What is a value?
A value is generally understood to be something that society has a strong belief in its goodness or otherwise. Examples of positive values are:
- Generosity etc.
Examples of negative values are:
- Injustice etc.
The criteria used to determine the value effect on society i.e, whether a value is positive or negative depends on the norms or the standards acceptable to that society. For example, killling someone for an unjustifiable verdict is strongly unacceptable to any civilized society. However, we know of some tribal societies who would be willing to take someone else's life for a trivial reason.
Now let us look at the business sector. In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s the Japanese have surpassed the western economies through use of Quality Control Circles (QCC) and Total Quality Management(TQM). The Japanese economic model of development puts emphasis on worker attitudes, his loyalty and his service to the customer. The west has been engrossed in personal accomplishments through their innovative management techniques.
Since the advent of the internet and modern means of tranportation, every economic model focuses to satisfy the customer or consumer. The result is that these economies have produced a super rich class of individuals whilst the lower tier in some of these societies live homeless on the streets pounded by the rich and powerful.
A cursory look closer to our hearts at home in Maldives reveals a disturbing situation. Prior to 1970s, we were largely living a life of subsistence dependent on fishing. We lived in a close-knit society where extended families often living under one roof contributed to each other. Community spirit of caring and giving was high. Communal harmony, social justice, love and respect for parents and for each other were distinguishing charcteristics of our society. Most of us were poor but we lived honourable lives.
After the 1970s, tourism has become our lifeline. The tourist dollar has brought prosperity with an unequitable distribution of wealth, not only creating a wider gap between the rich and the not so rich`but also harbouring deep resentment between the "haves" and the "have nots." We have given up our traditional sarongs to wear the western dress of trouser and shirt. We have given in to the urge to spend our last cent to wear the latest fashion. The number of shops packed with consumer goods is testamony of how good we are at it.
We are proud to wear "a 100 muslim nation" as a badge of convenience, though we have managed to suit a liberal lifestyle that is now under pressure to change. Sadly, a large chunk of our younger generation is caught up with addiction to substance abuse and we have not shown the resolve and the will to deal with this deadly problem through suitable medical treatment and firm legislative action.
Unknown to the present generation, Male' used to be a clean and green island with plenty of living space, beautiful gardens and homes. We have even scavanged the burial grounds of mosques disturbing the dead, before the living woke up to reclaim land for a growing society. Our ancestral homes in Male' have been divided up creating a mini urban jungle resembling sardines packed into a can.
How we ended up in this situation, the debate is raging all around us with ferocity and venom, at times unbecoming of the "100 percent muslim" tag that all of us so proudly wear.