “honesty and naturalness, the transcendence of selfish and personal motivations, the giving up of lower desires in favor of higher ones.” Such people feel a strong bond or kinship with the rest of humanity. They typically seek important and meaningful work.

volunteerism--the giving of one's time and energy to work on behalf of others, without any expectation of pay or real material gain.  Many volunteer simply because helping others gives them a good feeling and they like the idea of their "giving back" something to society.  Some volunteer both for that reason and to gain experience.  As the twenty first century began, over 40% of American adults were engaged in some type of volunteer work, averaging around 15 hours per month.



Back to Worldview Theme #21