And that's a bad idea.
Much of standard group behavior data in Sociology/Economics/Psychology is based on Americans. Which don't seem (contrary to universal assumptions) to be shared by a lot of the World.
The Age of Imperialism is over, but its impact remains
, leaving behind a long-lasting legacy through cultural norms. Comparing individuals on opposite sides of the long-gone Habsburg Empire border within five countries, it shows that firms and people living in what used to be the empire have higher trust in courts and police.
In a lecture entitled
The State of White America Charles Murray
, a W. H. Brady Scholar
of the American Enterprise Institute
and co-author of the controversial The Bell Curve
, details the thesis of his upcoming book Coming Apart
Over the last half century, the United States has developed a new lower class and a new upper class that are different in kind from anything America has ever known. The second contention of the book is that the divergence of America into these separate classes, if it continues, will end what has made America America. [more inside]
With capitalism in crisis
, can it be sustained
or is it altogether outdated
? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is
: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
This recent academic article [PDF]
by Catherine Hakim presents "a new theory of erotic capital
as a fourth personal asset, an important addition to economic, cultural, and social capital," and proposes "a new agenda for sociological (and feminist) research and theory." Here's a stripped-down magazine version
. The theory is controversial
, sure, and there are counter-arguments
. The Financial Times
notes the obvious: If eroticism is indeed a kind of capital, then there is a market in it
. Meanwhile, newspapers get yet another reason to print pictures
of sexy people
. [All links are SFW]
A new study
suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics
. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion
in human history, as well as more complex economies
). [more inside]
The Gervais Principle
, Or The Office According to “The Office”.
Warning: link may evoke baleful despair!
The International Networks Archive
is an effort by a group of sociologists to understand 2,000 years of globalization through mapping the network of transactions that link the world, rather than geography. The project is still ongoing, but you can see some of the results: an interactive map that uses travel time
to visualize the world; a graphic of the growth of Starbucks and McDonalds
; the distribution of government jobs
(apparently the 3,412 postal inspectors can carry firearms); the cashflows of movies
; and, of course, the world at night
. There is also access to a lot of detailed data, as well as more maps and information at the Mapping Globalization
Dr. Schelling's neighborhood.
Is segregation the holdover of a racist past or an inevitable result of simple mathematical processes? After you've read the theory
, try it for yourself here
. Dr. Thomas Schelling won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics
for developing these ideas, but not everybody agrees
that he deserved to.
A hundred years of “The Protestant Ethic.”
Elizabeth Kolbert on Max Weber in The New Yorker.
"You'd think that predicting human behavior would be easy
...everyone should be a rational economizer, busy calculating their individual costs and benefits, and acting accordingly. Right?" So begins the review of Socionomics: The Science of History and Social Prediction
. I've always thought the Elliot Wave Theory
sounded like psuedoscience, but found the rational choice theory
problematic as well, even ridiculous at times. What's voodoo, and what's promising in advancing predictive social sciences?
: the first in a New York Times
series on class in the United States. Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman declares the death of the middle class, pointing out disparities between the rich and the poor, examining efforts to cover up class makeup with quantile data, and probing the transformation of corporate executive ethics and influence. Even Glenn Reynolds
is taken to task for his Sweden-Mississippi per capita GDP comparison. Krugman's sources
are on the slim side, but the question must be asked: Are we living in a new Gilded Age? And, if so, how can citizens and government work to change things?