Archives



Don’t look for a nanny among immigrant day mothers

August 19, 1989

One of the few remaining taboo subjects in our society is the use of cheap, often-illegal, labor as in-house “day mothers.” Respected social-policy journals readily explore child abuse, AIDS, and even incest, but not the quality of such hired hands and the consequences of using them for child care.

Humble Decision Making

July 07, 1989

Old-fashioned decision making doesn't meet the needs of a world with too much information and too little time. So-called rational decision making, once the ideal, requires comprehensive knowledge of every facet of a problem, which is clearly impossible today. One of the most recent decision-making models, incrementalism, despairs of knowledge and instead concentrates on the smallest possible units of change-without any sense of grand design.

Humble Decision-Making Theory

July 01, 1989

Behavioural economics provides unusually robust data that show that people have hard- wired, systematic cognitive biases that greatly limit their intellectual capabilities.

Are Business Schools Brainwashing Their MBAs?

June 06, 1989

Soon business recruiters will ask prospective MBAs not only about their grade average, but how they scored in their ethics education.

Toward Deontological Social Sciences

June 01, 1989

Is it alright to cast one Christian to the lions, if it will provide considerable pleasure to many Romans?' was a question posed to a seminar.

Welfare for the Rich

May 01, 1989

If you think that practically everybody factors getting people off the dole, breaking their dependence on the government and making them earn their own keep, think again.

School Reform: A Serious Challenge for Business

May 01, 1989

Two cheers for the business community's newest venture: rehabilitating public education. At last, important segments of the business community are taking on school reform as a matter of vital interest both to them and to the country, rather than treating schools as just another charity.

Economics Alone Won’t Solve Saving Dilemma

April 25, 1989

The current concern over Americans’ low rate of saving and the search for a cure sharply illustrates the need to inject sociological, psychological and, yes, ethical considerations into economics. The source of this concern is widely identified as our citizen’s inability to provide the capital necessary for US investment.

Evading the Issues: Progressives' Political Taboos

April 02, 1989

Addressing a Unitarian group in a ritzy suburb, I found liberals and moderate conservatives (or progressives) quite keen to discuss the plight of the homeless, the American poor, the starving in Africa, and the beleaguered Nicaraguans.

No Place for Troubled Teen-Agers

April 01, 1989

Sally, 16, used to spend entire weekends with an older man in bohemian Greenwich Village in New York City. For a while, she was sleeping with two guys.

When her more traditionally minded, single mother tried to put an end to these liaisons, Sally told her to buzz off, using a less printable term.Her outraged mother felt she could not “control” Sally and had her committed to a mental hospital with the help of a psychiatrist she knew. Because Sally tried to escape by breaking down a door, she was declared “violent” and heavily sedated. Now she drifts between docility and disorientation.

Recession is Not a Solution

March 20, 1989

The Federal Reserve under Chairman Alan Greenspan is well on its way to inducing yet another recession, for no good reason.

Choosing Social Science Paradigms

March 01, 1989

The dialogue between the prevailing and the challenging social science paradigms builds on basic differences in social philosophy: the two positions contain divergent views of human nature (are people basically knaves or nobles?) and of social order (are individuals naturally harmonious or is man wolf to man?).

Good Ethics Is Good Business – Really

February 12, 1989

As scandals mount in the financial and commodities markets, economists theorize that the market determines one’s ethicality. If “everybody” cheats, those who don’t’ will be wiped out. Like much economic writing, this conclusion is not based on factual observations of ethical traders who went bankrupt, but on abstract theories about “perfect competition.

The 'Me First' Model in the Social Sciences Is Too Narrow

February 01, 1989

The neoclassical view predominating in both the social sciences and the public realm is that people always pursue their own self-interest. 

Status-Separation and Status-Fusion: The Role of PACs in Contemporary American Democracy

January 02, 1989

Though there is wide agreement among political scientists that separation of political and socio-economic statuses is necessary for the functioning of democracy, wide disagreement exists over the extent to which political statuses in the United States differ from socio-economic ones.