3
Achieving Societies in the Modern World

In terminological shorthand, let us refer to those societies which are developing more rapidly economically as "achieving societies." Like most attempts at brevity, the use of this term is misleading because there may be types of societal "achievement" that are in no way dependent on an expanding economy--e.g., military, political, artistic, or intellectual achievement, or perhaps even greater achievement of peace of mind. Our choice of the term has been dictated partly to avoid a long, though more accurate periphrasis, partly to reflect the association of n Achievement with this kind of social expansion, and partly to contrast such societies with the "affluent society," popularized by Galbraith ( 1958) in which the emphasis is the reverse of what it is in the achieving society--namely on slowing down production rather than speeding it up. In this chapter and the next we will concern ourselves with trying to find out whether a high level of n Achievement produces achieving societies in the economic sense, first in the modern world, and then at various times in the past.


Entrepreneurship in Preliterate Cultures

The hypothesis that n Achievement is associated with economic growth was derived from a particular historical sequence of events in Western Europe--the Protestant Reformation and the rise of capitalism. However, in its most general form it might be applied to any society at any time or place. That is, a high level of n Achievement might predispose any society to vigorous economic activity. On the other hand, it might do so only in the West, or only under certain conditions such as a degree of free-enterprise capitalism, a certain type of open social structure, or a relatively advanced level of technology. From the logical or theoretical point of view, it is difficult to decide how general the association might be, but fortunately there is an empirical method of testing the generality of the hypothesis. Anthropologists have collected enough information on a large number of preliterate cultures so that it is possible to see whether n Achievement level is a sufficiently powerful variable to predict economic development in these societies despite major variations in other factors such as type of social organization, a particular stage in a historical sequence, level of technology, or type of economy.

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The Achieving Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Explaining Economic Growth 1
  • 2 - The Achievement Motive: How it is Measured and Its Possible Economic Effects 36
  • 3 - Achieving Societies in the Modern World 63
  • 4 - Achieving Societies in the Past 107
  • 5 - Other Psychological Factors in Economic Development 159
  • 6 - Entrepreneurial Behavior 205
  • 7 - Characteristics of Entrepreneurs 259
  • 8 - The Spirit of Hermes 301
  • 9 - Sources of N Achievement 336
  • 10 - Accelerating Economic Growth 391
  • References 439
  • Appendices 451
  • Appendix I 453
  • Appendix II 461
  • Appendix III 464
  • Appendix IV 475
  • Appendix V 488
  • Appendix VI 492
  • Appendix VII 494
  • List of Tables 499
  • Index 503
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