New social attitudes detected in research

A major change in social attitudes towards individual values took place in Finland in 1999. This change is used to explain the collapse of voting activity in recent local elections. According to this theory, the political parties ignored the part of population which has grown fastest. These people are described as experimentors by MDC Risc International, a company which specialises in researching values and changes in attitudes.

According to a report in the regional daily Aamulehti (24 October 2000), the greatest change in Finnish attitudes in 20 years took place during 1999-2000. Finland moved from a world of values emphasising communality and stability to an atmosphere conducive to individuality and change.

This was especially noticable in the growth of the group described as experimentors. Their share amongst the population grew four per cent units to 13.3 per cent. In actual numbers this means 334,000 Finns. According to Ilkka Halava, Managing Director of Risc, it is highly probable that among these people the reluctance to vote was highest.

The experimentors are mobile, individualistically minded, achievement-orientated people who are also under stress. They are busy in many fields of life. They tend to easily change the party they vote for. In advertising language, they are the least brand-loyal people.

"It is typical of experimentors to not to try to influence a system. Instead, they try to optimise their own life situation inside the system", Halava says.

When these people act, they want individualistic, concrete and dialogue-based methods. It is not enough for them to make contact with politicians. They must be able to make personal initiatives. If these methods aren't available, the experimentors will disappear. They lose interest in environmental values. In the past they have recycled waste, used catalysers in their cars and bioenergy in their summer cottages. Now they tend to worry less.

According to Risc, currently rising values have to do with family, peace and calm. They aren't, however, susceptible to old-fashioned talk about family values. They see family values promoted by politicians as something which don't exist in reality and thus aren't really meaningful.

See also:

"Would inefficiency create more happiness?"

23 June 2000




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