Are people more selfish than in the past?

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  1. BlissfulWriter profile image73
    BlissfulWriterposted 11 years ago

    Do you think people have become more selfish than say 50 years ago?  By selfish, I mean more concerned for own self-interest and own financial benefits, rather than thinking of the community as a whole or doing things that will give other financial benefits instead of ourselves.

    I know some of you may not have been born 50 years ago in order to make the comparison.  In that case, just think back as far as you can remember.

    1. profile image0
      Texasbetaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Without a doubt, yes. The concept of community has all but died. The neocon mentality of "everyone focus on themselves, and thus everything will work out." Remember, "Greed is good"? This came from somewhere...and there it is.

    2. Richard Sirota profile image61
      Richard Sirotaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Absolutely. The fifties were ruled by a sense of citizenship and conformity.  I remember that in the sixties even with the polarization of America begining to happen people, as a rule, comported themselves with a greater sense of virtue and civility. People still wanted to believe in the decency upon which this country was founded. Somewhere along the line; I'm not exactly sure when; society adopted the caveat "He who dies with the most toys wins." The prevailing attitude became "I got mine, you get yours" and finally "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine." "Don't like it...sue me."

  2. Shadesbreath profile image81
    Shadesbreathposted 11 years ago

    Not in the least. If you do any kind of serious reading (history, religious texts, and literature), at all, you will see in glaringly clear ways that humanity has not changed in any way whatsoever.

    Cultures and societies have pendulous arcs where one value or another get more focus, driving other urges and tendencies underground (the 50's example is an excellent example of the media creating an idealistic picture of a nation coming out of a great depression and world war), but if you can pull your historical/anthropological view back and see humanity over thousands of years rather than 20 or even 80 year chunks, you will see that this creature that we are has been exactly as it is for at least ten thousand years, and I'm convinced far longer back than that.

    1. profile image0
      Texasbetaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Very true...I was being reactionary, but in the broader sense, you are correct.

  3. knolyourself profile image60
    knolyourselfposted 11 years ago

    Human nature eternal where only fashions and technology change regardless, sixty years ago America was conservative where
    self-prohibition was the rule. The progressive influx began in the late fifties, where for instance where within the churches it began to be suggested that institutions should change in order to entice more conversion. But mainly it was the corporations that took control, the attitude being it is more profitable for them if prohibitions would not hinder
    the pursuit of material goods and the money
    to buy them.

    1. profile image0
      Texasbetaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You are clueless! The progressives began in the 50s? The corporations were on the side of progressives? LOST...coming to a theater near you. How ridiculous.

  4. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image84
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 11 years ago

    Human nature might always be wicked, but mass media in America is so absurdly corrupt, and ethnically monopolized - forever speweing the most vile and filthy garbage imaginable that I suppose that people probably ARE more greedy now.

  5. knolyourself profile image60
    knolyourselfposted 11 years ago

    "You are clueless! The progressives began in the 50s? The corporations were on the side of progressives?" That's Clute Eastwood to you. Sears and Roebuck had profit sharing. Where are all your jobs now Tex/Mex?

    1. profile image0
      Texasbetaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Cute how you ignore the statement that acted as a catalyst for your post, and move on to something else. It is a tactic you neocons use daily. That is because the facts don't jive with your ideologies.
      Let's work backwards.
      Where are all of your jobs now? Every economics textbook on the planet states that jobs are driven by consumer demand, not Presidential policy. That is a fact. The only way to dispute that is to play in the sandbox and make up an imaginary world.
      Working backwards - You appear to claim that the profit sharing of Sears and Roebuck constitutes evidence that proves that progressives began in the 50s. First of all, your logic is juvenile. Secondly, that is your definition of progressivism, profit sharing?
      Finally, you don't appear to have much substance...and I have seen better puns from a 10 yr old.
      Again I write to you: TRY HARDER. Your effort is lacking as is your logic.

  6. knolyourself profile image60
    knolyourselfposted 11 years ago

    Why Try Harder Fatboy Slim?

