The American Economy-Attitudes and Opinions

By A. Dudley Ward | Go to book overview

15
Evaluation

Our effort to make some evaluation of the opinions and attitudes recorded in this study and reported substantially in the foregoing chapters must avoid scientific pretensions. Resources were not available for a study that would provide social scientists statistical data for appraising the opinions and attitudes of either the American people or the members of American Protestant churches about the relation of ethics to economic life.

What we have are (1) the responses to a set of carefully planned questions asked in individual interviews (by trained interviewers) with about five hundred working men and women, taken more or less at random (from one side or another of various blocks) in a small area of northern Illinois; and (2) reports of discussions of topics related to the central theme by about forty groups, variously constituted in thirty cities and counties well scattered over the United States, with a total membership of somewhat over five hundred and an average of about six meetings. Further details of the methods used in both the processes are given in the Preface and the Appendix.


1. THE INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS

In each chapter devoted to a topic that was included in both individual interviews and group discussions, whatever data seemed most relevant in the individual interviews have been cited first and separately.

The reader will not have been surprised that most of the respondents, asked why they worked, said they worked to earn a living -- for money as a means of meeting current fundamental needs and attaining other objectives. The other objectives included better housing, home furnishings, opportunities of children, recreation, etc. -- quite common wants. Longer-term objectives were also cited as incentives to work: saving for home ownership, for future education of children, for costs of possible illness, for support in old age. So the incentive that may thus have been cited as "money" is normally a composite of other objectives which require money as a means of realizing them.

The responses, however, included other incentives. When asked

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The American Economy-Attitudes and Opinions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgment v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Part I - Work 1
  • 1 - Why People Work 5
  • 2 - Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction in Work 16
  • 3 - Labor Unions 30
  • 4 - The Use of Leisure 38
  • 5 - Retirement from Work 51
  • 6 - The Training of Youth 54
  • 7 - Security 66
  • 8 - Status 80
  • Part II - Moral Standards and Problems 91
  • 9 - A Complex of Standards 93
  • 10 - Honesty as a Standard 104
  • 11 - The Standard of Justice 126
  • 12 - Etkcs of Spending 133
  • 13 - Freedom 144
  • 14 - Influence of Religion and the Churches 154
  • 15 - Evaluation 163
  • Appendix 1 - The Interviewers' Questionnaire 173
  • Appendix 2 - The Discussion Groups 182
  • Index 197
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