Notes from the Field: Changing Global Values in the 21st Century

November 2007 / Notes from the Field

Alan Tonkin, Figure 1Alan TonkinIn looking forward into the 21st Century there is no doubt that changing values on issues such as the environment and global warming, the issue of providing clean energy and global terrorism are providing very different responses around the globe.

In the developed OECD countries there is a rapidly emerging awareness of the urgency to provide integrated solutions to these issues. However, in the developing world, including China and India, the thrust is on economic growth and providing jobs for those who in their populations who need to be brought into the formal economy.

Why are there Major Differences in Approach?

In the developed world the large majority of the population are seeing ever increasing improvements in their “quality of life” although they also see the dangers of terrorism, climate change and other related issues. The population of the developed world are also well educated in relative terms and are able to access the internet and keep appraised of global issues. In addition, the media is able to raise issues of importance for wider public debate thus providing an opportunity for generally good governance in both the public and private sectors of the developed global economy.

By comparison the developing world operates from a very different perspective with many countries claiming to be democratic but being in effect“one party states” with no real pressure being able to be applied by opposition parties. This allows for government pressure on the media as well as a lower level of open political debate. In addition, the issue of governance is not seen to be of the same level of importance as in the developed world. This allows for more corruption and the emergence of “elites” who become particularly powerful in both the political and business arenas.

In order to assess the reasons for these differences it is important to consider an issue that is often neglected in terms of how countries and organisations behave. This is the issue of “values” which impacts directly on how we all as global citizens see the world from a personal as well as a national perspective.

How Values Influence our Key Decisions

In order to better understand how values influence us all it is necessary to break these down into a number of different levels as described by Dr Don Beck in the work carried out by him, following the original research by Dr Clare Graves in the 1950’s and 60’s at Union College in New York. Clare Graves developed an elegant theory based on an open ended systems approach having eight levels of values as described below.

Don Beck has been involved in developing and refining the original Graves research over the last 30+ years and has field tested this technology around the world from South Africa to Europe and the United States as well as many parts of the developing world including Brazil, the Philippines, India and China. In addition, the research closely correlates with other information collected separately which considers the world from a number of very different perspectives. We will revisit this information at a later stage of this article under an analysis of “failed states” and the issues of regional conflict and poor governance in various countries and regions around the globe.

Global Values and How to Identify These

The differing values levels as identified by Dr Clare Graves and Dr Don Beck broadly fall into the following categories as shown in the graphic below from the book by Don Beck and Graham Linscott “The Crucible: Forging South Africa’s Future” published in October, 1991 and recently reprinted:

Alan Tonkin Figure 2

Broadly the levels in The Psychological Map can best be described as follows:

Survival Values (AN):
This values system depends on “staying alive” and finding the next meal. This includes people in both the developed and developing countries who operate at this level of existence. Examples in developed countries are “street people” with developing countries including those who forage on rubbish tips as well as those who live in very isolated areas. 7% of current global population from a global total of 6.5 billion or 455 million people.
Tribal Values (BO):
At the level of the tribe it is the Chief and elders who will broadly decide which direction the tribe should take. However, due to tribes generally operating at a local level, values will largely focus on local and not global issues. There are many examples of this value system around the world from Afghanistan, the tribal areas of Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and many parts of Africa. 12% of global mix or 780 million.
Power Values (CP):
At the power level this often means the dictator or warlord being able to leverage power to his or their own advantage. This is particularly the case in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma and Zimbabwe. 20% or 1.3 billion people out of 6.5 billion.
Order & Stability Values (DQ):
At this level those “in charge” will generally decide what is good or not good for the broader community or country. This can result in innovation being stifled as the leadership may see other issues being of significantly more importance. This is currently the case in countries such as China and Russia. Singapore was a previous example of this values level. 30% or 1.95 billion people.
Enterprise Values (ER):
“Getting ahead” is a particularly important issue for countries and individuals at this level of existence. This also applies to those individuals and organisations in developing countries who may be part of a business or political elite as well as the developed world. 25% or 1.625 billion people.
Ecological “Green” Values (FS):
Here “the group of equals” is an important part of the decision making process. In many cases the group may employ an “all or nothing” approach which can be very slow and often self defeating for the group as a whole. However, as more organisations and developed countries move into this level, practical real world initiatives to effect positive change are becoming more evident globally. 3% or 195 million.
Integrated Values (GT):
It is only at this level that a clear understanding of the need to integrate the requirements of all the other groups and values comes through. We are starting to see more and more individuals, organisations and governments taking serious steps to use innovative ways to get the global balance right in many areas. 2% of total or 130 million.
Kosmic Values (HU):
The eighth level is really not important at this stage as only a small fraction of individuals currently fall into this group, which is therefore still relatively insignificant. In addition, the “critical mass” fit well below this level from Orange Enterprise down. – 1% or significantly less than 63 million of the approximate 6.5 billion global total.

