Is it good or bad to live in the western world?


In the last century the world has developed so much that we no longer need to travel by cart, horse or foot, you don’t need to gather wood and hunt to get a meal and we don’t need to wait three months for a letter from our friends or relatives that live just in the next town.  What used to take us a week of time to travel somewhere, it takes now a few hours of time and you can get a message from a friend in one second.


Development really brought us a lot of good things – the internet, heating, comfortable houses, plumbing, running water, cars, airplanes and so much more. But in all this rush did we forget about ourselves?




What is good about the western world?

Reading a media and culture theory book made me realise what is happening in our world. According to Curran and Morley’s book ( Media and Culture theory,2006) this development brought the western society advantages and disadvantages.

The western world is like we all know, about freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech. This freedom of choice means that you as a person born in a family you can choose whichever career you like and move wherever you like, have  an opinion of your own without anyone wanting to manipulate you or force you into doing things that you don’t want ( like a job or marriage).

However, as the book points out, this freedom brought a lot of responsibilities to the individual. The fact that western society promotes the individual choice means that the individual will have more responsibilities compared to non western, collective countries.




Living in a western world, how is it?

For example, let’s say you are an English person living in the UK. You have the freedom to choose the job you want, to marry whoever you want and move wherever you want. Because of this you might choose to have a job in Germany and move far from your friends and family.

While this is a good thing for your career and passion it also brings disadvantages because you will be more lonely. If you have children or you get sick you will have to manage by yourself. We all know stories of single mothers that struggle between having a job and taking care of their children.

More than that, western societies do not seem to treat their elderly fair, leaving them in old people’s houses and forgetting about them.




What if I live somewhere else?

On the other side, if you live in a non western collective country, where the family and the group is very important, let’s say China or India, if a job is offered to you in a far away place, you will have to consider leaving your family.

Because in a country like this, family relationships are very important and your family might possibly not agree, you will probably refuse the job and choose a job you don’t like just to stay close to your family. Moreover you might have to choose a career you don’t like and a husband or wife you don’t like because of the pressure of family. However, the advantage is that you will never feel alone and you will always have the comfort of your family.

Another advantage is that when you will be old, you will not be forgotten and you will still be in the middle of the family, because the elderly are seen as wise and are treated with respect.



So here is a clearer picture of it



         Western world


Non western ( India, China, Arabian countries, south American countries)  



  • Individualistic


  • Freedom of choosing your job and passion



  • Lonely living


  • Freedom of choosing partner



  • Traditions start to fade ( how many still celebrate Easter?)




  • As a pensioner you will live alone, far away from your family ( see your nephews once a year)




  • Work from morning to evening and enjoy your money in weekends



  • Have lots of money to enjoy, electronics, nice house, etc.


  • Travel the world, study abroad


  • Collective


  • Job or career pushed on (probably) by family



  • Family and friends are close


  • Arranged marriage ( ex. India)



  • Enjoy traditions




  • As a pensioner you will live with your family (sons, daughters and nephews)



  • Work less, have a break in the middle of the day to sleep and enjoy your family




  • Have less money and objects



  • Live and study in the same area


So, which world would it better to live in? Ideally I would say, a mix between them. Have your family close, but have the freedom to choose.


( Note from author- this article is not meant to offend anyone, it is a merely discussion on a culture theory book.  It is a generalised discussion and I do recognize that cultures are varied and not all individuals live their lives in the same way)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrew Moore
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 18:05:56

    I think that this entire blog is very Euro/old world centric. I live in Canada, and just like the United States the North American world is a world built upon immigration. Everyone who lives in Canada or the US, unless you are a native, moved hear and left everything they ever knew or loved about there old country.

    Thus, I think that people in North America have a different point of view when it comes to having to relocate for a career opportunity. Not to mention that in Canada, I can have a relative who lives 2 hours away and making the drive to see them regularly is not an issue. In Europe for example, if you drive for 2 hours you are in a completely different country!


    • Happy Telegram
      Jan 10, 2014 @ 10:47:51

      You are right. I haven’t visited USA or Canada yet, so I guess my blog does have a European feel.I can imagine it must be easier for someone to move for work, whereas in Europe even though overall the architecture is somewhat similar, the cultures and the language are different, if you move in a different country, it can cause culture shock or can make you feel alone, even if your country might be only one or two hours apart.While for you, you can have a relative that lives even two hours apart but still is in the same country, for me I have one friend in Italy, two cousins in Spain, friends in France, Hungary and Germany and they do miss their native countries.


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