    1. Richard Sirota profile image61
      Richard Sirotaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Gentlemen, gentlemen, you make my point in spades. The cheap aspersians masquerading as bad puns demonstrate the breakdown of civility we now labor under and the loss of the notion of intellectual debat and the right to agree to disagree.
      To texasbeta, if consumer demand drove the formation of jobs we should be awash in them by now. In fact business and corporations drive the job market; how much of a profit they are willing to give up in order to help the greatest number of citizens and the economy. They have, for years, been unwilling to let go of one fancy rim for their Masserati of Beemer so the average Joe can just go pound sand. As I said before "He who dies with the most toys wins."

      1. profile image0
        Texasbetaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Actually, you aren't getting cause/effect. Businesses don't hire more people because they are more willing to cut into their profits. They will maximize their profits are each level, but hire according to consumer demand on their products, the least amount of workers and infrastructure to maximize their profits. People aren't buying right now...period. The middle class and lower class are, but they have less disposable income, so the impact is minor. We have allowed the concentration of the vast amount of wealth in the country to go to people who don't spend their disposable income, the super wealthy...where it sits in the markets, making more money for them, which they don't spend..and at less of a tax rate than personal income, hence the capital gains tax fight.
        However, your explanation works perfectly for the discussion of why they pass rising costs, such as regulations and lawsuits, down to consumers.
        Finally, really? I am the pun spinner? Really dude?

        1. Richard Sirota profile image61
          Richard Sirotaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Sorry Clute, my bad.  Maybe not a punster but you do seem to get an inordinate amount of kick out of running someone down, the antihesis of civility.

          1. profile image0
            Texasbetaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Usually their words show their ignorance; I just like to remind them. Yes, I get uncivil. Consider however, the frustration of debating people who invent their own definitions of words, ignore all objective evidence, and who's actions fight to take us back 100 years. True though...I love catching people making ignorant statements and harking the observation of their ignorance. I am also called the antichrist by, from that standard, I am being pretty nice.

  7. lovemychris profile image75
    lovemychrisposted 11 years ago

    I think people are more selfish.
    Not only as in stingy with money, but time too.
    I remember if a car broke down, the guys in the neighborhood used to work on it together....and fix it! and not charge anything!
    You could leave your kid with a neighbor and not expect to have to pay for it. Or always have to reciprocate.
    My gramma made the most wonderful doll clothes....for ALL our friends, not just us.
    Hungry? Here-come and eat!
    Need some money? Here--pay me back when you can.
    Need a ride...hop in!
    And I see it myself big time today.
    I need someone to watch my grandson on Sundays.....
    No one wants to give up their Sundays, or share them with a little boy.
    I know for a fact, 20 years ago--there would be a mess of people I could call.
    Now---"no-too busy","no-Sunday's my day of rest"...No--have things to do"....
    Self-Absorbed I think. Way more than we used to be.
    Stingy with time AND money! IMO

  8. Neil Sperling profile image60
    Neil Sperlingposted 11 years ago

    Selfishness is good to a point - as on an airplane when the stewardess explain how place the oxygen mask on if cabin pressure drops... they ALWAYS add make sure you place your own on first then help those beside you (even your kids second) because "what good are we to anyone else if we can not look after our own self first?"

    ...... that said - GREED and ABUSE of power and money control have gotten worse. The time for a complete change to happen to humanity is NOW. Time we went back to ZERO and re-write the way to be human..... we have lost sight of one main thing.... surely as technology has advanced, we as a race... as a breed of animal still adhere to old outdated rules and principles. We have forgotten to progress as MAN ... and have only progressed as to what we can create..... we can build a better man... from the inside out..... we have it backwards, we falsely believe that to improve man we have to improve our material things. If we are created in Gods Image - should we not be progressing to become God's ourselves?????

    good question - I believe that WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!

    1. lovemychris profile image75
      lovemychrisposted 11 years agoin reply to this


      That is exactly what president Obama said.

    2. Neil Sperling profile image60
      Neil Sperlingposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      LOL -- it was said LONG before Obama said it.

      See my hub Middle class to Zero to catch the full meaning!

