Sometimes the way you conduct science has profound impacts on society as a whole. Malcolm Gladwell says the way we look at who is and who isn’t successful is crucial. He says it’s dangerous to think East Africans are good runners because they have an innate gene that makes them fast. Instead, you have to look at cultural attitudes. More people run in Kenya and Ethiopia than in the U.S. Therefore, those countries produce more successful runners. If you were to think if it in terms of genes, well, that’s the same philosophy that gets people thinking African–Americans aren’t as smart as whites. The real reasons behind success rates in professions like medicine and law have to do with class, not genius. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book is "Outliers: The Story of Success." He also writes for The New Yorker magazine. Gladwell spoke at Town Hall Seattle on January 17, 2009.
Tagged with “poverty” (3)
With vintage Russian black humor, Orlov described the social collapse he witnessed in Russia in the 1990s and spelled out its practical lessons for the American social collapse he sees as inevitable. The American economy in the 1990s described itself as “Goldilocks”—just the right size—when in fact is was “Tinkerbelle,” and one day the clapping stops. As in Russia, the US made itself vulnerable to the decline of crude oil, a trade deficit, military over-reach, and financial over-reach.
Russians were able to muddle through the collapse by finding ways to manage 1) food, 2) shelter, 3) transportation, and 4) security.
By way of readiness, Orlov urges all to prepare for life without a job, with near-zero burn rate. It takes practice to learn how to be poor well. Those who are already poor have an advantage.
Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs & Steel (and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed), offers some timely thoughts on why Haiti, once a fairly prosperous country, has sunk into enduring poverty — a condition not comparatively shared by its neighbor on the same island, the Dominican Republic. According to Diamond, Haiti’s environmental conditions offer a partial explanation. But you will also find clues in the country’s language, and in the legacy of slavery that has shaped Haiti’s economic relationship with Europe and the US. This interview — quite a good one — aired this morning in San Francisco.