Posts Tagged ‘egalitarianism’


October 3, 2015

Recently, I was sent a link to an article in The Atlantic (Google American is Still a Patriarchy to find it) about how American society is patriarchal. In the article, the author (a sociology professor called Philip Cohen argues that because men run most institutions, and women take men’s name on marriage, we have evidence that society is patriarchal.

Now my instinct is one of “Well duh, it mostly is, but it’s changing, just talk to the under-35s”, but what irritated me is this last paragraph:

I expect some readers will go right to their favorite statistics or personal experiences in order to challenge my description of our society as patriarchal. In that tit-for-tat, men leading the vast majority of the most powerful institutions, and that American families usually follow the male line, become just another couple of data points. But they shouldn’t be, because some facts are more important than others.

Now I highlighted the last sentence. I did so because it beyond irritated me. It made the whole article read as if the author thinks all men are bar-stewards, and will always be bar-stewards. Facts are facts, if you can’t interpret the trend so you can make predictions about the future, or target thinking in certain areas, then you shouldn’t be in the sciences, social, or otherwise.(the author was a social scientist).

To me the issues are why do women earn less than men, when they’re older than 35? Do¬†women and men make different lifestyle choices that can be addressed to reduce income inequality as they age? And more generally, what are the long term trends in equality between the sexes?

Staffing In China

June 11, 2013

In the West, you hear all this stuff about China being a communist society that part of you starts to think that there must be a degree of egalitarianism here. It isn’t. I’ve been here approaching 3 years now, and it isn’t really. It might have been in the past, but I suspect that people here are becoming more self centred.

One of the issues that you do see here (which might tie into equality) is over-staffing. As an example, there are “bike parkers.” These people don’t park your mopeds for you. They aren’t valets. They’re thereto tell you where to park your scooters. At one stage last week there were 7 outside the 2 major supermarkets in the area. I kid you not, and their main job is to say where to part you bike. Even if you assume we need these people(and I suspect we don’t, even if the typical Chinese driver’s crazy), seven is too much. They needed two at the outside if they’re honest.

I wish I could say that this staffing issue was an equality issue (i.e. “Let’s give people jobs”), but it’s not. I think it’s more to do with the fact that people are seen as somewhere between cheaper and more expendable than machines, and that sort of depresses me.