An excellent example of paper 2 by John Simpkin - Fall 2010
Instructor note: Of particular worth in this discussion is John's highlighting that material comfort is visible and therefore has significant influence on other's judgments of us. This is demonstrative of original and integrative application of concepts.
"Whatever the human mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!" So said Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich" which, although printed in 1937, remains a hugely popular book. This one phrase sums up ideal culture and most of the U.S. values identified by sociologist Robin Williams (1), including achievement and success, individualism, activity and work, efficiency and practicality, science and technology, progress, and material comfort. Achievement and success because, as Hill implies, achievement is what bridges our work to our rewards. Once a person reaches his or her goals, rewards (often material) will follow. Individualism is necessary because what we conceive and believe must be our own, and no one else's. If others are involved in our achievements, they must be viewed as helpers or underlings, not getting any credit for our ideas. Activity and work are what are necessary for our ideas to become achievements. Even if an achievement only required minimal work, it is good for one's image to brag about the work that was involved. Efficiency can show one's innovation, and may be also be used to explain how something was carried out with less work involved. Science and technology reflect our desire to either invent new things or to utilize the latest inventions. Progress is tied to this, in that every idea should be bigger and better than its predecessor. Sometimes this is actual progress, such as a car with better gas mileage than last year's model. But we also praise people whose ideas achieve the same results as their predecessors but in what is claimed to be a better way. (We can only wonder how much better Gillette's next razor will be than their latest, top of the line model). Material comfort represents the rewards for our achievements. Once we have achieved something, then we deserve to reap the benefits.
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