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robertogreco : self-interest   17

‘Has Any One of Us Wept?’ | by Francisco Cantú | The New York Review of Books
"The dehumanizing tactics and rhetoric of war have transformed the border into a permanent zone of exception, where some of the most vulnerable people on earth face death and disappearance on a daily basis, where children have been torn from their parents to send the message You are not safe here, you are not welcome. The true crisis at the border is not one of surging crossings or growing criminality, but of our own increasing disregard for human life. To describe what we are seeing as a “crisis,” however, is to imply that our current moment is somehow more horrifying than those that have recently set the stage for it—moments that, had we allowed ourselves to see them and be horrified by them, might have prevented our arrival here in the first place.

In an essay examining the omnipresence of modern borders and the immigration crisis in the Mediterranean, British journalist Frances Stonor Saunders argues that documents such as passports and visas are central components to how our society values and recognizes human life.2 “Identity is established by identification,” Saunders writes, “and identification is established by documenting and fixing the socially significant and codifiable information that confirms who you are.” Those who possess such documentation possess a verified self, “an identity, formed through and confirmed by identification, that is attested to be ‘true.’”"



"When the violence of our institutions is revealed, when their dehumanizing design is laid bare, it can be too daunting to imagine that we might change things. But what I have learned from giving myself over to a structure of power, from living within its grim vision and helping to harm the people and places from which I came, is that even the most basic act of decency can serve as the spark that will lead one back toward humanity, and even the most basic individual interaction has the power to upend the idea of the “other.” Heeding even these small impulses can serve as a means of extricating ourselves from systems of thought and policy that perpetuate detachment, even in spite of all the mechanisms that have been devised to make us believe in individual and nationalistic self-interest. As obvious as it might seem, to truly and completely reject a culture of violence, to banish it from our minds, we must first fully refuse to participate in it, and refuse to assist in its normalization. When we consider the border, we might think of our home; when we consider those who cross it, we might think of those we hold dear."
franciscocantú  border  borders  us  mexico  2019  borderpatrol  humanism  humanity  policy  politics  donaldtrump  migration  refugees  violence  vi:sarahpeeden  power  detachment  nationalism  individualism  self-interest  decency 
january 2019 by robertogreco
How Civilization Started | The New Yorker
"In “Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States,” James C. Scott, a professor of political science at Yale, presents a plausible contender for the most important piece of technology in the history of man. It is a technology so old that it predates Homo sapiens and instead should be credited to our ancestor Homo erectus. That technology is fire. We have used it in two crucial, defining ways. The first and the most obvious of these is cooking. As Richard Wrangham has argued in his book “Catching Fire,” our ability to cook allows us to extract more energy from the food we eat, and also to eat a far wider range of foods. Our closest animal relative, the chimpanzee, has a colon three times as large as ours, because its diet of raw food is so much harder to digest. The extra caloric value we get from cooked food allowed us to develop our big brains, which absorb roughly a fifth of the energy we consume, as opposed to less than a tenth for most mammals’ brains. That difference is what has made us the dominant species on the planet.

The other reason fire was central to our history is less obvious to contemporary eyes: we used it to adapt the landscape around us to our purposes. Hunter-gatherers would set fires as they moved, to clear terrain and make it ready for fast-growing, prey-attracting new plants. They would also drive animals with fire. They used this technology so much that, Scott thinks, we should date the human-dominated phase of earth, the so-called Anthropocene, from the time our forebears mastered this new tool.

We don’t give the technology of fire enough credit, Scott suggests, because we don’t give our ancestors much credit for their ingenuity over the long period—ninety-five per cent of human history—during which most of our species were hunter-gatherers. “Why human fire as landscape architecture doesn’t register as it ought to in our historical accounts is perhaps that its effects were spread over hundreds of millennia and were accomplished by ‘precivilized’ peoples also known as ‘savages,’ ” Scott writes. To demonstrate the significance of fire, he points to what we’ve found in certain caves in southern Africa. The earliest, oldest strata of the caves contain whole skeletons of carnivores and many chewed-up bone fragments of the things they were eating, including us. Then comes the layer from when we discovered fire, and ownership of the caves switches: the human skeletons are whole, and the carnivores are bone fragments. Fire is the difference between eating lunch and being lunch."



