Members in the Media
From: The Atlantic

Chicken Littles Are Ruining America

Sometime around 1970, the American personality changed. In prior decades, people tended to define themselves according to the social roles they played: I’m a farmer, teacher, housewife, priest. But then a more individualistic culture took over. The University of Michigan psychologist Joseph Veroff and his colleagues compared national surveys conducted in 1957 and 1976 and found a significant shift in people’s self-definition: A communal, “socially integrated” mindset was being replaced with a “personal or individuated” mindset. The right-wing version of this individualism (which emphasized economic freedom) and the left-wing version (which emphasized lifestyle freedom) were different, but it was individual freedom all the way down. This culture of expressive individualism hit a kind of apotheosis with a 1997 cover story in Fast Company headlined “The Brand Called You,” in which Tom Peters, the leading management guru of the day, declared that “we are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.”

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