  9. psycheskinner profile image85
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    No.  I think people have been basically the same for thousands of years.  We just like to think there was a golden age in the past and 'the kids these days' aren't as good as we are.

    1. Shadesbreath profile image81
      Shadesbreathposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      So true. It's so funny to read back through the last 2,000 years of literature, doesn't even matter what continent or culture, and it's always, "This is the generation that gets it." Or, "This is the generation that will see the fullfilment of the dream." Heck, even "This is the generation that XYZ prophecy comes true" even if its the end of the world type stuff.

      Every generation is and has been certain they were the ones at the heart of it based on however they cobble together the reason with whatever is going on at the time.

      But what else can we do? If we pay attention to the lessons of history going back 100,000 years, we have to accept that we are just going to pass into nothing like every single generation before us without exception ever, period. That's not fun to think about. Better to be "the generation that was there at the end" than the generation of nothing somewhere nobody thinks about anymore. So everyone keep on arguing about how this generation or the one thirty years ago, or whatever matters. You have nothing better to do anyway.

  10. ErinElise profile image60
    ErinEliseposted 11 years ago

    In my opinion, the fact that there are just so many people these days makes things like this more likely to happen. It seems like people cared more about each other back then because communities were smaller and more close-knit.  In some small communities, caring for the neighbors, helping each other out, things like that still exist.   I think people have forgotten how to be considerate of each other, neighborly has become an unknown and unfamiliar word, chivalry has gone out the window, while in blew a sense of entitlement, etc. Maybe selfishness was there all along, but with the increase in population, it becomes much more apparent.  I'm not trying to start an argument on this, I just wish consideration, courtesy, and all those nice things were more important to some people.  And, lovemychris, if we were friends and you asked me, I would happily watch your grandson on sundays for you, no problem.  : )  Have a great Sunday everyone.

  11. profile image0
    Muldanianmanposted 11 years ago

    I think in the past there was much more of a shared identity.  By and large, people believed in the same ideals, had similar family life experiences and had more in common with their neighbour than maybe is the case today.  Society is much more mixed now and splintered.  The family unit is unrecognisable now to that of 50 years ago.  Religion, does not have a part to play in people's lives to the same extent as then.  Even entertainment was a shared event, whether going to a theatre, or local dance.  Now, we shut oursleves behind doors and watch the TV or go online.  Individualism is much more evident than the community spirit of half a century ago.  A lot has been gained, but also a lot has been lost because of the change in society in that time.

  12. John Holden profile image60
    John Holdenposted 11 years ago

    Muldanianman, you'll no doubt remember that woman telling us all about 25years ago that there was no such thing as society anymore.

    1. profile image0
      Muldanianmanposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, she has a lot to answer for, although she always wore fabulous shoes and had impeccable tailoring.

      1. John Holden profile image60
        John Holdenposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        But her hairdresser did her no favours!

  13. Judi Burton profile image61
    Judi Burtonposted 11 years ago

    I think it has to do with culture. In America we are only less selfish when there is a natural disaster and everyone comes together to help. But in many countries, you walk down the street and people say hi to you... Complete strangers say, " goodmorning" and give you a nod and smile. This is not flirtation as we would perceive it here, it is a way of life. In Dominica, a very small, very poor country in the carribbean, if you say off hand, "I'm hungry", you will be given food.  This is normal in so many places around the world where common courtesy still thrives. Americans are more selfish, but that's because we have the most to hoard.

  14. dutchman1951 profile image59
    dutchman1951posted 11 years ago

    no they are as selfish, as we always were.  But, now they are more wide open and un-caring about it, because so many are doing it, and there is saftey in numbers. And those that do not usualy do that see it, and figure they do not wish to be last or over-run, so they also pipe off in retaliation, a defense mechanism sort of.

  15. recommend1 profile image61
    recommend1posted 11 years ago

    As several others have pointed out 'we' have always been as selfish etc - but now society is totally divided against itself by the media and our fat controllers, being selfish is more noticeable without friends and family to cover it up.


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