"It was the ability to tax and to extract a surplus from the produce of agriculture that, in Scott’s account, led to the birth of the state, and also to the creation of complex societies with hierarchies, division of labor, specialist jobs (soldier, priest, servant, administrator), and an élite presiding over them. Because the new states required huge amounts of manual work to irrigate the cereal crops, they also required forms of forced labor, including slavery; because the easiest way to find slaves was to capture them, the states had a new propensity for waging war. Some of the earliest images in human history, from the first Mesopotamian states, are of slaves being marched along in neck shackles. Add this to the frequent epidemics and the general ill health of early settled communities and it is not hard to see why the latest consensus is that the Neolithic Revolution was a disaster for most of the people who lived through it.

War, slavery, rule by élites—all were made easier by another new technology of control: writing. “It is virtually impossible to conceive of even the earliest states without a systematic technology of numerical record keeping,” Scott maintains. All the good things we associate with writing—its use for culture and entertainment and communication and collective memory—were some distance in the future. For half a thousand years after its invention, in Mesopotamia, writing was used exclusively for bookkeeping: “the massive effort through a system of notation to make a society, its manpower, and its production legible to its rulers and temple officials, and to extract grain and labor from it.” Early tablets consist of “lists, lists and lists,” Scott says, and the subjects of that record-keeping are, in order of frequency, “barley (as rations and taxes), war captives, male and female slaves.” Walter Benjamin, the great German Jewish cultural critic, who committed suicide while trying to escape Nazi-controlled Europe, said that “there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” He meant that every complicated and beautiful thing humanity ever made has, if you look at it long enough, a shadow, a history of oppression. As a matter of plain historical fact, that seems right. It was a long and traumatic journey from the invention of writing to your book club’s discussion of Jodi Picoult’s latest."



"The news here is that the lives of most of our progenitors were better than we think. We’re flattering ourselves by believing that their existence was so grim and that our modern, civilized one is, by comparison, so great. Still, we are where we are, and we live the way we live, and it’s possible to wonder whether any of this illuminating knowledge about our hunter-gatherer ancestors can be useful to us. Suzman wonders the same thing. He discusses John Maynard Keynes’s famous 1930 essay “The Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.” Keynes speculated that if the world continued to get richer we would naturally end up enjoying a high standard of living while doing much less work. He thought that “the economic problem” of having enough to live on would be solved, and “the struggle for subsistence” would be over:
When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession—as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life—will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease.

The world has indeed got richer, but any such shift in morals and values is hard to detect. Money and the value system around its acquisition are fully intact. Greed is still good.

The study of hunter-gatherers, who live for the day and do not accumulate surpluses, shows that humanity can live more or less as Keynes suggests. It’s just that we’re choosing not to. A key to that lost or forsworn ability, Suzman suggests, lies in the ferocious egalitarianism of hunter-gatherers. For example, the most valuable thing a hunter can do is come back with meat. Unlike gathered plants, whose proceeds are “not subject to any strict conventions on sharing,” hunted meat is very carefully distributed according to protocol, and the people who eat the meat that is given to them go to great trouble to be rude about it. This ritual is called “insulting the meat,” and it is designed to make sure the hunter doesn’t get above himself and start thinking that he’s better than anyone else. “When a young man kills much meat,” a Bushman told the anthropologist Richard B. Lee, “he comes to think of himself as a chief or a big man, and he thinks of the rest of us as his servants or inferiors. . . . We can’t accept this.” The insults are designed to “cool his heart and make him gentle.” For these hunter-gatherers, Suzman writes, “the sum of individual self-interest and the jealousy that policed it was a fiercely egalitarian society where profitable exchange, hierarchy, and significant material inequality were not tolerated.”

