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Globalization of Values

In a variety of ways, Americans show that their values are oriented to a global context and are not limited to a narrow concept of national interest. They show nearly the same level of concern for suffering inside and outside the US.

There are strong indications that Americans' values operate in a highly global context - that their sphere of concern extends well beyond national boundaries. In PIPA's October 1999 poll, 73% agreed (44% strongly) with the statement, "I regard myself as a citizen of the world as well as a citizen of the United States." [1]

In various other questions, American have shown nearly the same level of concern for suffering outside the US as for inside the US. In PIPA’s January 2004 poll one sample was asked, "When you hear that children are hungry in some part of the US, how much does that trouble you?" Answering on a scale with zero meaning "not at all" and ten "very much," the mean answer was 8.41. When a different sample was asked the same question about "some part of the world outside of the US," the response was only modestly lower - 6.78. Separate samples also were asked how much it bothered them when they hear about "police brutality." In this case, the spread was even narrower - 7.72 inside the US, 6.33 outside the US. PIPA’s October 1999 poll found even smaller differences [2]

Concern for Suffering Inside/Outside US Graph

Also, a March 1999 Greenberg Research poll found nearly the same level of concern for wars abroad that do not involve Americans as for wars abroad in general. Sixty percent said they were interested in "wars abroad." When asked about "wars abroad not involving the US" the percentage saying they were interested was only slightly lower - 57%. [3]

As is discussed elsewhere, the tendencies toward globalization of values is apparent in the strong support for the principles of universal human rights (see "Human Rights in General"), for protecting human rights through the UN system (see "Human Rights and the UN System"), for making the promotion of human rights a priority in US foreign policy (see "Promoting Human Rights"), for requiring that when US companies operate outside the US that they be expected to abide by US labor and environmental standards even if they are not required to do so by the host country (see "Abiding by US Labor Laws When Operating Outside US" and "Abiding by US Environmental Laws When Operating Outside US"), and by the strong support for giving poor countries preferential trade treatment (see "Trading With Poor Countries").



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