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Don't expect rationality from Americans - UPDATED

by papicek Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:16:40 PM EST

This began as a comment to danps' diary on the right's outrage over the DHS report on terrorist threats.

Material here on the World Values Survey was going to be the subject of a longer diary, but I find my time taken these days on the implications on Obama's refusal to indict torturers on our standing in international law. (I'm not a lawyer, so this requires some heavy lifting on my part).

But I introduce you to the World Values Survey now. I find it fascinating in light of the fact that Lisbon failed in Ireland where "traditional" values hold sway over rational empiricism, even more so than in the United States. I found that Jerome's comment on the phrasing in Obama's speech in Strasbourg (I think) about how the US stands with Europe on saving "God's creation" unsurprising, in light of the data presented in the World Values Survey.


My original comment to danps' diary:

I note a broad lack of objectivity (which you correct here) in the statements of the outraged right wing. Are you surprised? On the right, they are "true patriots," so how can they be possibly viewed as a threat? On the left, the meme is that they are "true democrats and egalitarians," with similar assumptions about how near the heart of the American ideal they reside.

Make no mistake about it, this has all the force of religious conflict here in the US, with precious few on either side willing to compromise - willing even to acknowledge that all of us are as American as the opposition. The concept of a loyal opposition hasn't taken hold in the US.

I won't say that Americans can't be rational, but it has been documented that Americans value rationality less than any developed nation save Ireland.


The implications that this study has on diplomacy, foreign policy formation (i.e.: what kind of democracy do we expect in Afghanistan, which, at 28%, has the third lowest literacy rate in the world? Why are Americans incapable of recognizing its utter improbability?), public diplomacy, speechwriting, etc. . . .

My introduction to the World Values Survey was in a chance encounter with a book entitled "Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy by Inglehart and Welzel. It's premise rests on a large foundation of analysis and research which predicts that with economic development, societal changes in values are predictable. By the time a society reaches a post-industrial stage (measured by a significant population employed in the service sector), it should value both self-expressive over survival values, as well as rational over traditional values.

The authors spend considerable effort in the beginning of their book laying the conceptual groundwork for the study. They describe a general two-stage shift that as a society moves from agrarian to industrial, values should shift from traditional to rational, and as an industrial society moves toward a post-industrial service economy, self-expressive values tend to grow.

As I don't have permission to reproduce their cultural map here (this diary is written in haste before work) I can only suggest that you take a quick look at their cultural map. The vertical axis represents how countries score on the traditional-rational scale, and the horizontal axis places countries on the survival-self expressive scale.

[editor's note, by Migeru] I'm taking the liberty to hotlink to the map here under fair use because there's a lot of discussion of it in the comments. The WVS website allows one to download the survey data after all.

The book stresses that modernization does not equate to "westernization" or overcome the history of nations. In other words, development does not seem to "westernize" or "Americanize," rather, it tends to unveil the innate cultural qualities of these nations. In fact, the book states that the US is actually an anomaly, along with Ireland (whose history with the church makes the finding easy to explain), Americans value rational reasoning less than any other country in Europe.

The survey is an ongoing study. The findings thus far are based on four waves of survey data which have taken place over the last decade or so. The implications for all sorts of international activity from advertising goods abroad to the broad sweep of US-EU relations.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Update [2009-4-19 21:25:12 by papicek]: I've saved the kicker to the end. In the book's conclusion, Inglehart and Welzel contend

"As we saw in Chapter 7, effective democracy is very likely to emerge when more than 45% of a society's public ranks high on self-expression values. This is a probablistic relationship, not a deterministic one, but the statistical relationship is very strong. Economic development is conducive to cultural changes that make democracy increasinly probable."
Which is where, of course, this study originates. Self-reinforcing "science?" To some extent, almost certainly. Yet I certainly intend to follow the survey in the coming years. I'll have plenty of time to up my game in statistical analysis, and I intend to do so.

Display:
I find that here at ET, especially reading Jerome, that I really need to sit back and suppress all those assumptions one places on ordinary conversation. The reason appears to be simple: Jerome and I operate from different complexes of values. Though he has a wonderful command of English, his viewpoint, based on an entirely alien set of expectations, is something I must "translate" as if he wrote in French.

It can be disconcerting, and I wonder what is lost in my translation.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:24:43 PM EST
I understood everything you wrote until I reached this comment. Care to elaborate? :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 05:21:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you've studied writing then you should be familiar with the concept of "voice". I'm certain I'm preaching to the choir here, but that's the closest analog I can think of.