This egalitarian impulse, Suzman suggests, is central to the hunter-gatherer’s ability to live a life that is, on its own terms, affluent, but without abundance, without excess, and without competitive acquisition. The secret ingredient seems to be the positive harnessing of the general human impulse to envy. As he says, “If this kind of egalitarianism is a precondition for us to embrace a post-labor world, then I suspect it may prove a very hard nut to crack.” There’s a lot that we could learn from the oldest extant branch of humanity, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to put the knowledge into effect. A socially positive use of envy—now, that would be a technology almost as useful as fire."
jamescscott  fire  technology  hunter-gatherers  2017  anthropology  johnlanchester  anthropocene  sedentism  agriculture  nomads  nomadism  archaeology  writing  legibility  illegibility  state  civilization  affluence  abundance  jamessuzman  bushmen  kalahari  namibia  khoisan  mesopotamia  egalitarianism  humans  self-interest  jealousy  greed  inequality  accumulation  motivation  society  happiness  money 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Ibram Kendi, one of the nation’s leading scholars of racism, says education and love are not the answer
"“We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, lead to racist policies,” Kendi said. “If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, and love and persuasion. But of course [Stamped from the Beginning] shows that the actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self-interest, particularly economic and political and cultural.” Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there.

The self-interest: The Portuguese had to justify their pioneering slave trade of African people before the pope.

The racist idea: Africans are barbarians. If we remove them from Africa and enslave them, they could be civilized.

“We can understand this very simply with slavery. I’m enslaving people because I want to make money. Abolitionists are resisting me, so I’m going to convince Americans that these people should be enslaved because they’re black, and then people will start believing those ideas: that these people are so barbaric, that they need to be enslaved, or that they are so childlike that they need to be enslaved.”

Kendi boils racist ideas down to an irreducible core: Any idea that suggests one racial group is superior or inferior to another group in any way is a racist idea, he says, and there are two types. Segregationist ideas contend racial groups are created unequal. Assimilationist ideas, as Kendi defines them, argue that both discrimination and problematic black people are to blame for inequalities.

Americans who don’t carry tiki torches react viscerally to segregationist ideas like those on display at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one young counter-protester dead. Assimilationist ideas are more subtle, seductive and coded.

“You can be someone who has no intention to be racist,” who believes in and fights for equality, “but because you’re conditioned in a world that is racist and a country that is structured in anti-black racism, you yourself can perpetuate those ideas,” says Kendi. No matter what color you are.

Anti-racist ideas hold that racial groups are equal. That the only thing inferior about black people is their opportunities. “The only thing wrong with black people is that we think there is something wrong with black people,” a line that Kendi uses like a mantra.

The Blue Lives Matter (the problem is violent black people) Black Lives Matter (the problem is the criminal justice system, poor training and police bias) and All Lives Matter (the problem is police and black people) arguments are extensions of the same, three-way debate (segregationist, anti-racist and assimilationist) that Americans have been having since the founding of the country.

“We’ve been taught American history as a steady march of racial progress,” but it’s always been a dual march of racial and racist progress, which we see from Charlottesville to “their Trump Tower,” Kendi says.

