July 25, 2008


Diego the turkey is mostly influenced by love.

It often seems to El Cabrero that people who are interested in trying to make the world a little less violent and more just sometimes rely more on rhetoric than research. While there ain't nothing wrong with talking pretty, it probably won't get us where we need to go. Whenever possible, I recommend taking advantage of the relevant findings from the social sciences.

This is especially true when dealing with issues of violence and cruelty. Labeling something as bad is not the same as understanding what causes it or what can prevent or reduce it.

The last few weeks at Goat Rope have focused on how situations and systems can influence people to do things they would not otherwise have done, with a special tip of the hat (or goat horns) to Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect.

Suggestion: buy the book!

On the bright side, I think that understanding how these things work can help give people the resources to resist unwanted social influences. By way of conclusion, here's a link to 20 tips on resisting unwanted influences as prepared by Zimbardo and Cindy X. Wang.

It's pretty basic stuff--like not thinking it could never happen to you, being willing to admit mistakes, accepting responsibility for one's actions, resisting illegitimate authority--but then it's usually the basics that you can rely on.

MINIMUM WAGE. The newly-increased federal minimum wage trails behind many states, as the latest Economic Policy Institute snapshot reveals.

THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS is hitting Africa particularly hard.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES. The latest news about the US economy isn't good, but you already knew that. Here's something on the rise of unemployment claims and here's coverage of the latest Fed report on the state of the economy.


1 comment:

Wabi-Sabi said...

You're showing your radical colors again.

Use research?! Nah. I prefer faith based initiatives.

I have faith that something works, so there's no need actually evaluate results. Too much trouble.

I just cherry pick results to support my conclusions. Kind of like "the surge is working".


P.S. You have mail from me when you get a chance to reply. Thanks!