There's always a way of expression that differs from the suburban/working class background I come from. One of the most disconcerting interactions I've ever gone through (many times) is in dealing with the wealthier, prep-school males living right here north of Boston. Without exception, whenever I have spoken with them, I am subject to a blatant stare, as if I'm being sized up apart from what I say. I find it impossible to interpret, and hard to describe. That's the sort of the thing I refer to here.

With Jerome, there's a certain flatness (though I got his "I'm a banker and not all of us f*cked up" right off the bat). Idiom plays a part, I suppose.

"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 11:46:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think get what you say now, but further elaboration wouldn't hurt either. Diary material even? :)

But it's funny, how I haven't thought about it all, at least on this site. No problem understanding what people mean at all, at least in the threads I read. And by that I mean there's no problem understanding their, shall we call it, presentation or jargon? I still might not understand what it actually is they mean, but not because the presentation is alien.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:35:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think get what you say now, but further elaboration wouldn't hurt either. Diary material even? :)

Seconded. I'd be curious about "all those assumptions one places on ordinary conversation", about the recognisable different elements between papicek's and Jérôme's complex of values, and what has to be translated from Jérôme-ish, in much more detail.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will note one observation for my part, when I felt similar to what I read papicek to describe.

OnUS blogs and web forums, I became aware of a form of argumentation I would call "conviction politics" for lack of a better word. I largely sense it as the logical fallacy "it must be true because I/someone I quote display/s a strong conviction in it". But I sense that there is more to it: it is used even alongside "strong" arguments, not just to coat BS in it; and it can be effective for BS even when I'd think the snake-oil-mna-ship should be obvious to anyone.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:53:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Faith-based debating?

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 02:44:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reaching back...decades ago when I was in anthropology class (I don't believe you guys never heard of this stuff - the whole complex cultural norms in conversation) one of the topics was about intercultural communication.

People in different cultures converse differently, which can at time be disconcerting and be misunderstood. Things like personal space. Cultural norms about when people conversing look at each other and look away. Gesture.

There was a story about a US ambassador to Brazil (I think. Somewhere in Latin America anyway.) The Brazilian, trying to be welcoming, kept approaching the ambassador and invading his personal space (a cultural norm among white North Americans). The ambassador felt uncomfortable (intimidated?) and kept backing away. The Brazilian, thinking that the ambassador wasn't getting the good vibes he was trying to express, kept closing in, and so on. The way I remember it, the two of them did this dance around a table a few times.

We were given an assignment. Describe the ways white and black American males converse differently. We all missed one glaringly obvious trait: when two white males converse, the listener watches the speaker and the speaker gave no more than an odd glance to the listener. Who looked at whom reversed when the other spoke. Among black males, the opposite was true. The speaker stared at the listener, the listener gazed elsewhere. I can speak to this behavior myself, having repeatedly observed it (though this may have been a temporary faddish mannerism - I hardly see it at all nowadays.)

Obama has a habit when he speaks of filling his pauses with an, "uhhhhh". He exhales when he does this, which signals that he's lost the train of thought. Were he inhaling, it would signal that he has a firm grip on the idea, but that he needs to marshall the proper phrasing. And appears much more sure of himself.

I'm usually pretty good at spotting emotional reactions in myself. Lemme look. . . .

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 12:11:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's not a cultural thing, but a style thing. I had to reread the last half-dozen diaries Jerome posted. He's fluent, and has idiom down pat. So neither of those are it.

His sentences though. The sentences are correct. The rule of thumb is that a sentence expresses a single, simple thought, and even in his longer sentences, Jerome's not missing this from what I see here. Even in his longest sentences, the subject-predicate-object relationship is always clear. His rhythm is a bit off for me though, and I think that's it. That, and I would expect more linking words than he uses in his longer (lots of those - more than I expected to see there) sentences as well.

Don't get me wrong, I can't fault his writing. It's better than that of most Americans I know. However, if he had named himself Jerome a New York, I think I'd still feel there was a foreign influence there.

Just to test myself, I took a quick glance at Bradbury's memo to Rizzo concerning interrogation techniques permissible under 18 USC §§2340-2340A. (It was handy.) By the opening of the second paragraph: "A paramount recognition emphasized in our 2004 Legal Standards Opinion. . ." and I was saying to myself, yup, that's an American voice. I can hear that officious-sounding voice as I read. It sounds fairly youthful, very clear, and forthright. It's a voice that puts an emotional content behind his text in a way that I recognize. I can't hear Jerome well at all. It's as if he's mumbling. The exception was his "I am a banker. Some of us didn't f*ck up" diary. That one came through very clear throughout. (Jerome's voice is something like..."husky", in case you wondered. Throaty. Not nasal at all.)

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 01:18:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

It would be interesting if you did this kind of "voice" analysis for more diaries and posters...

