Moral aspects of social tension

moral-peopleSocial tension manifests itself in people’s dissatisfaction with the existing situation. It is accompanied by the spread of negative social sentiments. As indicators of social tension, the report considers the following elements of the current social situation: satisfaction with the state of the country’s economy, satisfaction with the work of democracy in the country, satisfaction with the state of the health care system in the country, assessing the influence of immigrants on the economy, the culture of the country and the quality of life in the country. One of the reasons for social tension is the prevalence of distrust over trust in the sphere of interpersonal relations.

Among the various types of interpersonal trust, generalized trust is the trust in most people. This kind of trust has a “moral dimension”, because it is based on a person’s belief that most people share his moral values. Erik M. Uslaner, based on the analysis of the results of empirical studies, came to the conclusion that the predisposition to confidence or cautious perception of the majority of people, formed in childhood, persists in a person throughout his later life, and is almost not dependent on the positive or negative experience of his communication with others people.

Due to this feature of the generalized trust, it can be considered as the main moral factor that determines the attitude of people to the assessment of the existing social situation. The report analyzes the influence of generalized trust on the above indicators of social tension. The empirical basis of the analysis is the database of the 7th wave (2014) of the European Social Survey (ESS).

The main idea of the report is that the level of social tension in a certain country depends on the proportion of citizens who trust in most people. The lower the level of interpersonal trust in the country, the higher the values of the above indicators of social tension. These assumptions are confirmed by the results of the analysis of the European Social Survey for 2014.

Respondents who believe that caution in dealing with people will not hurt, to a greater extent than respondents who trust in most people, are not satisfied with the state of the economy and health system, the work of democracy in the country.

They are more negative about the impact of immigrants on the economy, culture and quality of life in the country. In these respondents, the share of negative answers to all questions is several times greater than among respondents who trust in most people. A comparative cross-country analysis of the data from the European Social Survey shows that there are significant differences between modernized and modernizing countries in the indicators listed above.

For example, in Denmark and Norway, respondents who trust in most people predominate over cautious respondents, while in Russia cautious respondents predominate over trusted respondents, a higher percentage of respondents who are not satisfied with the state economy, political and social spheres of life, as well as the proportion of respondents who negatively assess the impact immigrants to various spheres of life.

Reduction of the level of social tension, as the experience of other countries testifies, can occur with the modernization of all aspects of life and the improvement of the quality of life of the majority of the population of the country.

Created by Anisimov Dmitry.

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