How a Philosophy of ‘Simple Life Style’ Determine Socio-Economic Well-Being of People (Inference from Eastern Ethiopian Communities)
Keywords:Simple Life Style, Norms, Values, Social Capital, Eastern Ethiopian Communities
Purpose: Norms, values and social capital are powerful governing forces than conventional rules and principles in the context of eastern Ethiopian communities. By assessing the socio-cultural environment specific to the area, the study tries to make inquiries into the nature, sources and implications of those norms and values.
Methodology: Both primary and secondary sources of information were employed, with in depth Interviews (IDI), focus group discussions (FGDs), key informant interviews (KII) were the major sources of information. As the researcher is involved in the community for over five years, personal observations was integral. The study is conducted based on the principles that features a formative research. To understand the nature, causes and socio-economic implications of the prevailing norms and values in eastern Ethiopian communities, the study consulted psychological, anthropological, sociological and economic theories. To further deliberate and consolidate the issue, FGDs and KII were made with community leaders, elders, residents, and government officials living and working in the major cities in east Ethiopia. Moreover, the issue was discussed and debated in the Third Annual Conference on Eastern Ethiopian Economies, where scholars specializing in different disciplines: economics, management, marketing, public Administration, sociology, psychology, anthropology, agronomy, among others, belonging to the three universities operating in eastern Ethiopia, namely Haromaya University, Jigjiga University and Diredawa University were in attendance.
In due course of making analysis and explanations, the study employs descriptive technique of data analysis.
Study results and conclusions: The study concludes that the philosophy of life cherished in east is an easy life style, as its adherents prefer to call. Such a life style conducts the behaviors of people by making them develop norms and values, which are characterized by three inter-related aspects. As such, people that value this life style: a) have a tendency to over-simplify things; b) lack the minimal patience and considerations required before decision making or acting; c) tries to avoid the negative aspects of their decisions. These three values further install into the community a social fabric that is ultimately designed to avoid risk or uncertainties in life. A social capital, which reveals itself in mutual help, interdependence and information flows is the pillar of the installed social fabric that define people`s material and spiritual well-being. That explains why norms, values and social capital are powerful forces that regulate the social and economic life in the communities of eastern Ethiopia.Policy recommendation: This paper further tries to make some inferences implied by these shared norms, values and social capital in the context of peoples` socio-economic life. In this regard, the valued life style in east has a number of positive and negative implications that can potentially attract the attentions of academicians and policy practitioner. In this regard, integrated and inter-disciplinary approach is relevant while conducting researches, or designing policy frameworks that aimed at enhancing the socio-economic well-being of the people. Government offices and development partners working to promote the socio-economic well-beings of people in eastern Ethiopia should consider those variables integral while designing and implementing policies, programs and projects.
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