I'm curious: what is my voice like, and why?

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 Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 03:29:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of us use many 'voices' - talking to friends, colleagues, the kids, the dog, in court,  at ET, etc. Most of us do not change our voice consciously, it is behavioural - based on the stimulus and the context.


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 04:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Writers and actors can modulate their "voice". It's not like it can't be done.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:19:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you don't "hear" what you read? I always have. I talk to myself when I write as well. I thought everybody did.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:09:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm asking you what you hear when you read me.

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 Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something sardonic. A little angry.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't. (It shouldn't be surprising as I'm much better at written than spoken English.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 01:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, that's an American voice. I can hear that officious-sounding voice as I read. It sounds fairly youthful, very clear, and forthright.

IOW, straight-talkin'? Funny, that's how I would characterise Jérôme's writing. Certainly not mumbling. (Even funnier: I haven't met him in real life yet, but in a BBC clip of him, he does speak as if mumbling, and certainly at a for me surprisingly slow pace.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 05:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He does write like that. He just doesn't sound like it.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:24:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"He does write like that. He just doesn't sound like it."

Let me clarify. One of the things I was looking at was if he marshalled his arguments in a way unfamiliar to me. But that wasn't it. I found his thoughts flow naturally one to the other as I would expect. It's really his sentences.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 10:09:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Jerome's voice is something like..."husky", in case you wondered"

That's hilarious.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 01:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all missed one glaringly obvious trait: when two white males converse, the listener watches the speaker and the speaker gave no more than an odd glance to the listener. Who looked at whom reversed when the other spoke. Among black males, the opposite was true.

In a previous comment, you also wrote:

the wealthier, prep-school males living right here north of Boston. Without exception, whenever I have spoken with them, I am subject to a blatant stare, as if I'm being sized up apart from what I say.

Maybe it's the same thing with black males and wealthy white males?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 05:22:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could very well be. I tend to watch and then look away, then re-engage when the speaker is wrapping his comment up. I've no idea why I do it. There's a rhythm to it though, and I have no feeling of not being engaged with the speaker at any part of the conversation.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:41:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For years, I've been calling that the "what I believe constitutes a moral imperative for everyone else" syndrome.

Let me embolden that.

The so-called "democratic fallacy". It's a blind spot for many of us in the US, and it becomes a stronger trait as one's level of education rises.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about the if you don't believe what I believe you must be a liar or a moron syndrome?

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 Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was being charitable. I'm a smoker who has been battered by this attitude for decades.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:44:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't let Jerome find out.

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 Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:47:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Et pourquoi? What has my habit to do with his life? Am I not free?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 09:50:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thirded, because I have NO idea what you guys are talking about, but it seems really interesting.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 02:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be suspicious of the World Values Survey.

The question you should ask yourself is whether you can really grasp what a culture values through a survey instrument, because much of what constitutes culture is invisible to the people who live in that culture.

There's a whole mess of fight on methodology here.

And.....

A second thing that should concern everyone is the implicit believe that there is a universal development trajectory, which is implicit in the WVS approach.

First lower level needs (aka food, shelter, etc) are met, and then higher level needs (what is the purpose of life, etc.) are met.

Rationality is moving from lower level to higher level needs, so that poor people are in essence irrational and undeserving of our respect.

At heart it's an elitist approach.

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 Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 01:09:16 PM EST
so I'm not surprised at being taken in. Yeah, I asked a statician to look at the site and evaluate the validity of the work, and never heard back from him.

Nonetheless, I think certain inferences can be made, and I'll hazard being called irrational, self-reinforcing, and elitist, and say that the study doesn't need to be taken as gospel and may still yield important insights.

In addition, I think that if you look closely at the cultural map, you'll see that some countries that one can characterize as developing actually score higher than the US in the traditional-rational scale. (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. Uruguay and Macedonia. All of eastern Europe.) The authors recognize that history and religious life are hugely important.

So I'll remain in danger of committing an elitist fallacy and see where the data leads. Another wave of survey is due to be conducted in the next two years. Perhaps we'll witness the complete collapse of the validity of their conclusions.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 01:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just looked at the cultural map. On what planet are Greece and Israel "protestant Europe", Uruguay "catholic Europe" and Portugal "Latin America"? Why is Romania not "catholic Europe"? Are Georgia Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Jordan are "South Asia"?

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 Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Switzerland is in Protestant Europe, even though they have more Catholics than Protestants.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good question. There's where history applies. It's not to say there aren't anomalies in the data, I'd be amazed if there weren't, however as far as Israel goes, I'd speculate that the values they largely reflect derive from the split from the areas of Eastern Europe where most settlers came from a century ago.

