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fantasyworldorder
June 15, 2004 3:16 AM   Subscribe

fantasyworldorder Difficult questions asked without political bias.
posted by ollybee (24 comments total)

 
"Without political bias"? That's a joke, isn't it? I ended up in the Protestor category, like more than 50% of the respondents, because the test was designed to produce that result.

For example, I agree strongly that "Western values, such as democracy or equality, damage traditional ways of life in non-western cultures". But I think that that's a good thing, since traditional ways of life often perpetuate poverty and relegate people to fixed hierarchical roles. Feminism damages traditional ways of life in the same way. About half the questions were worded in a way that made me feel that I was being led to agree with a position that I don't actually support.
posted by fuzz at 3:33 AM on June 15, 2004


It's like that libertarian questionaire (forgot where it is), I chose regulator but the survey decided that I too was a protestor.

As it happens, I support globalization, I just happen to support the idea that labor should be as free as capital.
posted by Octaviuz at 3:52 AM on June 15, 2004


I agree with fuzz and Octaviuz. The questions are okay, the result is a bit strange to me.
posted by tcp at 3:58 AM on June 15, 2004


Said I was a regulator, turned out to be a regulator. Funnily enough, I do work in regulation. It's almost like I'm coherent or something.
posted by biffa at 4:14 AM on June 15, 2004


fuzz, thats interesting as I would have counted myself as protestor but came out with a very different result. I felt I was being led into answers I didn't like, but thats because not all of my beliefs where well thought through. in the first question for example, I had never considered possible benefits of holding international trade meetings in secret.

The questions have been worded carefully to be neutral. Given the limitations of a single sentence question and sliding scale answer.
posted by ollybee at 4:19 AM on June 15, 2004


Chock full o' loaded questions.
posted by shoos at 4:27 AM on June 15, 2004


I think the category they are missing is 'Hypocrite'
I think many people secretly share Protestor values in an abstract sense, but act differently when things are made concrete for them.

I thought of myself as Regulator, but I received Protestor.
That's OK - I should protest, not globalisation, but the way it is being carried out. For example, I believe that the movement of labor needs to be as free as the movement of capital as a precondition for any other aspects of globalisation. I also believe countries like the US should make a policy of not dealing with brutal regimes. We have as much economic power as military power, and it's about time we started flexing the economic muscles for a change.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:36 AM on June 15, 2004


I believe "Globalization" is inevitable and can be a great force for positive change but that government, industry and the IMF are leading us down a path that benefits corporations most and individuals (especially the poor) least.

I think the ratio should be flipped. Allow the corporations to eek out some extra profits by enriching us all, instead of allowing the poor to eek out a slightly less subsistence-level living by enriching the corps.

I didn't feel the questions were too leading but I did feel that the quiz format was too basic, the questions too absolute, to capture my opinion.

Anyway, I chose protestor but tested as evenly split between Liberator and Protestor (actually, a smidge more Liberator).
posted by rocketpup at 4:44 AM on June 15, 2004


ollybee, the point is that "neutrality" is a hypocritical word. "We report. You decide."

As an example, the test includes the question "Only ethical regimes should receive western aid". Easy to agree with. But what about some equivalent "neutral" questions:

"Western countries should define ethical criteria for determining which countries can receive aid."

"Developing countries must change their regime to an ethical one before they become eligible for western aid."

"Western countres should subject non-ethical regimes to an aid embargo."

"Withholding aid is a useful tool for putting pressure on non-ethical regimes."

"Aid should not be provided to Sudan, Syria, or North Korea, because their regimes are not ethical."
posted by fuzz at 5:05 AM on June 15, 2004


Hmm. I selected "regulator", but scored dominant as liberator. (Regulator second, though.) The question fuzz discusses above ("traditional ways of life") was the one that stumped me, for the same reason. I wasn't sure how to handle it. It's presented as a factual assertion you either agree with or disagree with; when, instead, it should have been a hypothetical that you either agreed or disagreed with the outcome. I guessed that the question was aiming to test my sympathies rather than whether I agreed with the assertion as a matter of fact, so I selected a midlly negative response.

I was curious to see how I tested since I'm ardently pro-market, pro-globalization almost solely for liberal, raise-the-standard-of-living-of-the-developing world person; which pretty much alienates me from both the traditional globalization camps. (That is, I supported NAFTA because I was hoping that it would move capital and jobs to Mexico. The US and other countries partly got rich by plundering the third-world—I do believe in the rising tide lifts all boats thing, but I also don't mind a little market-driven reperation, so to speak.)

Me, too, Octaviuz, on the mobility of labor question. That's a key, indisposable component of my trade preferences. But I'm curious as to how you think that altered your score?

I kept a record of the scores. Rather than deal in the raw scores, which might not be that meaningful, it occured to me to simply order the five affinities by test result rank, using their initial letters for abbreviations1 (except in the case of "protector", where I used "c").

Initial results (whatever that means): LPRCS
Fantasy results at the time I took the test: PRCSL
My results: LRSPC

1 Liberator, Protector, Protester, Regulator, Sceptic
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:16 AM on June 15, 2004


I had difficulties with a few of the questions. Western Drug Companies should give free drugs to developing nations? Hrmm, well, no. But Western aid could and should be more thoroughly addressing the issue of drugs, especially for treating AIDS. So where's the 'well, not the drug companies themselves' option?

And for the western values / traditional culture question, I keyed in on the word 'damage'. Since the changes are most likely positive (though, that's my western values determining what's positive, of course) rather than damaging, I disagreed. If the word 'change' was used instead of 'damage', though, I'd have agreed strongly and thought 'and it's about damned time, too'.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:31 AM on June 15, 2004


66.7% liberator ... not surprising.