This is the jump-off Kendi uses to frame the most roiling issues of the day. But before he could build that frame, he first had to deal with his own racism."
racism  history  ideas  2017  ibramkendi  via:ablerism  assimilation  inequlity  blacklivesmatter  bluelivesmatter  alllivesmatter  self-interest  capitalism  politics  culture 
september 2017 by robertogreco
welcome to the future – Fredrik deBoer
"For several decades, neoliberal politicians worked tirelessly to remove any checks to our systems of financial speculation, causing the inflation of massive bubbles, driven by elite greed. They simultaneously shredded the social safety nets that would allow the lower classes to better endure the consequences of the inevitable collapse of those bubbles. The bubbles did collapse. The lower classes were devastated with unemployment, instability, and economic hopelessness. Those same elites responded by insisting that the only path forward was deeper austerity, even more vicious cuts to our already-tattered redistributive systems. Anger, naturally, grew. Nativist, nationalist demagogues responded by seizing on this anger, telling ignored and marginalized people that their problems were the fault of even-more-marginalized minorities, migrants, and refugees. Their political adversaries, rather than appealing to those angry people by offering them an economic platform that works for them and by arguing that their best interests are also the best interests of those minorities, migrants, and refugees, have doubled down on austerity politics and have dismissed those voters as deluded racists who are not fit to be appealed to. In general, liberals have entrenched deeper and deeper into geographical and social bubbles that permit them to ignore vast swaths of increasingly-embittered voters. They thus ensure that those many among the angry people who are not in fact incorrigible racists but who could be convinced to join forces for a political movement of shared prosperity never do so. The worst people appeal to the desperate, while their political opponents dismiss that desperation, and the outcome is predictable.

This is the future of the West: a contest between elitist greed and populist proto-fascism. On one side, the limitless self-interest of a financial and social elite that has created not only an economic system that siphons more and more money into their own pockets but also a bizarre, jury-rigged ideology of cultural liberalism divorced from any foundations in economic egalitarianism which argues that anyone who opposes the neoliberal order is not worthy even of trying to convince. On the other side, an increasingly-unhinged movement of racist grievance-mongering and fear-stoking populist demagoguery, which utilizes the age-old tactic of pitting different groups of poor people against each other to powerful effect, helped immensely by the corruption and callousness of the pro-austerity class. These sides share nothing except for an absolute commitment to preventing the kind of robustly redistributive platform of economic and social justice that could unite the needs of all suffering people into a formidable political bloc that is devoted to opposing austerity, inequality, racism, sexism, nativism, nationalism, and the rest of humanity’s political ills.

The choice humanity had was between socialism and barbarism. Decades of neoliberalism have ensured that we’ve chosen the latter. The choice ahead is less substantive and more aesthetic: which would you prefer crushing down on your neck, the combat boot of a fascist or the business shoe of a plutocrat?"
freddiedeboer  politics  neoliberalism  history  2016  policy  us  humanity  socialism  barbarism  bubbles  economics  greed  elitism  socialsafetynet  inequality  class  classism  marginalization  austertity  brexit  fascism  corruption  finance  capitalism  self-interest  eglitarianism  socialjustice  racism  sexism  nativism  nationalism  plutocracy  desperation 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? | Video on TED.com
"It's amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there's good news too. (Filmed at TEDxMarin.)

Paul Piff studies how social hierarchy, inequality and emotion shape relations between individuals and groups."

[A summary, in GIFs: http://stoweboyd.com/post/74281156067/invisibleeverywhere-tedx-does-money-make-you ]

[Related: "Rich People Just Care Less" http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/rich-people-just-care-less/ ]
paulpiff  wealth  privilege  2013  danielgoleman  success  ego  behavior  self-interest  entitlement  compassion  empathy  monopoly  money  research  inequality  emotion  hierarchy  hierarchies  advantage  society  status  greed  morality  cheating  sharing  helpfulness  moralizing  self-importance  ethics  legal  law  effort  pedestrians  achievement  accomplishment  capitalism  socialmobility  growth  trust  lifeexpectancy  health  economics  cooperation  community  egalitarianism  poverty  inequity 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Self-Interest Spurs Society’s ‘Elite’ to Lie, Cheat on Tasks, Study Finds - Bloomberg
"The pursuit of self-interest is a “fundamental motive among society’s elite, & the increased want associated with greater wealth and status can promote wrongdoing,” Piff and his colleagues wrote yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The “upper class,” as defined by the study, were more likely to break the law while driving, take candy from children, lie in negotiation, cheat to raise their odds of winning a prize and endorse unethical behavior at work, the research found. The solution, Piff said, is to find a way to increase empathy among wealthier people.