Mere speculation on my part. Of course their definitions, the structure of the questionaires, their basic assumptions color the study, however it's important to stress that the positions on the cultural map are hardly static. The authors point out that any tendency towards rationality can be put into reverse. Their point is that it tends to correlate to economic conditions and their place in the human development sequence (agrarian/industrial/post-industrial).

Having said that, the data explains lots and nothing at all at the same time. For instance, I might have expected that the impulse to entrepreneurship to be exaggerated in self-expressive societies, but I happen to know that in the US, immigrant communities (whether from poorer Asian or Latin America countries) are exactly as entrepreneurial as better educated, richer, North Americans.

One of the things Inglehart and Welzel postulated was that the study might have value even if complex societal values constructs could be reduced to these two scales. Of course nuance is sacrificed. Any study acccurately reflecting the true complexities in the world would reult in a replica of the world, and be totally useless.

The value derived from a study like this, I think, tends to lie in areas where societies intersect and communication, with all the promise of the mixing as well as all the risk of misunderstanding, occurs.

Public diplomacy. International relations. Cross-cultural exchange.

Nowhere in the study do the researchers make judgements about the values they describe. I would go further than they, and speculate that the irrational faith in the "American ideal" is largely what keeps the polyglot of nationalities and regional identities from flying apart.

I credit the authors with finding a valuable line of inquiry - one that should be explored further.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 09:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
as far as Israel goes, I'd speculate that the values they largely reflect derive from the split from the areas of Eastern Europe where most settlers came from a century ago
Such as... Catholic Poland?

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 04:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'm dubious of any servey that finds Israel more rational than Spain.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 07:58:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the cultural map shows Spain, Israel and Croatia as nearest neighbours of each other, presumably within error bounds...

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 09:29:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact the geographical origin of immigrants to Israel is very heterogeneous, with an important contribution by Jews from Muslim countries: the Ottoman Empire, Yemen, North Africa, Iran, Iraq. See Wikipedia: Aliyah

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.
by Vagulus on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 08:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
Good question. There's where history applies. It's not to say there aren't anomalies in the data, I'd be amazed if there weren't, however as far as Israel goes, I'd speculate that the values they largely reflect derive from the split from the areas of Eastern Europe where most settlers came from a century ago.
What is remarkable is that Israel and Greece are coloured as outliers when they are not arguably part of the group they are coloured with.

They are not "Catholic Europe" either, of course, but they are "Mediterranean".

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 09:32:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is Romania not "catholic Europe"?

Because it is overwhelmingly Orthodox?



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 10:05:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, I stand corrected...

Romania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The dominant religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church, an autocephalous church within the Eastern Orthodox communion; its members make up 86.7% of the population according to the 2002 census.


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 10:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(BTW, note that Catholics are even out-numbered by Protestants, if you combine their various branches. Most of these Catholics and almost all Protestants are among the ethnic minorities of Transsylvania.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 10:24:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More on strange cultural groupings: I raised my eyebrows seeing the (un-inscribed) Orthodox camp. Bosnia is only minority Muslim, but Albania is majority so. Meanwhile Baltic countries: Lithuania is clearly Catholic; in Latvia, there is no dominant religion but of the three major groups, both Lutherans and Catholics outnumber the Orthodox; while in Estonia, Lutherans outnumber the Orthodox.

And, then again, in some ex-commie countries (including Estonia), those with religious affiliations of even just the cultural kind are a minority...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 10:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Georgia may be underdeveloped economically, but it had one of the highest rate of post secondary education in the USSR...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:20:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't realize that. All sorts of semi-revealing factoids are out there, for example: a greater percentage of Iranian women attend university than American women. I don't know what this says for Iranian society vis-a-vis American society, but it is almost certain that most Americans don't realize this and would be stung by the comparison.

I say: more power to Iranian women.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 09:32:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All you have to realize is that it is a former Soviet Republic. The "ex-communist" countries are clustered in the rational - survival region of the map.

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 03:59:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
papicek:
All sorts of semi-revealing factoids are out there, for example: a greater percentage of Iranian women attend university than American women.
When I took part in the International Mathematical Olympiad I observed the Iranian team in a study session.

The Iranian team was one of very few teams to have any girls in the team. In fact it was 3 male and 3 female students, which must have put them at the top of the female opportunity league just behind Denmark.

However, the boys and girls sat at separate tables several metres apart and studied separately, with the instructor going back and forth between the two tables.

I don't know what this says for Iranian society vis-a-vis American society
I don't either, other than it's a different society.

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 05:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Integrated but separate. That's one of those things I'd note and file away. I have no idea if it means anything, what that might be, or how it all works out (in both senses).

