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Asabiyya: Re-Interpreting Value Change in Globalized Societies
Sogang University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7902-4683
Vienna University.
2009 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article reflects the renewed interest of economics and the social science discipline in value systems and religion. The World Values Survey provided a data framework of global value change, whose quantitative results led members of the economic profession, most notably, Barro, 2004 to analyze the connections between some dimensions of recent sociological religious value research (like the strength of the belief in hell) with economic growth. The present essay starts from this methodological position, and, like Barro links value systems with economic performance. The belief in or the fear of hell is part and parcel of a larger set of traditional values. With the free available country-wide data from the World Values Survey, we re-interpret Barro’s thesis in a much wider and macro-sociological framework. We further develop the well-known Inglehart/Welzel, 2003, 2003 map of global values, and develop the idea of “Asabiyya” (“social cohesion”), inherent in classic Arab historiography, first described by Ibn Khaldun (1332 to 1406) in his work “Muqaddimah,” as a counter-model to both Barro and Inglehart/Welzel, 2003, 2003. A frequently asked question is whether “modernization” without “spiritual values” in a globalized world economy and world society possible in the long run. Starting from our multivariate analysis of the World Values Survey data (principal component analysis), it is shown that rather two factors are decisive in understanding global value change: a continuum of “traditional versus secular,” and a continuum “cheating versus active society.” Asabiyya is defined then empirically by the residuals from the two factor scores. Asabiyya in the 21st Century, as a way out from the modernization trap of societies, characterized by large-scale social anomaly, is a high secularism combined with a high active society score, thus avoiding the “modernization trap” of an increasingly secular society, which accepts cheating on taxes; accepts government benefits fraud and taking bribes. This re-discovery of the “active society paradigm,” inherent in Etzioni’s sociological theory, for cross-national research on religion and economic growth also shows that the “active society” of volunteer organization work is the best societal medicine against this kind of value decay, which is so common, according to our study, in countries like France, Brazil, or most of East Central Europe and the former USSR. An active form of religious or non-religious humanism, which provides a noble motivation for such activities as volunteer social services, is a very necessary precondition for social cohesion in the 21st Century. Finally, we show on the basis of these data and with very recent IMF data and prognoses (2009) about economic growth in the world system for 2009 and 2010 that economic growth in the current world crisis is far more connected with these dimensions than with the belief in hell, as stipulated by Barro. We also control for the negative effects of Kearney’s globalization index on current and future economic growth in our equations. We conclude that not a society based on fear is needed in the first place, but an active society of volunteer social work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 39 p.
Series
IZA Discussion paper, 4459
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-24993OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-24993DiVA: diva2:755193
Available from: 2014-10-14 Created: 2014-10-14 Last updated: 2016-01-14Bibliographically approved

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