MSc-IT Study Material
June 2010 Edition

Computer Science Department, University of Cape Town
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Where do Personal Values come from?

Their family and workplace may affect a person's views, but there are other areas of influence. In fact the number of such possible influences is potentially huge. Human interaction is recursive, every aspect of the way in which individuals react with those around them in turn colours the way they perceive the world, and so modifies their interaction with it. Some of these influences that shape our personal value are given below:

MARXISM: When Economics Determines Everything, Even Morality

Everything that Karl Marx (1818-83) wrote and thought stemmed from his conviction that all human activity was economically determined. Marx believed that political activity - just like religion, culture and morality - took its form from the economic system that gave it birth. And through all the centuries of human history - especially under the economic system of Western Capitalism as it operated when he was writing, in the middle decades of the 19th century - one theme stood out: class warfare and the exploitation of one class by another.

He advocated three classes: the landed aristocracy; the bourgeoisie (capitalist employing class); and the proletariat (wage earning, employed class). Because each class held a unique position in the economic system this implied their respective religion, culture and morality differed accordingly.

Activity 2: Personal Values

Ask colleagues, family and friends to identify their personal values. Can you identify any personal beliefs that differ from the ones held by your colleagues, family and friends? List these differences. How do you believe these differences may have arisen? Can you identify any universal core beliefs that are held by everyone you know, that could possibly be held by every human?