The above examples provide a broad outline of what to expect when the core values fall into a particular area. However, it is important to realise that most countries have a fairly wide values spectrum covering at least three or more values levels. There will however, be one or two levels that will represent the “core values” of the nation as exhibited to the wider world in terms of their actions and how these overlap.

Alan Tonkin Figure 3

The graphic shown above by Dr Don Beck shows how differing values are broadly distributed globally as well as the appropriate type of governance system which it is suggested should be employed. One of the “blind spots” that the OECD developed countries have is that there is a wide expectation that developing countries need Western style democracy. This has proven to be false in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries around the world. Countries with predominantly Tribal Purple and Power Red require strong Blue Order for them to be able to move forward. This was the case in Europe in the 17th Century and is also true for many countries today.

In looking at the graph below taken from “The Crucible” by Don Beck and Graham Linscott, it becomes clear that developing countries like South Africa carry a heavy Purple Tribal and Red Power bulge. There is however, a second set of values with Blue Order and Orange Enterprise having sufficient “critical mass” to move the whole society forward. This is purely a “values issue” not one of race, which is often confusing for commentators who use the race card at every opportunity. It is also the reason why Sub-Saharan Africa has not moved forward as there is not sufficient “critical mass” of Blue Order and Orange Enterprise in many of the societies involved.

Even the EU and USA have different centres of gravity with the US being centred in Orange Enterprise and the EU tending more towards Ecological “Green” values. The one exception in the EU is the United Kingdom, which tends more towards the US profile. This also helps explain why the UK is a strong ally of the US globally.

Some Global Values Profiles

global values

Generally, the newly developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and India carry a wider spread of values than the developed world (see graphic above). This is both an advantage and disadvantage depending on how the values issue is managed both internally and externally in both the short and longer term. At one level it is an advantage, as it enables a better understanding of how to manage a wider values spectrum. It may also be a disadvantage as there may not be sufficient “critical mass” to move things in the right strategic direction within the country in the short to medium term.

Failed States and Their Influence on the Development of Global Values

We can best illustrate this by using the latest map below showing the “Failed States Index 2007” produced by Foreign Policy Magazine and the Fund for Peace. More information is available direct from

Values Profiles

In looking at the map it is clear that the critical areas of the world include the Middle East, large parts of Africa, Afghanistan, Burma and Columbia. It is interesting to note that the map was issued quite some time before the recent crises in Burma. Failed states generally fall into the lower three values levels or “Low Road” scenario ranging from Survival as in Somalia to Power Values as in Burma and Zimbabwe.

This is also the view put forward by Thomas Barnett in “ The Pentagon’s New Map: Blueprint for Action” his recent book on the topic of global security and conflict published in 2005. Barnett talks about Core, Seam and Gap states and his map is almost identical to the Failed States Index 2007 but from a different perspective.

It is important to note that under times of crises, countries and individuals often downshift or upshift like a Formula 1 racing car. One must therefore, not assume that in the short to medium term only forward movement will take place as regression or a move “back to the past” is often the first instinctive reaction under stress, both at the individual and national levels.

What is required for developing countries is a systemic step by step move from one values level to the next. It has been clearly shown through practical experience that you cannot try to miss out a level.

Once countries emerge into the state of positive Order and Stability they are on the way to the “High Road” scenario. This is clearly shown on the map above and correlates well with the Graves and Beck “values approach” explained above. It is important to note that there will be “Failed States” as long as there are countries with the lower values levels as their predominant “core values.”

