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Values are acquired ethical principles that define one's decisions and views on social norms. The expression of views on different social principles and structures is outlined in the debate readings by the three contributors Twenge, Ho, and Johnson. In his biography of hegemony, Karen Ho expresses alarm about the domination and exclusive elitism shown by Wall Street elite investment bankers in collaboration with top Ivy League universities in their course systems, preference, career recruitments, and the potential consequences. On the other hand, Jean Twenge expresses concern over the rise of narcissism and egocentrism among the current young generation and the causative programs that have fanned high self-esteem at the expense of meaningful development. Additionally, Steven Johnson through his ant queen analogy and the city of Manchester development story alludes to the possibilities of ordered complexity, collective creativity, and self-organizing systems in the society (Johnson, 2009 p, 1222-34). From the readings, it is apparently certain that hegemony is injurious to the development of free career choices and societal growth. The undue influence on students career choices through elitist discrimination is equitable to the unfounded impact of self-worth through children self-esteem programs and in this line the duo should be subjected to natural self-organization instead of utter micromanagement and undue influence by the stakeholders.
Firstly, the cultivation of elitism and status preservation by top Wall Street companies on students from Princeton and Harvard is particularly problematic and insensitive to the development of personal interests and the exploitation of talent varieties. According to Karen Ho, the constant bombardment of students with fairy hospitality and fancy tales of investment banking and consulting as well as the elevation of their egoistic status as the smartest and only suitable for Wall Street is a misguided idea that serves little gain. Nonetheless, this practice is detrimental to one's innate desires and career prospects and just helps to protect exterior self-image at the expense of self-accomplishment and development. Ho appreciates the lack of inclusivity and the accompanying segregation and alumni favoritism (Lai, 2010 p, 788-790) Furthermore, the unconditional recruitment of new professionals from these ivy league universities at the expense of other institutions cultivates a false sense of self-worth and segregative elitism.
Also, the impacts of overexploitation of self-importance at the expense of real development is further exemplified in Jean Twenge's discussions on the development of the 'self' culture in the 'Generation Me.' In his assessment, through the recent years, major efforts have been employed in the improvement of children's self-esteem both at home and school. In his argument, the over application of these programs has led to a myriad of consequences including the development of a false sense of self-worth and narcissism. According to him, children are trained to believe in themselves at whatever cost through interactive programs and grades inflation. Evidently, these children have been observed to grow a tendency towards narcissism and intolerance to criticism as well as decreased achievement. The programs developed to foster high self-esteem have unfortunately reduced interpersonal empathy and compromised relations both at work and at personal levels such as marriages and peer interactions (Twenge, 2014 p, 8-21).
Additionally, the two discussions shine a light on the existence of destructive systems of personal and social development which Steven Johnson attempts to introduce a solution to in this debate. In his comparable experience at the behavioral ecology laboratory, Johnson explains the awe in ant colony organization despite a lack of centralized control. He interestingly indicates that despite the lack of undue influence from the ant queen, the ants contain a sense of order and organization in their work. The idea of organized complexity and self-organizing systems is brought out. He further analogizes the development of the city of Manchester in the early 80's and the precise appearance of orderliness in the pandemonium. Most importantly he introduces the idea of a bottom to top learning in the development of intelligence to produce the optimum results (Johnson, 2009 p, 1222-34).
Furthermore, Johnson's proposition of achieving optimum results is premised on the view that nature works optimally in decentralized complex systems. In my opinion, the achievement of social advancement as in the cases of Ivy League elitism and self-esteem concerns can be addressed through the elimination of undue centralized influence and top to bottom influence on ordinary intelligence regarding the issues (Johnson, 2009 p, 1222-34). The over-application of control and impact on children self-appreciation may be a futile endeavor that leads to psychosocial maladjustment which hampers interpersonal relations. Evidently, it also leads to the reduced development of necessary knowledge and skills as well as a false interpretation of the real world. Likewise, the selective recruitment from Ivy League top universities by wall street big-wigs mainly serves to inculcate an egocentric view of one's status by attending a particular institution without a proper analysis of one's competencies, interests, and position in society. This elevated sense of self-worth and elitism not only serves to discriminate against other people but also prevents the individual from exploiting his talents and competencies in different fields of the economy. However, this is particularly anti-social as Ho remarks in her experience at the Goldman Sach's printing room.
