By Mikael Klintman
This publication develops a groundbreaking, novel method of interpreting moral patron behaviour from the point of view of evolutionary conception, illustrating the deeply rooted potentials and bounds inside society for decreasing environmental damage.
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Extra resources for Citizen-Consumers and Evolution: Reducing Environmental Harm through Our Social Motivation
Still, in contrast to parts of the ecological and material motivation approach, although values are flexible (admittedly constrained in part by social structures and norms), the content of the four value forms is not primary to us as humans. Instead, value contents are – very important – means to satisfy the overriding level, namely the social motivation. Differently stated, the value contents constitute a secondary driving force, whereas the social motivation is the primary driving force. It may be useful, however, to repeat that whereas value content and its preferences are unfixed, such as the importance a group or society attaches to ‘environmental responsibility’, the existence of the forms of values, such as the four previously presented, are stable parts of human nature.
Krause, for instance, singles out green consumption as a potentially less environmentally harmful means to achieve social status: More so than other forms of consumption, the consumption of positional goods would be impacted by a shift in norms, as it is motivated by a quest for social prestige. Alternatively, some green products can be seen as positional goods. They usually have a cost premium and are becoming increasingly socially admired. A strengthening of this trend would not lead to less consumption per se, but could lead to the consumption of products with reduced impact.
Therefore, it is not plausible that such a trait would have developed in human nature as a trait separate from the social motivation. When we examine the human universals mapped out in various anthropological studies, we find a battery of social factors (social status struggles, collaboration, conflict, group distinctions, and so on) that are not dependent on material accumulation. Instead, material accumulation (above the essential physical needs), in many places seems to serve as means towards social status, belonging, and other parts of the social motivation, rather than as intrinsic ends.