I think that it could have used some trade:wealth correlation questions. The most powerful argument for liberalization is that it generates cheap goods for the developed world and better jobs for the developing world. It's not an argument without its critiques (such as: are goods too cheap, encouraging overconsumption?; what's to become of the Western unskilled/semiskilled workforce?; are native cultures being degraded by the shift to industrial, Western-style jobs, etc.) but the survey doesn't attempt to address either the argument or its critiques in a serious way.
posted by MattD at 6:26 AM on June 15, 2004


loaded questions, indeed.

Western values, such as democracy or equality, damage traditional ways of life in non-western cultures

oh, you know, such as democracy or equality, as opposed to the totalitarianism and aristocracy prevalent in most third-world countries. what about materialism and overconsumption, you say ... ? i could have answered that question in a number of ways.

jeez, i identified as "Regulator" and got "Protester" - and i'm all for the New World OrderTM. way off base.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:19 PM on June 15, 2004


Just to point out another misleading question:

"Western drug companies should give free medicines to poor countries"

This is a proposition I wholeheartedly agree with. However, I harbor a strong suspicion that they're scoring this statement as if it read "Western drug companies should be forced by law to give free medicines to poor countries," which is a very different thing.

(Upon experimentation, answering the other 14 questions as neutral, and the drug company question with either strong agreement or strong disagreement supports my suspicion.)

Further evidence of bias: answering all 15 questions with perfect neutrality generates these results:

Sceptic 34.6%
Regulator 33.3%
Protector 24%
Protester 22.6%
Liberator 17.3%
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2004


The questions are not loaded. These are exactly the issues decision makers face every day. These are how the issues are presented to the public. If you ended the test as a something you don't think you are, then maybe you need to rethink your stand on issues. That is the point of the test.

I picked Regulator and came out Regulator. It can be done if you are clear about your stand on issues.
posted by stbalbach at 2:57 PM on June 15, 2004


The questions are not loaded. These are exactly the issues decision makers face every day.

A non sequitur, at best. Yes, the issues addressed are those that decision makers face every day. One can devise loaded questions about legitimate issues.

As I mentioned in my previous comment, one's response to the proposition "Western drug companies should give free medicines to poor countries" is scored as if it reads "Western drug companies should be forced by law to give free medicines to poor countries." Agreeing with the latter, I admit, ought to tend to increase one's Protester score, all other things being equal. But it is the former which is presented. By what rationale does agreeing with the former make one more of a Protester? Their assumption that agreement with "Western drug companies should give free medicines to poor countries" implies agreement with "Western drug companies should be forced by law to give free medicines to poor countries" is invalid.

Perhaps the description I'm looking for here is not so much "loaded" as "outright dishonest."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:17 PM on June 15, 2004


Wow, you guys are gaming the test and looking at the margins and trying to find hidden tricks and language nuances. The world is not black and white, its very complicated, there is no "right" answer.

DevilsAdvocate the answers are on a slideing scale if your trying to get inside the head of the programmers your going to need to a lot more test runs on that one question to see where each slideing bar takes you.. moving anything over to the extreme edge may be a sign of radicalism, I dont know. All I can say is every issue has good and bad points and moving somthing to the edge is, well, edgy.
posted by stbalbach at 3:23 PM on June 15, 2004


DevilsAdvocate the answers are on a slideing scale if your trying to get inside the head of the programmers your going to need to a lot more test runs on that one question to see where each slideing bar takes you

The criticism that I can gain only very limited information from only two test cases, and that making inferences about the validity of the test scoring from just those two cases is questionable at best, is a valid one.

And such a criticism applies twice as much to any inferences you would draw from the one single test case you conducted. ("I picked Regulator and came out Regulator.")
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:32 PM on June 15, 2004


some of that wording was very weird, but here's me:
Protester 49.3%
Sceptic 42.6%
Protector 26.6%
Regulator 17.3%
Liberator -28%
posted by amberglow at 5:37 PM on June 15, 2004


DevilsAdvocate. Just because it didn't turn out as expected doesn't mean it is flawed, indeed that is a feature. Its purpose to to make one think about the issues in relation to your own personal views and bring your political views in line with the issues. It's really more a piece of art then science rigor, as these things must be by nature.
posted by stbalbach at 6:17 PM on June 15, 2004


Just because it did turn out as expected (for you) doesn't mean it isn't flawed.

Its purpose to to make one think about the issues in relation to your own personal views

A worthwhile purpose, indeed. And one good way to think about the issues is to think about whether the way these questions are phrased accurately reflects the issues, or whether they use "language nuances" to distort them. Just as we've been doing here.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:43 AM on June 16, 2004


It's really more a piece of art then science rigor, as these things must be by nature.

Well said!
posted by oissubke at 8:58 AM on June 16, 2004


I thought I was a regulator, but came out a skeptic (then protestor, then regulator). I don't even understand exactly what the position of a "skeptic" with regard to globalization is meant to be - anyone wanna clarify it for me?
posted by mdn at 9:04 AM on June 16, 2004


mdn: Simply; it stems from having no clear definition of what globalisation is, obviously there's a rough definition that is kind of assumed and which is the one that is thrown around in debates like this but there's no agreed definition of what it really means and its relationship with other aspects of political economy. There are arguments that globalisation isn't anything different from what has been happening for hundreds of years, or alternatively to what has happened at particular different points in history. The Wikipedia has some discussion of this. This article has some more indepth analysis of some of the problems surrounding defining 'globalisation' and the context of why this is so difficult, as well as being a literature review, should you want to go into *lots* more depth.
posted by biffa at 11:12 AM on June 16, 2004


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