Archive for October 12th, 2011
Your Better Life Index is designed to let you visualise and compare some of the key factors – like education, housing, environment, and so on – that contribute to well-being in OECD countries. It’s an interactive tool that allows you to see how countries perform according to the importance you give to each of 11 topics that make for a better life.
There’s been a lot of debate lately on measuring the well-being of societies – is wealth all that matters, or should we be looking at other things, like the balance between work and the rest of our lives? The Index aims to involve citizens in this debate, and to empower them to become more informed and engaged in the policy-making process that shapes all our lives.
The 11 topics of well-being used in the Index have been chosen in accordance with theory, practice and consultation on the issue of how to best measure well-being from a comparative perspective. Read about this in greater detail in our Compendium of Well-being Indicators. From a statistical point of view, the Index relies on best practices for building composite indicators. The Index is robust to various methodological assumptions.
A serious commitment to end poverty and its costly social effects requires us to face that capitalism has always reproduced widespread poverty as the other side of profits for a relative few. No wonder such a system has provoked Occupy Wall Street and so many of its signature slogans and demands.
Poverty is one result of this capitalist type of enterprise organization. For example, corporate decisions generally aim to lower the number of workers or their wages or both. They automate, export (outsource) jobs, and replace higher-paid workers by recruiting domestic and foreign substitutes willing to work for less. These normal corporate actions generate rising poverty as the other side of rising profits. When poverty and its miseries “remain always with us,” workers tend to accept what employers dish out to avoid losing jobs and falling into poverty.
The bill starts with a prologue and contains a total of 114 articles in 9 chapters. The bill’s prologue starts with the following words: „We, who inhabit Iceland, want to create a fair society, where everyone is equal. Our different origins enriches all of us as a whole and together we have the responsibility for the legacy of the generations, land and history, nature, language and culture.“
The main themes which the Constitutional Council has observed during its work have been these three: Distribution of power, transparency and responsibility. The Council has strived to increase the distribution of power with a clearer division between the three branches of power. Furthermore it provides for an increased public participation in decision-making, also leading to further distribution of power. The Council put much emphasis on a clear and intelligible presentation of the constitution, regarding the wording and overall structure, as well as making it clear who has power according to the constitution and as a consquence responsibility.
There is barely a corner of the globe that has not been touched by the current financial meltdown. But a senior sociology scholar at Yale University thinks the crisis is far wider than the economic crash – it is capitalism itself which is collapsing. Immanuel Wallerstein explained his theory.
This is a transformative book. It’s the best book on American politics that I’ve read since Before the Storm. Not all of it is original (the authors seek to synthesize others’ work as well as present their own, but provide due credit where credit is due). Not all of its arguments are fully supported (the authors provide a strong circumstantial case to support their argument, but don’t have smoking gun evidence on many of the relevant causal relations). But it should transform the ways in which we think about and debate the political economy of the US.
The underlying argument is straightforward. The sources of American economic inequality are largely political – the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public.
Read also: Here’s What’s the Matter With Kansas
Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species’s existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, pogroms, gruesome punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?
This groundbreaking book continues Pinker’s exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives- the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away-and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind’s inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.