Elizabeth Anderson Beyond Homo Economicus: New Developments in Theories of Social Norms (image via http://www-personal.umich.edu/~eandersn/norms.pdf)

Elizabeth Anderson – Beyond Homo Economicus: New Developments in Theories of Social Norms

“For more than a century, Homo economicus has exclusively populated the theoretical world of economics. This model of the rationally self-interested actor has also come to dominate substantial subfields of political science, sociology, law, and philosophy. However, many theorists doubt whether this model can explain most social phenomena unless it is supplemented with more socially sophisticated elements, such as so- cial and ethical values, altruism, and desires for social status. Among these theorists are Avner Ben-Ner and Louis Putterman, who have published the results of such supplementation by various contributors in Economics, Values, and Organization. The contributors ask: Why and when do people cooperate? How do social norms evolve? How do values and incentives interact and influence social organizations and market outcomes?

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Michel_Foucault the subject and power (image via www.ub.edu)

Michel Foucault – The Subject and Power

“A writer in a well-known French newspaper once expressed his surprise: “Why is the notion of power raised by so many people today? Is it such an important subject? Is it so independent that it can be discussed without taking into account other problems?” This writer’s surprise amazes me. I feel skeptical about the assumption that this question has been raised for the first time in the twentieth century. Anyway, for us it is not only a theoretical question but a part of our experience. I’d like to mention only two “pathological forms” —those two “diseases of power”— fascism and Stalinism.

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Insatiable Curiosity innovation context (image via www.timeshighereducation.co.uk)

Helga Nowotny – Insatiable Curiosity

“An innovative idea is recognizable by the fact that it surprises. The greater the surprise, the more innovative the idea. But innovations do not consist solely of ideas, even if ideas are where they start from. Innovations are tied to the respective context.They consist in the recognition and implementation of new possibilities that reach beyond the tested or accustomed routine. They are defined by their success, which consists in opening up new spaces for activity, whether in connection with technological products, new markets, organizational adjustments, or other social arrangements.

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Pierre Bourdieu the market of symbolic goods (image via edge.ua.edu)

Pierre Bourdieu – The Market of Symbolic Goods

The Logic of Process Automization

“Dominated by external sources of legitimacy throughout the middle ages, part of the Renaissance and, in the case of French court life, throughout the classical age, intellectual and artistic life has progressively freed itself from aristocratic and ecclesiastical tutelage as well as from its aesthetic and ethical demands. This process is correlated with the constant growth of a public of potential consumers, of increasing social diversity, which guarantee the producers of symbolic goods minimal conditions of economic independence and, also, a competing principle of legitimacy.

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Taylor scientific management (image via en.wikipedia.org)

Frederick W. Taylor – The Principles of Scientific Management

“President Roosevelt, in his address to the Governors at the White House, prophetically remarked that “The conservation of our national resources is only preliminary to the larger question of national efficiency.” The whole country at once recognized the importance of conserving our material resources and a large movement has been started which will be effective in accomplishing this object.

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Habermas Reason and the rationalization of society (image via www.politipedia.pt)

Jürgen Habermas – Reason and the Rationalization of Society

“The rationality of beliefs and actions is a theme usually dealt with in philosophy. One could even say that philosophical thought originates in reflection on the reason embodied in cognition, speech, and action; and reason remains its basic theme. From the beginning philosophy has endeavored to explain the world as a whole, the unity in the multiplicity of appearances, with principles to be discovered in reason-and not in communication with a divinity beyond the world nor, strictly speaking, even in returning to the ground of a cosmos encompassing nature and society.

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Inequality and economic efficiency of society through the prism of thermodynamics (image by www.ima.umn.edu)

Ksenzhek & Petrova – Inequality and Economic Efficiency of Society through the Prism of Thermodynamics

“Inequality, when it refers to social problems, is a word which rather readily excites passions. During at least two centuries it remains a permanent matter of a great number of economic, sociological, and in some cases even political works. The phenomenon of inequality is perceived often almost as a synonym of ”injustice”. That is unjust, however, because since Adam Smith it is clear that inequality plays really the dual role. On the one hand, inequality is a mechanism of development, and on the other a standing source of poverty and social tensions. An ever-growing degree of inequality that accompanies rapid development of contemporary economy excites both the general public and experts in sociology and economy. Inequality in society has indeed two aspects: social and economic one. The former manifests itself in the difference of living standards of various social strata of society: the real disparity in housing conditions, in the accessibility of education, adequate medical care, legal protection, and the like. On the economic plane, inequality is expressed in the disparity of incomes.

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edward cheung social cycles

Edward Cheung | Baby Boomers, Generation X and Social Cycles

Change happens around us everyday, but understanding change has always been difficult. Why did a generation become infatuated with rock ‘n’ roll and the civil rights movement? Why did our focus change to an obsession with the stock market and in investing in ever larger homes? What is the future of pensions and healthcare when Baby Boomers retire? The answers to these and many other questions can be found in our understanding of our past.

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milton friedman capitalism and freedom (image via www.themainewire.com)

Milton Friedman – Capitalism and Freedom

In discussing the principles of a free society it is desirable to have a convenient label and this has become extremely difficult. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, an intellectual movement developed that went under the name of Liberalism. This development, which was a reaction against the authoritarian elements in the prior society, emphasized freedom as the ultimate goal and the individual as the ultimate entity in the society.

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