But I' remember it.

"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 07:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that girls do better if separated from boys in school. It may also be the case that boys also do better.

That said, there are some problems with sex segregation.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 12:24:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Im sure I've read somewhere that most of seperate sex schools apparent difference in performance is down to socio-economic factors. Richer parents with more of a culture of family education are more likely to select single sex schools, and so it only appears that single sex schools outperform mixed sex schools.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 12:28:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the Physics Olympiad, some of the Arabian teams make an explicit political point of gender balancing - or at least they did when I attended, but that's been the next best thing to five years...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 05:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:

There's a whole mess of fight on methodology here.

They use factor analysis. You can take any number of survey questions and get out a collection of "synthetic" factors which "explain" a large fraction of the variance in survey answers. You then try to assign a meaning to the factors, if you can come up with one, based on the weights each survey question has in each factor.

As a methodology it's just a dimension reduction technique. On whether you can then run with the factors and make inferences from them, this was thoroughly debunked by Stephen Jay Gould (a self-confessed fan of factor analysis as a data reduction technique) in connection with single-factor models of human intelligence (IQ) in The Mismeasure of Man.

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 Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no idea what that means, but in the near future, I intend to find out.

In the meantime, I'll take your word for it :)

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 09:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Wikipedia
Factor analysis is a statistical method used to describe variability among observed variables in terms of fewer unobserved variables called factors. The observed variables are modeled as linear combinations of the factors, plus "error" terms. The information gained about the interdependencies can be used later to reduce the set of variables in a dataset. Factor analysis originated in psychometrics, and is used in behavioral sciences, social sciences, marketing, product management, operations research, and other applied sciences that deal with large quantities of data.
If you
have no idea what that means
maybe you shouldn't be saying
Nonetheless, I think certain inferences can be made
...

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 03:56:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, a linearization, essentially...

Why do those seem to keep popping up in social, political and economic studies?

Wait. Don't answer that. I'm not sure I want to know.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 03:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
So, a linearization, essentially...
Dimension reduction - find a conveniently small subset of linear combinations of the mass of observed variables which captures a suitably large fraction of the total variance.
Why do those seem to keep popping up in social, political and economic studies?
Because linear algebra is the only thing we humans know how to work with...

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 04:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dimension reduction - find a conveniently small subset of linear combinations of the mass of observed variables which captures a suitably large fraction of the total variance.

As hypothesis-testing goes, that strikes me as putting the cart before the horse. If they have a hypothesis for how the data should behave, then why are they not just fitting directly to their hypothesis? And if they don't have a hypothesis, then it sounds suspiciously like a fishing expedition. Which, like all fishing expeditions, runs a large risk of bycatch. Are they modeling signal, or are they modeling noise here?

Because linear algebra is the only thing we humans know how to work with...

And it is, after all, better to be very precisely wrong than to be roughly right...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 04:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
As hypothesis-testing goes, that strikes me as putting the cart before the horse. If they have a hypothesis for how the data should behave, then why are they not just fitting directly to their hypothesis?
Because they don't have a hypothesis. Factor analysis should be seen as an exploratory data analysis technique.

If you then colour-code the points and find that the former Soviet Republics and the English-speaking countries form two distinct clusters in the sense that the within-group variance in the two-factor space is smaller than the between-group variance, then you have discovered something. Assuming that the two factors, together, explain a sufficiently high amount of the overall variance to begin with.

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 04:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong with trying to reduce complex phenomena to more simply defined ones - or at least to try to explain complex phenomena with respect to a few variables and see how well those variables can explain observed data.  But you then have to understand that you are working with your model of reality, and not with reality itself.  And the model you use may well help to determine the results you achieve.  The observer (and his/her mindset/model) is part of the processes he observes.

There is no doubt that the "modernisation" model appeals to (even if it is not confined to) the "advanced" societal mindset which implicitly sees a progressive evolution from feudal/agricultural to urban/industrial and post industrial "advanced" "knowledge" based societies.  It's about understanding (and helping) underdeveloped societies to develop and become more like us.

Its a sucker argument if you want to pull in the research funding dollars...

Equally, it can be argued, that even Marxist class based analyses also contain deterministic evolutionary elements (feudal, capitalistic, socialistic) or that a religious model - which defines everything in terms of a theological understanding of God/Allah's will - is also as much about shaping how societies can develop as it is about describing how they have/can develop.  Your research dollars come from different sources if these are the models you want to apply.