“It’s not that the rich are innately bad, but as you rise in the ranks -- whether as a person or a nonhuman primate -- you become more self-focused,” Piff said. “You can change that by reminding upper-class people of the needs of others. That may not be their default, but have them do it is sufficient to increase their patterns of altruistic behavior.”"

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/27303050411/ ]
altruism  empathy  ethics  lying  dishonesty  upperclass  self-interest  inequality  rich  1%  wealth  psychology  greed 
july 2012 by robertogreco
School Is Not School
"To become a citizen, one must learn how to live and participate in a community — the most attractive ideal for any society, in religious or secular terms. It is one of the pillars of civilization. We cannot hope to endure without it.

School, then, is the place where we’re inspired to forget ourselves and become aware of the hopes and needs of somebody else—our neighbors, other citizens.

It’s where we begin active, deliberate and rational participation in a citizen community; and learn how to use the instrument of citizenship to manage, if not eradicate, our inner selfishness, our petty private passions, our personal interests. It’s where we feed and nurture the better part of our natures by channeling the collective efforts toward a higher, nobler purpose: the common weal.

But, somewhere along the way, school became school…"


[FULL TEXT BELOW]

"School isn’t school.

It is the birthplace of the citizen ideal.

It’s where we learn to live a life of selfless service on behalf of the community; it’s where we find the path to virtue, subordinating innate self-interest as individuals to the interests of the community, the good of the whole. And where, on graduation day, the highest possible title in a free society is conferred upon us: citizen.

To become a citizen, one must learn how to live and participate in a community — the most attractive ideal for any society, in religious or secular terms. It is one of the pillars of civilization. We cannot hope to endure without it.

School, then, is the place where we’re inspired to forget ourselves and become aware of the hopes and needs of somebody else—our neighbors, other citizens.

It’s where we begin active, deliberate and rational participation in a citizen community; and learn how to use the instrument of citizenship to manage, if not eradicate, our inner selfishness, our petty private passions, our personal interests. It’s where we feed and nurture the better part of our natures by channeling the collective efforts toward a higher, nobler purpose: the common weal.

But, somewhere along the way, school became school…

…a diurnal detention camp where children are framed up as human capital, livestock actually, not human beings. School, where bitter, resentful educators — who are almost always underpaid and, as a result, incented only to underperform — shy away from teaching any form of critical thinking; and indoctrinate students through rote memorization with the most basic, backward-looking knowledge, reconstituted as trivia and delivered through canned lesson plans. It’s a place where an education is still measured by a test score; and future success is defined only by the placement of the decimal point on a paystub.

Far from developing necessary skills and natural talents, this kind of school prepares students only for one possible future: college — school by another name. A pricey, pointless weigh station where students, future members of the work force, are scouted and sized-up with the wrong metrics; and where successful students, model students, acquire the knack, often times accidentally, to package and sell their skills in the form of labor to the highest bidder in a free market economy, which helps to maximize consumption among the lower and middle classes, while increasing the capital of the upper class, shielding the present establishment from ruin, protecting the economic wealth of the one percenters, and perpetuating the cycle of school.

Somewhere along the way, we detected a problem. Former students, now adults, became gainfully employed, living and working the way their parents lived and worked. They worked hard to make it big by doing something, anything in the world but not anything for the world. By and large, these former students were ambitious to be sure, but also unhappy and depressed and unfulfilled.

Communities fell apart.

“Enlightened” self-interest led to self-destruction.

We began to think that maybe the problem wasn’t school itself; maybe it was the school building. Naturally, we thought the answer was a sustainable school, an environmentally friendly school, a Green school, retooled and refitted for LEED certification, tricked out with ergonomic chairs and desks made from recycled materials. A different, healthier skin for a fetid, festering form.

