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American values

American values

Svetlana Levanova, 512 AE


It is believed that we learn our culture only through knowledge of

other cultures. That is why it is necessary to compare and analyze their

basic values and beliefs.

The most important thing to understand about American is probably

their devotion to individualism. They have been trained since very early in

their lives to consider themselves as separate individuals who are

responsible for their own situations in life and their own destinies. They

have not been trained to see themselves as members of a close-knit, tightly

interdependent family, religious group, tribe, nation, or other

collectivity. Conversely Russians find themselves part of some group. They

always have some kind of attachment, especially family relations.

Another distinctive difference is in the attitude to change and

future. Americans are generally less concerned about history and traditions

than are people from older societies. "History doesn't matter," many of

them will say. "It's the future that counts." They look ahead. People from

many other cultures, as well as Russian, have a pronounced reverence for

the past. In those cultures the future is considered to be in the hands of

fate, God, or at least the few powerful people or families dominating


Time is also of great importance in the USA. For Americans, time is a

resource, like water or coal, which can be used well or poorly. "Time is

money." Thus, Americans admire a well-organized person, one who has a

written list of things to do and a schedule for doing them. The ideal

person is punctual and considerate of other people's time. Russians are

more likely to conceive of time as something that is simply there around

them, not something they can use.

The values and beliefs that we point out as national can be found

worldwide. But what is plausible in the USA is not quite valid in Russia.

Whereas Americans value one concept, in Russia it is not paid any special


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