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Old 02-23-2013, 08:47 PM
 
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I was thinking that the wealthiest and most tolerant countries and societies in the world tend to have very reserved and unfriendly populations, high suicide rates, and many people who never find love throughout their lives.

Think about it - Australia, the United States (especially the North and Northwest), Canada, the Scandinavian countries, southern England, Germany, and Japan are all very wealthy, and strongly believe in equality, tolerance and human rights.

Yet there's also a coldness and unfriendliness to these places. Sure, you're less likely to get killed for what you believe in or look like, but you're also less likely to be smiled at, to have deep connections to other people, and to be helped by a stranger or extended family member if you're in a jam.

Here would be my theories as to some of the reasons why this is:

1) Wealthy societies have more of an obsession with hard work, and less of a tolerance of people who don't work hard. This means that those who work hard don't have time for relationships and those who don't will be shunned by their peers.

2) Sort of part two of part 1. The reason why people in affluent societies are less likely to give you a ride somewhere, or invite you over for dinner is probably in part because they don't empathize as much with people who are poor or under the weather. Oddly enough, the belief in the fairness, equality and justice of their society makes them less sympathetic towards the downtrodden, because they conclude they brought it upon themselves since society offers them avenues out of it.

3) The belief in tolerance and strong will to address past wrongs makes people scared to death of stepping on other's toes. Men will not ask women out or compliment them in fear of it upsetting them or them accused of sexism, people will avoid contact with other ethnic groups out of fear of offending them. People will self-censor their language and this makes it more difficult to connect with people on a deep level.

4) Individualism is often inflated into narcissism, causing people to be more self-absorbed and thus more anti-social.

5) The physical environment of these countries. Many of these countries, especially the US and Australia, are mostly car-dependent and people live far apart from each other.

6) Communities tend to be less strong and have less of an identity, so everyone is a stranger pretty much. In the past and in non-western countries, the community is like the extended family. This strong sense of place has the negative side of making people more parochial and mistrusting of outsiders, but the positive sense of people feeling more of a connection to the folks nearby.

7) Suicide is more common because of the lack of human connection, and the unrealistic expectations people have of becoming millionaires, rock stars, and so on.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:46 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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OP, in the examples you gave, with the exception of Japan, it has more to do with the Anglo-Germanic heritage, imo.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
OP, in the examples you gave, with the exception of Japan, it has more to do with the Anglo-Germanic heritage, imo.
Not necessarily imo. In the past Northern Europeans were just as warm as other people, it's just that capitalism and modernization took root first in Germany and England. There's still parts of Northern Europe where you can find this warmth, for example the southwest and north of England are at least stereotyped to be warmer and more communal than the south east.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:50 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by belmont22 View Post
1) Wealthy societies have more of an obsession with hard work, .
That's how they got wealthy. You don't get wealthy by being lazy, unless you have a lot of resources to sell off, or something.

idk, OP. Most of your examples also align with the geographic North, too.

So, you're blaming capitalism and industrialization for the reserve these nationalities display? Doesn't that contradict what you say re: parts of England not fitting the general image you drew?
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
That's how they got wealthy. You don't get wealthy by being lazy, unless you have a lot of resources to sell off, or something.

idk, OP. Most of your examples also align with the geographic North, too.

So, you're blaming capitalism and industrialization for the reserve these nationalities display? Doesn't that contradict what you say re: parts of England not fitting the general image you drew?
Well the Southwest and North of England have not been quite the powerhouse of the south east, so they would retain more of those old values.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:04 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Where's everybody else? I'd like to see others weigh in here.
I have noticed that people in the north are more friendly (and I've heard the north has a reputation for that), but I wouldn't exactly call it "warmth". Not like Latin or Slavic people. What about the Irish?
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:56 AM
 
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I don't exactly agree. Like Ruth4Truth said, most of the places stated belong to the Anglo-German culture. I am also unsure of what is meant by "more tolerant" countries but less tolerant of people who don't work hard? Scandinavia and Finland have among the highest unemployment benefits in the world, so they're not as intolerant of people who do not work very hard. Japan is certainly among the least individualistic country. Northern California is one of the friendliest places but also among the wealthiest. Southern England, Germany and Japan are not exactly car-dependent.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:01 AM
 
Location: Canada
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I think what you're describing is almost the difference between rich people and poor people. Fact is, capitalism erodes traditional social structures and ways of being, it is fundamentally a force of creative destruction and is profoundly unconservative. This is why capitalists create welfare states, because traditional cultural structures like the village, the church, even the family start to break down when a country becomes economically developed for sustained period of time and they therefore need it as a counterbalance and buffer against what the market does in a near vacuum, and as a substitute for some of the functions that disappear as these institutions diminish in prominence. Even all that acceptance and stuff you talk about, they're all cultural traits that tend to be generated by large capitalist urban areas after long periods of time. Just my two cents here.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
I think what you're describing is almost the difference between rich people and poor people. Fact is, capitalism erodes traditional social structures and ways of being, it is fundamentally a force of creative destruction and is profoundly unconservative. This is why capitalists create welfare states, because traditional cultural structures like the village, the church, even the family start to break down when a country becomes economically developed for sustained period of time and they therefore need it as a counterbalance and buffer against what the market does in a near vacuum, and as a substitute for some of the functions that disappear as these institutions diminish in prominence. Even all that acceptance and stuff you talk about, they're all cultural traits that tend to be generated by large capitalist urban areas after long periods of time. Just my two cents here.
Yes it's weird how American conservatives love capitalism so much when it's actually such a destroyer of tradition and values. I think postmodern relativism is capitalism's baby pretty much.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:08 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I think it's too hard to generalise affluent vs non-affluent, because within the affluent world you have a variety of types of cultures, varying from very reserved, like Japan and Scandinavia, to medium, like the United States, and extroverted like Spain or Italy. I think the de-valuation of human relationships for the sake of it, the dismantling of traditional support systems, as BIMBAM mentioned, and the focus on obtaining capital and material good/reward have alienated people to an extent, but things like urban layout (like you did mention), climate and culture also play their part. China and urban India, for instance, are still rather poor yet there's a sort of heartlessness about life there. Maybe it's because they are so crowded.

I think in affluent areas there might be more movement and people are less fixed, especially as places become more urban. Rural societies still have stronger community and family bonds. These are still strong in say Africa and South Asia.
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