I he publics of different societies are characterized by durable cultural orientations that have major political and economic consequences. Throughout the period from 1973 to 1987, given nationalities consistently showed rela- tive high or low levels of a "civic culture"-a coherent syndrome of personal life satisfac- tion, political satisfaction, interpersonal trust and support for the existing social order. Those societies that rank high on this syndrome are much likelier to be stable democracies than those that rank low. Economic development and cultural change are linked in a complex pattern of reciprocal influence. Originally, Protestantism may have facilitated the rise of capitalism, leading to economic development, which in turn favored the emergence of the civic culture. But in those countries that attained high levels of prosperity, there eventually emerged postmaterialist values that tended to neutralize the emphasis on economic accumulation that earlier characterized Protestant societies.
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