Some Overall Conclusions

In considering the above it is clear that we will continue to stumble from one crises to the next as a global community unless we realise the influence that values play in our daily lives. The decisions we make as individuals and countries ultimately play out on the global stage, very much like the systems effect of the wings of a butterfly.

In linking values to global competitiveness the graphic shown below provides an interesting picture of progress of a number of countries over time. The graphic was adapted from the World Competitiveness Report produced by IMD in Switzerland in 1992 and updated by GVN in 2002.

Failed States 2007

From the graphic it is clear that socio-economic and political progress for the developed economies has been a long journey over time. Therefore, based on this fact, should the role of the developed economies in the 21st Century not be to assist in moving the less developed countries forward along a similar but steeper path?

How can we as citizens in our “Global Village” effect 21st Century change in a positive way, while at the same time respecting the global traditions of the past? In addition, how does the developed world assist those countries who are willing and able to make the next values transition, to do so?

We believe there is a way but this means being able to see the world through multi-coloured lenses in order to appreciate and manage at the various values levels simultaneously. This includes all areas from “appropriate” democratic values to the environment, with this now generally being identified as a serious future area of conflict over essential resources such as water and food in the future.

It is interesting to note that two of the success stories mentioned independently in the “ Failed States Index 2007” are India and South Africa. In both cases we believe it was possible to make the required political and economic transition based on a “critical mass” of the total population having moved from Blue Order to Orange Enterprise. If this values shift had not been present in both countries it would have been impossible to make the required transitions. These moves have absolutely nothing to do with either race, caste or creed but everything to do with “values.”

Global and regional areas of conflict often require decisive responses to negative behaviour from warlords and others with similar negative power traits. However, it is also important to understand how to manage this transition from one level to the next. There also need to be suitable reward systems in place and this may not necessarily be of a monetary nature. Each situation demands an individual response based on good “values” and other related intelligence on the ground.

There is a real opportunity here by using the values approach, for the developed economies to lead the way in assisting the developing world to a totally new level of social, political and economic development over a relatively short time period in historical terms. Technology will of necessity be part of this solution. This will go a long way to assisting in reducing the areas of regional conflict, which in turn is a direct investment in enhancing global security for the global community as a whole. See Annexure 1 below for Composite Graph and Table by Values Level. See particularly the similarity between the South African and Global Models.

At GVN Group we believe that the above proposals will go a long way in assisting in the generation of a move from the lower to higher values levels globally. This in turn will bring the accompanying benefits of higher living standards for all and as a result a more stable global environment. We are optimistic that this process has begun as more and more leaders around the world, both in business and politics, are talking about “values” and the need to uphold the best of these.

We are convinced that the use of values technology is part of this overall systems approach in order to effect this type of shift. For more information on the GVN Group and our full range of offerings contact us by e.mail at or visit our website

Note: The values numbers and percentages used in the above article are extracted from our ongoing statistics obtained through GVN QuickSCAN carried on the Home Page of our website plus further details extracted from specialised survey results from the GVN Global Values Monitor.

In addition to the publications mentioned above we also recommend the book by Graham Linscott, “Uhuru & Renaissance: South Africa in a New Century” published in 2001. Graham was the co-author of “The Crucible” with Dr Don Beck and uses the values approach to explain the issue of change both in South Africa and globally in the 21st Century.

Alan Tonkin
Chairman: GVN Consulting Group
St Francis Bay
Eastern Cape
South Africa
Office: +27 42 294 1092 Mobile: +27 82 777 1519 Skype: GVNGroup1

25 October, 2007

Annexure 1

Composite Graph Showing Examples by Values Level

Competitive Impact
Copyright Dr Don Edward Beck 2002

It is important to note that the profiles for South Africa and the Overall Global Position are very similar. However, the broader global situation will take longer to resolve due to the issues involved as well as the size of the global population which is now in excess of 6.5 billion.
In looking at the Political systems suggested at each level it is important to consider each situation on an individual basis. The pace of change will largely depend on the “values mix” in a particular country or region. Where Red Power is the dominant value any semblance of Western style democracy is not appropriate. It is only when Blue Order becomes dominant that “authoritarian democracy” will start to emerge.
Similarly, a modern economic system will only start to move forward when Blue Order and Orange Enterprise are reasonably balanced. This allows for the global economic system to emerge as in China.