But school remained school…

…It’s still “all about the kids” who are still learning old lessons the old way. It’s still school, that prepares young, choice-conscious consumers for a Market, not citizens for a Society; it shows students the old path to an old idea of prosperity, only now under energy saving bulbs in a cost-efficient, climate-controlled building.

The problem persists. It won’t go away until school stops being school.

It won’t stop until we start designing for school as a community-wide resource; it won’t stop until we start creating school as a dynamic social engine for entire towns and cities that drive every citizen toward a higher, greater good: the public interest.

It’s a platform that enables children to self-actualize not only as individuals but also as citizens; who learn and live and thrive by thinking and doing, not just for themselves, but for the entire community, for all citizens.

The logic that we must solve for, then, is neither fiscal nor physical, but moral:

No schools without citizens. No citizens without schools."
humanism  self-interest  education  learning  deschooling  unschooling  lcproject  purpose  via:monikahardy  2012  self-actualization  community  selflessness  citizenship  schooliness  schools 
april 2012 by robertogreco
DEAR AMERICA: It's Time To Say A Big 'Thank You' To Amazon
"Amazon is investing (and hiring) while many other American corporations are milking incumbent businesses, under-investing in research and development, and hoarding cash. To the chagrin of some traders, Amazon is distinctly NOT "maximizing near-term profits" — it is sacrificing near-term profits. It is making less money now in the hopes of making more money and creating more value later. And it is ignoring the howls and screams of short-term traders who couldn't care less about Amazon's long-term prognosis, add nothing to the economy, and just want to make money now.

If more American companies started to do what Amazon does — ignore short-term pressures, sacrifice near-term profits, and invest for the long-term — the American economy would start to heal itself quickly."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/12030550839/amazon-is-investing-and-hiring-while-many-other ]
amazon  shortterm  longterm  investment  2011  self-interest  capitalism  business  economics  wallstreet  occupywallstreet  ows  greed  finance  self-interestproperlyunderstood 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Zbigniew Brzezinski Receives Jury du Prix Tocqueville Prize | Center for Strategic and International Studies
"Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winning economist, recently drew attention to the fact that Alexis de Tocqueville correctly perceived the major source of the peculiar genius of American society: its respect for what the French observer called “self-interest properly understood.” Stiglitz noted that everyone is motivated by self-interest in its narrow sense, but that de Tocqueville’s emphasis on self-interest “properly understood” was his recognition that early Americans uniquely also cared for everyone else’s self-interest. In other words, they instinctively understood that respect for the common welfare is in fact the precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being."
economics  josephstiglitz  2011  inequality  wealthdistribution  society  self-interest  alexdetocqueville  policy  politics  gridlock  us  government  democracy  globalization  zbigniewbrzezinski  self-interestproperlyunderstood 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The Unselfish Gene - Harvard Business Review
"Executives, like most other people, have long believed that human beings are interested only in advancing their material interests.

However, recent research in evolutionary biology, psychology, sociology, political science, and experimental economics suggests that people behave far less selfishly than most assume. Evolutionary biologists and psychologists have even found neural and, possibly, genetic evidence of a human predisposition to cooperate.

These findings suggest that instead of using controls or carrots and sticks to motivate people, companies should use systems that rely on engagement and a sense of common purpose.