The "success" of the western modernisation model - as defined by its post WW2 - economic/political/technological/military success - has radically shaped hearts and minds - and it is not surprising that many people, in both the "developed" and "undeveloped" world subscribe to it - even if only unconsciously.  But is that a measure of the theory's innate explanatory power, or of the political/economic forces that have made it the dominant mode of popular (and elite) consciousness?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 07:20:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
But is that a measure of the theory's innate explanatory power, or of the political/economic forces that have made it the dominant mode of popular (and elite) consciousness?

great question.

i think it's a case of overshoot, too much of a good thing, what starts off healthy move then morphs into a sick one.

for example,  'economic development' is a no-brainer Good Thing for the very poor, and at the other end of the scale, behold the corruption and headgames of the US financial usury machine/Ponzi scams industry.

(of course madison avenue and sheer novelty are the hook, the barb comes later, when the food aid displaces local businesses, the GM seeds supplant the traditional, IMF loans cripple the economy with debt etc etc...)

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 08:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Nothing wrong with trying to reduce complex phenomena to more simply defined ones - or at least to try to explain complex phenomena with respect to a few variables and see how well those variables can explain observed data.  But you then have to understand that you are working with your model of reality, and not with reality itself.  And the model you use may well help to determine the results you achieve.  The observer (and his/her mindset/model) is part of the processes he observes.

There is no doubt that the "modernisation" model appeals to (even if it is not confined to) the "advanced" societal mindset which implicitly sees a progressive evolution from feudal/agricultural to urban/industrial and post industrial "advanced" "knowledge" based societies.

But the validity of factor analysis for "dimension reduction" is independent of the "modernisation" model or even the "modernisation agenda" you summarise as
It's about understanding (and helping) underdeveloped societies to develop and become more like us.


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 09:24:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not querying the math - see first para. -  but saying that how/when/where it is applied may be a political choice or based on available funding.  Neither am I dismissing the modernisation theory entirely - it is a model that can be applied - just saying that it is not the only, or necessarilly the "best" theory, but that it is very congruent with the dominant western conceptions of development and underdevelopment.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:48:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can buy that. But then you'd need a new data set to test your hypothesis on. Preferably a reasonably independent data set... Presenting a hypothesis based on a data set, and then using the same data set to make predictions... that strikes me as falling dangerously close to a fishing expedition.

But of course it's possible that I'm applying the standards of physics (where you can almost always just take another data series) to a discipline to which it is not applicable (because we only have one data set - the Earth).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 06:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like almost anything ChrisCook says, the description doesn't help me. I'll have to get my hands on the tools, learn how, then run a factor analysis and view its strengths and weaknesses. I've never gone anywhere near trying that before.

Before the year is out. New goal.

"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 08:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have suggested reading the appropriate chapter of The Mismeasuer of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. You might also want to try chapter 5 (and possibly also chapters 4, 10 and 11) of Introduction to Multivariate Analysis by Chris Chatfield. I presume you have access to a university library?

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 09:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As to
get my hands on the tools, learn how, then run a factor analysis
just install R on your computer...

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 09:22:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The methodological concern relates less to operationalization than to conceptualization.

It's about something called subjective/intersubjective views of culture.

The subjective view of culture says that there is nothing that is shared across people in a society.  Culture is basically the sum total of all opinions in a society.  So that concepts don't have meanings that are the same across actors.

The intersubjective view of culture says that culture is more than the sum of opinions in a society.  It's something that has shared meaning across individuals.  So for example various words like democracy and the like have the same shared meaning to Swiss people in the four national languages.  But, the meaning is not the same between Swiss German and Bavarian German.  

I hope that was clear, but it's a huge issue.

The WVS relies upon methodological individualism, so there is in essence, no such thing as society.  Only individuals.

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 Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 11:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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 ]
ManfromMiddletown:
So for example various words like democracy and the like have the same shared meaning to Swiss people in the four national languages.  But, the meaning is not the same between Swiss German and Bavarian German.  

So shared meanings are defined by national boundaries and not by cultural/lingusitic ones?  Is there not a very overt nationalism or at least nation state bias in this approach?

One could argue that Irish middle class values are closer to British middle class values than they are to working class values.  So what is the relevance of the "national" boundary?  Of course subjective statements like that are subject to hypothesising and testing, and may actually be untrue.  But what I am objecting to is the a priori nation state focus of the methodology.  Why not test by class, age group, occupational grouping, public/private sector, as well nas nationality, and see which (somewhat artificially defined) factor is the most important, rather than assuming that the nation state is some sort of ahistorical and pre-created given.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 07:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
So shared meanings are defined by national boundaries and not by cultural/lingusitic ones?
MfM's point is that there are ways in which, say, Swiss German culture is more similar to that of the other Swiss linguistic communities than it is to other German-speaking communities in other countries.

