Pi Attitude Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion

The Special Un-Relationship

Winston Churchill jokingly called them “Two great nations separated by a common language”.

Brits and Yanks may instinctively like each other, and visit each other’s countries enthusiastically come vacation time. But does this mean that the two nations share fundamental attitudes? Pi has tested that thesis, and found it to be almost completely without foundation.

The Economist periodically makes cultural comparisons between countries, and had this to say:  “The gap between Britain and America is widest on religion. …Britain is famously a post-Christian society, and Americans are …rediscovering the faith of their fathers. Britons are more international than Americans, and keener on free trade and globalization. Instinctively polarized opinions are more visible between members of the US population, with Britons more disposed to see their fellow-citizens’ point-of-view. By contrast, only nationalism seems to unite America’s left and right”.

To pinpoint the similarities and differences, we Pi-Charted Americans and Britons, and found that they headed off in fundamentally opposing directions on way more than half of Pi’s attitudinal measurements.

The typical American professes a long-term commitment to “The American Dream”, a ‘can-do’ culture of go-getting, self-fulfillment, serious commitment to acquiring money, and getting ahead in life. The American way is to live by your religious convictions, care what people think of you, “do the right thing”, put a surprisingly high level of trust in those in authority, and leave the world beyond your shores to get on with its own affairs.

The equivalent attitudes in the UK are those of short-term thinking, restless and impulsive opportunism, with little faith or respect reserved for either earthly or heavenly authority. British conventionality means shoulder-shrugging resignation to an unchangingly unsatisfactory state of affairs. After all, what can you do?

Pi is strongly reminded of the joke about the difference between an American factory worker leaving through the factory gates on Friday night, and his British equivalent. The American watches his boss sweep by in a stretch limo, and says “Damn, one day, I’ll have a car like that”. The Brit watches his boss speed past in a Porsche, and mutters “Flash git, he should be riding a bicycle like everyone else”.

Cultural similarities? Pi doesn’t think so.

Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion Country: Multiple Geographies Product – Other