Measuring Post-materialism in Post-Socialist Societies
According to Ronald Inglehart, countries move towards more post-materialist values as their GDP per capita increases. There are some problems with his measurement. First of all, it is hard to say whether one country is objectively more or less materialist than another. Originally, Inglehart included in his 1970 analysis only seven OECD countries, which could be said to have a common value dimension. However, when the same indicators are applied within a different culture (Eastern Europe), they could be interpreted differently by the public. Second, Inglehart admits, referring to the 1973 oil crisis, that his indicators are sensitive to short-term economic fluctuations. I argue that by Inglehart's own logic the indicators are too sensitive within the post-Socialist context right now. This sensitivity undermines the validity of his measurement. Both these difficulties pose a question whether it is at all possible to compare Western and Eastern Europe on the materialist/post-materialist continuum.
Volume (Year): 5 (2001)
Issue (Month): (March)
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