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Industrialization, Modernization and the Quality of Life

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

At issue here is the general effect of the industrialization and modernization of society on the quality of life of national populations. Evidence from both objective and subjective measures indicates that in the overwhelming majority of cases the changes associated with these social forces have meant an improved quality of life for most people in most historical periods. This is most evident on the objective indicators. So far as concerns the subjective measures, although the trends generally hold across countries, they are often contradicted by the distinctive propensities of some national populations. Within country differences on the subjective measures prove to be much less marked than one would be led to expect on the basis of common theories of stratification. Changes in the objective condition of individuals and groups are regularly reflected in short-term changes in subjectively reported satisfaction. However, there seems to be a mechanism operating which mutes these effects and leads to the differential long-term stability of reported satisfaction for any given nation.


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