Several levers can help executives build cooperative systems: encouraging communication, ensuring authentic framing, fostering empathy and solidarity, guaranteeing fairness and morality, using rewards and punishments that appeal to intrinsic motivations, relying on reputation and reciprocity, and ensuring flexibility."
business  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  reciprocity  theunselfishgene  cooperation  wikipedia  empathy  solidarity  fairness  morality  human  humanism  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  rewards  punishment  reputation  flexibility  cooperativism  cooperativesystems  engagement  purpose  commonpurpose  evolutionarybiology  biology  psychology  sociology  politicalscience  experimentaleconomics  economics  evolutionarypsychology  yochaibenkler  complexity  simplicity  self-interest  selfishness  behavior  extrinsicmotivation  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Society | Vanity Fair — Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
"The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late."
society  politics  economics  psychology  money  history  inequality  disparity  wealth  via:preoccupations  josephstiglitz  2011  opression  classwarfare  income  inequity  greed  alexisdetocqueville  self-interest  concentrationofwealth  policy  power  control  revolt  taxes  wealthdistribution 
july 2011 by robertogreco
What We Can Learn: An Excerpt from Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? -- In These Time
"Why are kids in Germany paying [union] dues, voluntarily [and in increasing numbers]?
...It’s not Marx but John Dewey whose picture should be in the lobby of...Social Democratic Party. It’s Dewey who believed that schools should not just teach practical skills but explain why kids have to be political, to be citizens, to get into labor movements to protect skills they are acquiring. One can say that union membership is a “tradition” in certain industries. But that’s just an opaque way of saying that kids get politicized both at home & school as they go through Dual Track...

The answer to problems of our country is education, but not the kind we’re pursuing, i.e., jamming more kids into college or even teaching practical skills; instead, it’s teaching them how, politically, to cut themselves a better deal. As long as that’s going on, it’s impossible to write off the European or, more specifically, the German model."

[Quote from page 2. Via: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2010/07/sometimes-we-try-japanese-model-of-work.html ]
germany  japan  us  johndewey  education  citizenship  democracy  socialdemocracy  socialism  unions  organization  labor  rights  apprenticeships  skills  politics  vocational  self-interest 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Greater Good Magazine | The Compassionate Instinct
"Parents who rely on induction engage their children in reasoning when they have done harm, prompting their child to think about the consequences of their actions and how these actions have harmed others. Parents who rely on power assertion simply declare what is right and wrong, and resort more often to physical punishment or strong emotional responses of anger. Nancy Eisengerg, Richard Fabes, and Martin Hoffman have found that parents who use induction and reasoning raise children who are better adjusted and more likely to help their peers. ... Parents can also teach compassion by example. A landmark study of altruism by Pearl and Samuel Oliner found that children who have compassionate parents tend to be more altruistic. In the Oliners' study of Germans who helped rescue Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, one of the strongest predictors of this inspiring behavior was the individual's memory of growing up in a family that prioritized compassion and altruism."
science  collaboration  psychology  humanity  adaptive  morality  empathy  compassion  rationality  ethics  self-interest  religion  evolution  parenting 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Simon Caulkin: Guess what? Self-interest is bad for the economy | Business | The Observer
"When Alan Greenspan told the House Oversight Committee 'I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms', the effect was the same as Frodo and Sam casting the Ring of Power into the fires of Mount Doom at the end of The Lord of the Rings: the edifice of 21st-century management shook to its foundations.
via:preoccupations  alangreenspan  economics  capitalism  self-interest  management  policy  markets  corporations  2008  crisis 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Life Incorporated - Boing Boing
"Life Incorporated: How we traded meaning for markets, society for self-interest, and citizenship for customer service...way human beings and corporations traded places, and how we came to accept corporatism as our dominant value system...conclude...our society didn't just end up this way. This landscape was cultivated over time. We are living on a playing field sloped towards corporate interests. Every day, we negotiate the slope to the best of our ability. Still, many of us fail to measure up to the people we'd like to be, and succumb to the tilt of the landscape. We buy from Wal-Mart and supermarket instead of the local druggist and farmer who they put out of business. We save to send our kids to private school instead of investing our time to make the public ones better. We spend our money insulating ourselves from the crime in our neighborhoods instead of our energy reducing the poverty and resentment feeding it. When things are tough, it’s every man for himself."
douglasrushkoff  politics  books  society  corporatism  capitalism  markets  activism  self-interest  values 
october 2008 by robertogreco

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