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 07:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not arguing that national boundaries are not a factor, merely that you cannot presume, a priori, that they are a given, or the most important factor.  It seems logical that the citizen's of (say) Geneva - a cosmopolitan/international city will have more in common with each other (whether German/French or other mother tongue speaking - than they would have with a rural village in Bavaria, or even a (somewhat) comparable city like Munich. The more interesting/explanatory analysis may be by religious/non-religious background, age group, rural/urban, class, occupation, education level, linguistic abilities etc.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 07:30:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
I'm not arguing that national boundaries are not a factor, merely that you cannot presume, a priori, that they are a given, or the most important factor.

...

The more interesting/explanatory analysis may be by religious/non-religious background, age group, rural/urban, class, occupation, education level, linguistic abilities etc.

The question of explanatory power is presumably an empirical question, unlike the question of what is "more interesting".

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 09:27:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So shared meanings are defined by national boundaries and not by cultural/lingusitic ones?  Is there not a very overt nationalism or at least nation state bias in this approach?

Not necessarily. That example relates to political concepts, which are intimately tied to the nation/state, but the in group/ out group can be put together entirely differently.

For example, a religious group group can have an understanding of salvation that cross national borders, but is incomprehensible to people who aren't members of that religious group.  For example, predestination versus good works.  

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 10:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You beat me to it.. the problem is not math (maths is generally correct if it is done by someon who knows).

To make a synthesis of both perception...Culture is a sum of attitudes which give you a plying field, so to speak. It is a playing field of common symbolic objects with a  set of particular players which give new meaning and redifine the playing field.

Exploring the playing field is tough... doinbg it with a survey... probably impossible...

I repeat again Man point...indudually you can not get the playing field of symbolic options...

It is like trying to understand soccer by just looking only at how the legs of a player move... tough...

You at least need to check how the players move so as to know what are the rules of the game.

Most anthropologists prefer the option of "playing the game".. this is.. trying to live among the group of people you are interested in and record them at the same time.

Anf I finish my metaphors here....:)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 11:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elisits... probably.. but false, for sure.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 11:23:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Don't expect rationality from Americans
I find it fascinating in light of the fact that Lisbon failed in Ireland where "traditional" values hold sway over rational empiricism, even more so than in the United States.

I find this statement very counter-intuitive in that, in my view, Ireland has changed more in the past 20 years than any other country I know.  I haven't the time at the moment to consult the world values survey on which the statement is presumably based, but if I get the time I may do so.

Having said that, I am extremely sceptical of "modernization" theories and am not sure I could buy into the theoretical framework the "empirical" study is allegedly based on.

Is the reference to the rejection of Lisbon reference also based on that study?  If so the authors are in for a rude shock, because if current surveys are correct, Lisbon will be passed by at least a 60:40 margin if a second referendum is held - without necessitating or presuming any change in the underlying value systems.

Modernization theory is as dubious in sociology as neo-lib economics is in economics.  It reflects the values of its authors more than it provides any interesting insights into the societies in purports to study...  (But that's just my dogmatic assertion based on previous encounters with that sort of theorising...)

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:25:25 PM EST
Countries are resurveyed every "wave". How this data is reflected in that map, I'm not qualified to say: the most recent survey? Some kind of averaging of all the surveys conducted in that country? Not all countries have participated in every wave. Some have been only in the last, and more countries will be added (specifically, Inglehart and Welzel intend to include more Islamic countries in the next survey for the first time).

Well, this may turn out to be the next incarnation of social darwinist type theorizing, I'll update you a few years from now :)

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 09:48:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger

Is the reference to the rejection of Lisbon reference also based on that study?

That was just a passing observation on my part. I know that any specific issue, election, or personality depends on lots of factors besides any description of a societies values. The attractiveness of the personalities involved. Historical accident. Who has the better field/media/organizational structure (etc). Discipline. Reaction to recent history. (If all this sounds more like what matters most in US elections, it's because that is what I know best.)

Basically, I just had an "AHA!" moment when I saw where Ireland landed on the cultural map in relation to the rest of Europe. Would a differnet approach worked better during the Lisbon debate? I'm hardly the one to say, but I might seriously consider weighting my approach with this study in mind. If nothing else, it may test the validity and/or scope of the study's possible application.

That Jerome picked up on the lack of crowd reaction to Obama's saving "God's creation" phrasing was another "AHA!" moment.

For my part, the whole modernization leading toward democracy theory seems impractical anyways. I definitely don't buy the "democratic peace" theory either. (Democracies go to war as much as authoritarian or centralized states, but the almost never go to war against other democracies. I believe that if all the world were equally effective democracies, there would still be wars.)

