CHALLENGES TO AMERICAN VALUES: Society, Business and Religion by Thomas C. Cochran

CHALLENGES TO AMERICAN VALUES: Society, Business and Religion

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Hasty, ho-hum generalizations about the state of our ""common cultural values"" by a senior American economic historian (Business in American Life, Frontiers of Change). For a couple of hundred years, Cochran says, these values--materialism, utilitarianism, anti-authoritarianism, white male supremacy, Protestant fundamentalism--encouraged economic growth and development; but since about 1850 or so they have been challenged, if not undermined, by immigration, urbanism, territorial expansion, bureaucracy, scientific skepticism, the need to deal with mass poverty and unemployment, and the like. This isn't exactly news, of course, and Cochran simply stops at the point when he ought to explain what we are supposed to do about it all. He isn't even especially clear about his own inclinations--here he seems to lament the crumbling of the old values, there to deplore their resiliency--nor, needless to say, does he think to ask whether this is in fact a very useful line of inquiry. Have such a diverse people ever really had immutable ""common cultural values""? And as for the present ""challenges"" to those alleged values, aren't they also values or the result of values? Muddy waters made muddier.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press