Universalism values and the inclusiveness of our moral universe

  • Schwartz S
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Abstract

Inclusiveness of the moral universe refers to the breadth of the community to which people apply moral values and rules of fairness. A preliminary study establishes the values typically viewed as moral. The author indexes moral inclusiveness at the societal level by the number of value items focused on the welfare of non-in-group members that form a distinct region in a multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS), rather than intermixing with moral values that usually relate to the in-group. Three societal characteristics predict inclusiveness of the moral universe across 66 societies: cultural egalitarianism, cultural embeddedness, and level of democratization. Using representative national samples from 21 countries, the author assesses how the societal level of moral inclusiveness influences relations between individuals' universalism values and their perceptions of immigration, opposition to immigrants from different racial or ethnic groups, and participation in activities that benefit the wider society. Findings suggest that, where moral inclusiveness is high, people understand universalism (but not benevolence) values as applying to all members of society.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Moral inclusion
  • National cultures
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Universalism values

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