Like Sergio Viera de Melo, I think it might make greater sense to emphasize, rather than democracy, enhancing individual dignity. That's something to think about, anyways.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 10:15:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder, how much of the national character depends on nation's elites or leaders, particularly of persistent power or influence holders. If the elites decide that consumption or religious irrationality serves them best, wouldn't they build workings of the whole society accordingly? After all, people like to follow each other, especially the most successful or powerful.
by das monde on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 07:11:11 AM EST
Good point. I would expect that religous/mystical societies work best (or only) when populations are insulated from non-believers, The study puts an economic spin to this idea. Accoding to the authors, religious societies work best in heavily agrarian economies. Indusry is, they say, a product of human as opposed to divine, ingenuity.

The authors contend that both agrarian and industrial societies retard (no pun intended, please) self-expression.

I have never met an elite bright enough to impose a culture, but the study may point towards the dynamic that reinforces one trait over another. Which my be the study's only value.

"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 08:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Case in point: the attitude of Lenin and Trotsky towards the value of religion in society.  The cause and effect is rather clear there.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:52:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Strictly speaking you don't know what the effect is since the WVS wasn't being conducted 90 years ago.

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 03:42:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I somehow have difficulty imagining that a poll on the attitude of Soviet citizens towards the Russian Orthodox Church or religion in general would have shown ANY positive attitudes in the 1930s.  Just having a pollster pose the question would have been an effective immediate substitute for a laxative for those with any sympathy for religion during those times.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 10:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or we can look at the cognitive shifts regarding economy in China, Russia and Eastern Europe the last 20 years.
by das monde on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 07:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we look at those regions, the effect of the economic situation on the (less talked about in this diary) right-left dimension of the diagram should also be clear.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 10:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, one of the first maps presented in the book is broken down not by "Protestant Europe", "Catholic Europe", etc, but by income, low/middle/high, with the economic zones taken from the World Bank's World Development Indicators, 2002. I didn't see this map on the website. Frankly I paid more attention to the book which goes into greater detail on the methodology and theoretical spadework the authors rely on.

"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 11:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
57 percent of Icelanders do not deny the existence of elves, and another 8 percent profess to believe in them outright.

Just sayin' ...


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 10:37:45 AM EST
And Iceland is the least rational of the "Protestant Europe" country according to the cultural map...

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 10:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that irrational - these are Protestant elves.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 12:20:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A symptom of banking collapse? and has the current situation there shifted them towards the survival side of the graph?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 10:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would make them "ex-communist" :-)

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 10:47:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably wishing they were communist.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:14:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This survey was taken long before the banking crisis.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:15:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just considering the next one.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or a symptom of... humour?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 10:21:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the survey mistranslated "elves" as "leprechauns." From the way they were printing money back when the survey was taken, they must've believed that they had a leprechaun in every volcano...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 06:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ok, who posted the pic? Is that legal?

"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 10:02:44 AM EST
I did. Do you want me to delete it?

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 10:04:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking of doing so myself, but didn't know if it was allowed even under fair use. It certainly makes things more convenient.

Let it stay up. If the authors have any objection, I'd reply that all this disccussion amounts to free advertising anyway, and besides, I bought the damn book, didn't I?

"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 10:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing the picture does is drive home that the title of this particular diary borders on America-bashing. "Americans value rational reasoning less than any other country in Europe" with the exceptions of Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Turkey...

I'd like to see "error bars" on this stuff, if it were possible to come up with them...

by asdf on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 12:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
asdf:
this particular diary borders on America-bashing
America-bashing on ET normally comes from American writers.

Just sayin'

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 Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 03:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Listen to mig...he knows whereof he speaks.

Besides, Poland being on a par with the US on the secular/rationality scale, all of Europe lies north of the US on the rationality scale, except, like I mentioned, Ireland.

If you feel this diary only borders on America bashing, then I must be clearer: This diary definitely constitutes America-bashing.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 10:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
except, like I mentioned, Ireland.

And Portugal and Turkey, as asdf mentioned. (Portugal somehow got misplaced into Latin America.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 01:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just checked the map...good catch on Portugal, though I always thought Turkey fell in Asia.

Just checked an online map which puts Turkey in Asia like I thought.

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

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 08:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though most of it is in Asia, Turkey spans two continents. The border of Europe and Asia is the Bosphorus, the historical core of Istambul is on the European side.

Meanwhile, in various fields, Turkey is bound to Europe stronger than to Asia: NATO membership, Council of Europe membership, aspiration to join the EU, UEFA membership [for the uninitiated: the European federation of football associations, which is something like MLB, NLF and NBA combined in importance], Eurovision membership.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 02:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, on the map you link, there is the area explicitely marked "European Turkey".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 02:51:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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