Additionally, in their critiques, Ho and Twenge express dissatisfaction with the state of elitist and egocentric tendencies in the American educational system at various levels of work and society. Of particular concern is the perpetuation of these values by established and main-stream national institutions, policies and programs. The link between these cultural value systems and development of exclusivism and narcissism is also directly relatable as brought out by the two discussions.
Values inform the social practices, habits, and behaviors of people. More importantly, values are developed in a continuum through interactions with people and education. In today's modern society such values are acquired mainly through education and communication both at work and at home. In this crucial development of values, the influence of programs such as self-esteem programs in children and selective recruitment is significant. As such, it directly influences the development of social and cognitive intolerance in the form of racism, patriarchies, and narcissism (Lai, 2010 p, 788-790). According to Karen Ho, the Wall Street investment banking and consulting fraternity were mainly composed of white male employees with only a small number of women and other races such as Black. He remarkably laments that a black woman was rarely found there.
Self-esteem is viewed as the self-regard concerning one's abilities or worth. If exhibited in moderation self-esteem can improve the productivity of a person through better capacity of expression and enhanced motivation in one's duties. However, when it is expressed radically, it can lead to narcissism which negatively affects interpersonal interactions among peers and colleagues. As illustrated by Jean Twenge, this unfavorable outcome can be as a result of an honest endeavor by established programs which are aimed at the good intentions of improving self-esteem and morale in children's education and social life without sensitivity to other competing interests.
However, these programs have resulted in the development of misery due to their extreme application in schools. The exploitation of high self-esteem benefits at the expense of improving capacity and educational ability in children through grade inflations and excessive self-praise has watered down capacity for work and work relations. According to Twenge, a majority of GenerationMe individuals have exhibited exuberant confidence and satisfaction in themselves in conjunction with increased self-worth and egocentrism (Twenge, 2014 p, 8-21). Compared to the Babyboomers, GenerationMe individuals are superficially happier in themselves although Twenge remarks that they are more miserable.
It is therefore evident that the values present in an individual are as a result of their interaction with systems and cultures, primarily through education and training. The ideas that society presents to individuals especially in formalized institutions are therefore essential sources of values which later manifests in various behaviors, practices, and habits. In this regard, it is essential to evaluate the quality and results of experiences imparted to school children and adult students. In developing the way forward, bottom to top decentralized systems is the most appropriate as compared to the present day centralized and ill-researched top to bottom policies (Johnson, 2009 p, 1222-34). This best practice can be implemented through borrowing some ideas from Steve Johnson's discussion on decentralized systems.
In Steve's Myth of the Ant Queen, possible solutions are raised. These solutions can inform a better organization of institutions towards values development and students' behavioral conduct and practices. Children's educational system should employ tactics that promote self-esteem but with a caution against possible narcissist tendencies and maintenance of capacity building through learning. The teachers should be trained to offer moderated, and targeted self-esteem programs through observation of prevailing conditions and need as proposed by Johnson in his bottom to top strategy. According to this approach, the needs of the students should be understood and inform the policies and programs adopted instead of the students having to comply with programs that are not necessarily sensitive to their subtle needs and situations. The theory of self-organization can be utilized in the observation of the gaps in values and the best ways to address them. Due to the critical nature of values development, excessive control over what the students believe in is counter-productive and should not be encouraged (Johnson, 2009 p, 1222-34). Through value ethics, individuals and institutions can practice better codes of conduct which improve their relationships and fulfillment in education and employment. In this regard, recruitments should be inclusive and bound upon merit as opposed to exclusive recruitments.
Thus, values should be promoted in the best way possible through programs and measures especially in our institutions of learning. This can be achieved through mild administration of relevant programs and the provision of means that do not breed adverse outcomes in the value cadres of the target population. In doing so, the value development process and results are optimally managed in a way that does not compromise other facets of interpersonal associations and work relations.
Johnson, Steven. "The Myth of the Ant Queen." Science Fiction: Stories and Contexts (2009): 1222-34.
Lai, Karen. Liquidated: An ethnography of Wall Street Karen Ho. (2010): 788-790. Durham and
London: Duke University Press.
Twenge, Jean M. Generation me-revised and updated: Why today's young Americans are more
confident, assertive, entitled--and more miserable than ever before. Simon and Schuster, 2014:
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