Thursday, December 26, 2013

Micro-Posts for Boxing Day 2013

1.  Two Pussy Riot members have been freed which is good news.  But read about their experiences in prison.

2.  Why the Republican Party has a tiny problem with  women:  Their main pundits find women really yucky people unless properly controlled.  The question why those are the main pundits deserves a much deeper post than this but you can figure the answer for yerselves.  Also check out what Fox News thinks of the frightening wussification of America, because that, too, is linked to the Republican war against womenfolks.

3.  Contents:  Violence.
This series of pictures on mass killings at USAToday earlier in December is informative.  But one of the pictures (the second under "suspects") and the attached text are utterly weird.  The picture tells us the percentages of mass killing suspects who are men (94%) and the percentages of mass killing suspects who are women (4%). Yet the text goes: "While both men and women commit mass killings, their choices of weapons and the outcomes of their cases are different."

That is truly weak tea, to ignore the difference in the percentages.  An occupational field with those percentages would be regarded as almost totally sex-segregated, for instance, and there could be something we can learn from that gender difference, and that something could help in reducing mass killings more generally (better social support for men in trouble?  less access to guns which kill quickly and easily? different ideas about what masculinity means?)

4.  On economic inequality:  Is that the greatest economic challenge of our time?  That's the debate which took place during December 2013.  Brad Plumer threw a pebble into the churning waters by writing about the various theories explaining how inequality could hurt economic growth and the fact that research hasn't been able to decisively prove those hurts.  Ezra Klein argued that unemployment is the real challenge today, not economic inequality.  Paul Krugman and Kathleen Geier vote for inequality as the most urgent underlying problem.

I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about this debate, only that the impact of increasing economic inequality on our political outcomes shouldn't be ignored in it.  Given the way the US political system is financed, rising inequality is likely to a) increase the relative power of the 1% over the 99% and of firms over workers, and b) to the extent people want their own interests to be considered when they donate money, the political outcomes are going to produce more inequality, not less, because the higher the inequality in wealth and income becomes, the more the concerns of the wealthy and the less wealthy will diverge.  Or that would be my guess.