Inequality and the Elephant Curve – but is it correct?


Below is a very interesting video from the FT about the Globalisation and Income Inequality. Globalisation is often held responsible for the problems of inequality in the world today. The elephant chart seems to explain why globalization has been blamed – see below. The chart shows income growth across the globe from 1988-2008 and how middle income people across the world (e.g.China) have had a significant growth in income as have the super rich. However some income groups have suffered namely the lower middle classes who have experienced almost no growth over the last 30 years.


However the Resolution Foundation in the UK produced a paper entitled “Examining an elephant: globalisation and the lower middle class of the rich world” which focused on whether and to what extent the conclusions from the graph are justifed, by digging into the data underpinning the elephant curve.

Policy makers and commentators looking to understand how income growth has actually…

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The evolutionary level of human violence

Why Evolution Is True

There’s a new paper in Nature about the level of intraspecific violence in humans and other species, written by José Maria Gómez et al. (free reference and download below).  The question is how often members of single species kill each other in the wild, and whether humans are outliers. It’s already gotten a lot of attention in the press, including an Atlantic summary by Ed Yong, but I’ve avoided reading the journalism until I read the original paper. Now that I have, I’ll summarize the Nature paper briefly for those who haven’t seen other pieces about it.

First, the authors used data from the literature to estimate the level of lethal violence in 1024 species of mammals from 137 families. The question was this: what percentage of individuals who die within a species do so after interacting with members of their own species? That’s the measure the authors take as the degree of “lethal violence” within species…

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Psychological Foundations of Libertarianism

Creativeconflictwisdom's Blog

So much attention has been focused historically on the differences between conservatives and liberals, that the very different psychological under pining for libertarianism which is part of the Tea Party movemnet, has been neglected. Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia, whose work I have previously cited,  has conducted some very interesting research on this topic summarized at:

The research has interesting implications for political conflict in the US and concludes:

Libertarians are an increasingly vocal ideological group in U.S. politics, yet they are understudied compared to liberals and conservatives. Much of what is known about libertarians is based on the writing of libertarian intellectuals and political leaders, rather than surveying libertarians in the general population. Across three studies, 15 measures, and a large web-based sample (N = 152,239), we sought to understand the morality of selfdescribed libertarians. Based on an intuitionist view of moral judgment, we focused…

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The Neuro-science of Conservative and Liberal Brains

Creativeconflictwisdom's Blog

Here’s What Science Says About the Brains of Democrats and Republicans

Author: Dylan Goldstein

Back in 1796, George Washington offered the nation some unheeded words of advice: beware of political parties. Despite this recommendation, two forces emerged in America and today the Republican and Democratic parties dominate the political scene, forming a deep partisan divide. But what does this divide say about their supporters? Why do some of us identify as conservatives, and others as liberals? According to some neuroscientists, the answer lies partially in the make up of our brains.

What are the brain differences?

In their search to unlock the mystery surrounding the political brain, researchers are discovering basic structural differences between conservatives and liberals. While it is generally difficult to make a direct link between brain differences and complex behaviors in social or political contexts, these findings give scientists some hints as to how biology may inspire…

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University of Wisconsin – La Crosse: Students Encourages To Submit Their Halloween Costumes For Review For Possible Racist Elements


unknownThe University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse has been much in the news these days and, for some, the news is not good.  The school seems at the heart of a national trend toward hyper-sensitivity and intense scrutiny over the use of free speech.  In one recent inside, a student objected to a Harry Potter mural that was condemned as depicting  “Man power. Cis power. Able power. Class power.”  Then there is the school’s “Hate Response Team” which has investigated such alleged offensive terms as “All Lives Matter” and “Trump.”  Then last December, the Vice Chancellor apologized for the “fear and angst” caused by a truck that drove through campus with a rebel flag on its grille.  Now the Ethnic and Racial Studies Department of UW LaCrosse have posted signs for the review of Halloween costumes to determine if they are racist.

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bias in social movement research

Earlier this week, we discussed the need to study failed movements, not just the successes. Here, I want to draw attention to the general issue of bias in social movement research. The way I see it is that movement research is shaped by the following biases:

  • Survivor bias: We tend to focus only on movements that succeed in mobilizing.
  • Success bias: We tend to focus only on movements that get what they want.
  • Progressive bias: We tend to focus on movements that come from the left.

Of course, there are exceptions. For example, Rory McVeigh is a well known student of right wing populism and Kathleen Blee’s latest book looks at a random sample of Pittsburgh area movements.

But in general, the overall focus of movement scholarship reflects these tendencies. For every Ziad Munson who studies pro-life groups, we have five other scholars studying pro-choice groups. Collectively, movement scholars…

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