Category Archives: Psychology

20th Century Sociological Trends – Political and Commercial

“The Century of the Self” is a documentary from the BBC which discusses how groups behave, and why. The psychology of individuals has implications when studying populations. Understanding the dynamics of groups has been used to engineer demand and consent for products and political views. This is a very interesting documentary, with detailed historical references.

“Consumerism was a way of giving people the illusion of control, while allowing a responsible elite to continue managing society”

  1. The Century of the Self (1 of 4)
  2. The Century of the Self (2 of 4)
  3. The Century of the Self (3 of 4)
  4. The Century of the Self (4 of 4)

Impose Tariff Triggers to Raise Global Labor Standards

Problem: The US has lost some of its competitive advantage with companies in other countries. A major part of this problem is the differences in economic policy and labor standards that prevail in various countries.

Solution: Set specific global Tariff Triggers. For example: 5% on countries that peg their currency, 10% on countries that allow child labor, 10% on countries that outlaw organized labor, etc. These numbers are just examples. The triggers should be set to offset some of the unfair competitive disadvantage.

Benefits: US workers will be competing more fairly with international competitors.

Some foreign countries will improve their labor standards in order to avoid tariffs on their exports. In those cases, US workers will benefit because the foreign competition will have have to operate under similar rules as US companies.

Some foreign countries will not change their labor standards or economic policies, so they will trigger the tariff. This will also protect US workers from those unfair practices (to some degree) because import tariffs drive up the prices of those specific competing imports.

View and comment at SinceSlicedBread

Approval Voting for the President

Problem: Presidential politics is broken. Elections are negative and third party candidates have no chance. Candidates know that they can gain advantage by slandering their opponent. Because we can only vote for one candidate, it’s not enough to show your qualifications; you also have to destroy the opponents.

Solution: Approval Voting! Allow voters to vote for as many candidates as we want.

Benefits: Every candidate will try to win your vote. Campaigns would be positive and collaborative, rather than negative and combative. You can vote for several candidates if you think they would each be a good President. Voting for 3rd party candidates would no longer be a wasted vote. These candidates would finally have a chance, and would be able to run without fear of “stealing” votes from other candidates. Finally, winners of Presidential elections would have much more votes, giving the country far less partisanship, and a greater feeling of approval.

This would change the nature of Presidential politics — for the far better.

View and comment at SinceSlicedBread.

North Korea

The conflict with North Korea is based on deception and fear.

North Korean leadership has deceived their population into believing that America started the Korean War and killed hundreds of thousands of Koreans. Based on this belief, North Koreans fear that Americans will attack and kill them. Their nuclear agenda may have started as part of their conflict with South Korea, but it has evolved into a defense against a perceived American attack.

To avoid war and encourage positive change, the US and the rest of the world should make an effort to integrate North Korea into the economic landscape. Companies and governments should offer to pay North Korea for exports — clothes, pots and pans, and basic manufactured goods to start. If the North Koreans can develop a growing economy, then greater employment will bring better education and reform.

With basic commercial trade, power is shifted slightly toward the economy and away from the state.

Bush’s 2nd Innaugural Address

Bush’s Innaugural address will be misunderstood by most of the world and will damage the global popular view of America.

His speech was intended to gain support for the war in Iraq among US citizens who are conflicted by the American sacrifices and intentions. Instead, the popular perception in most other nations will probably be that Bush was talking about their own nation: that Americans intend to export their political structure to every nation. Hopefully world leaders will hear the narrower interpretation that is truly an explanation for his actions in Iraq.

This is not America’s war in Iraq, it is the Iraqi war for freedom from tyranny. The methods of the insurgency prove this. America is there to support the Iraqis and help them in their cultural revolution. It will not be easy for them or for us, but Bush is sending a signal that we will be there to support the freedom revolution in Iraq.

The US has learned the hard lesson of letting go: vietnamization was hard, but it is well understood by today’s military that it should have happened sooner. The military will not make the same mistake again.