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How would you suggest to do a survey across countries? Is it impossible?

And, further, you can't ask a question of society but only of the individuals in it. So, methodilogical individualism is not so much of a problem as philosophical individualism.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 03:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How would you suggest to do a survey across countries? Is it impossible?

Now you've hit on a problem I can get my mind around! The simple linguistic challenge of asking identical questions, with identical cultural and emotional content across cultures is impossible. Due to the same factors they try to measure here.

It's analogous to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

Excellent point.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 08:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
It's analogous to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
No it isn't.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 09:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure it is. Consider the same question in multiple languages. As one uses more precise language in an attempt to establish a correct response, the likelihood of the terms being misunderstood grows greater. I don't imagine there's anyway to measure the divergence.

Just because of the cultural/language dixconnect, there's always going to be an element of uncertainty, the degree of which is indeterminant, no matter what the sample size is. I'd expect to see this, anyways.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 10:43:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in the case of Heisenberg, 1) there's not only a way to measure the uncertainty but there's a formula for it; 2) the uncertainty principle applies only to individual instances of attempted simultaneous measurements - if you have the luxury of repeated measurements on a sample the uncertainty goes away.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 11:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Semantic differential is - at least was - the way to measure "meaning" across languages/cultures.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 03:19:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that surveys get you the sum of attitudes in a society, and that may be somewhat different than culture.

Culture is often invisible to the person who is embedded in it, but controls and constrains their actions, and guides their beliefs.

Take the idea of an equality/efficiency tradeoff.  Where the idea is ingrained in the culture (US/UK) attitudes towards things like labor unions and other things that might bring about a more equal distribution of wealth are effected by this underlying idea in culture.

What you get when you do a survey that shows resistance to progressive taxation, etc, is what people believe, not why.  

And culture is at heart, the why factor.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 10:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:
culture is at heart, the why factor
Interesting insight. But why people believe is unobservable, whereas what people believe is observable.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 10:18:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is you can change why people belief through the creation of ideas, particularly economic ideas?

Think about how Keynes was killed off, and replaced by Milton Friedman and the Chicago gang.

Ideology is an important source of power in modern societies.  

Control how people see the world, and you can coerce them into doing what you want without them knowing it......

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 01:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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