Post-Materialism is the most important philosophy that clearly explains why Western governments act the way they do. Well, maybe not the most important, but it certainly is one of the most influential. So what exactly is Post-Materialism? I’m glad that you asked. Post-Materialism is the natural progression of life which comes after the material needs of a society are met. Those natural needs of course being food, water, shelter, security and the economy in general. In fact, security and economy are the two key elements of materialism.
Post-Materialism occurs after a government can perform the essential services which they have been commissioned to perform (security and economy). Post-Materialism is concerned with the aspects of life which are not essential to life in general. Examples of Post-Materialism would include: the arts, spiritual well-being, equality, social issues, and practically any other issue that doesn’t relate to either the economy or security.
Post-Materialism is very important when trying to understand why Western governments have acted the way that they have since the 1960’s. Before the 1960’s, America and the other Western governments were primarily concerned with materialist governance (security and economy). After the 1960’s, there was a seismic shift in the American government towards Post-Materialist governance, and this can be seen by the fact that in the 1960’s, and ever since, social issues and Post-Materialist issues have taken center stage with regards to the issues that are being most discussed by politicians, and they are the issues which the government has been interfering in the most.
Post-Materialism, and why it became so prominent in the West and the United States, will be discussed in part two of this piece.