In a book sure to inspire controversy, Gene Heyman argues that conventional wisdom about addiction—that it is a disease, a compulsion beyond conscious control—is wrong.Drawing on psychiatric epidemiology, addicts’ autobiographies, treatment studies, and advances in behavioral economics, Heyman makes a powerful case that addiction is voluntary. He shows that drug use, like all choices, is influenced by preferences and goals. But just as there are successful dieters, there are successful ex-addicts. In fact, addiction is the psychiatric disorder with the highest rate of recovery. But what ends an addiction?At the heart of Heyman’s analysis is a startling view of choice and motivation that applies to all choices, not just the choice to use drugs. The conditions that promote quitting a drug addiction include new information, cultural values, and, of course, the costs and benefits of further drug use. Most of us avoid becoming drug dependent, not because we are especially rational, but because we loathe the idea of being an addict.Heyman’s analysis of well-established but frequently ignored research leads to unexpected insights into how we make choices—from obesity to McMansionization—all rooted in our deep-seated tendency to consume too much of whatever we like best. As wealth increases and technology advances, the dilemma posed by addictive drugs spreads to new products. However, this remarkable and radical book points to a solution. If drug addicts typically beat addiction, then non-addicts can learn to control their natural tendency to take too much.
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ ChoiceResponsibility—which once meant the moral duty to help and support others—has come to be equated with an obligation to be self-sufficient. This has guided recent reforms of the welfare state, making key entitlements conditional on good behavior. Drawing on political theory and moral philosophy, Yascha Mounk shows why this re-imagining of personal responsibility is pernicious—and suggests how it might be overcome.“This important book prompts us to reconsider the role of luck and choice in debates about welfare, and to rethink our mutual responsibilities as citizens.”—Michael J. Sandel, author of Justice“A smart and engaging book… Do we so value holding people accountable that we are willing to jeopardize our own welfare for a proper comeuppance?”—New York Times Book Review“An important new book… [Mounk] mounts a compelling case that political rhetoric…has shifted over the last half century toward a markedly punitive vision of social welfare.”—Los Angeles Review of Books“A terrific book. The insight at its heart—that the conception of responsibility now at work in much public rhetoric and policy is both punitive and ill-conceived—is very important and should be widely heeded.”—Jedediah Purdy, author of After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene
Zahariadis offers a theory that explains policymaking when "ambiguity" is present—a state in which there are many ways, often irreconcilable, of thinking about an issue. Expanding and extending John Kingdon's influential "multiple streams" model that explains agenda setting, Zahariadis argues that manipulation, the bending of ideas, process, and beliefs to get what you want out of the policy process, is the key to understanding the dynamics of policymaking in conditions of ambiguity. He takes one of the major theories of public policy to the next step in three different ways: he extends it to a different form of government (parliamentary democracies, where Kingdon looked only at what he called the United States's presidential "organized anarchy" form of government); he examines the entire policy formation process, not just agenda setting; and he applies it to foreign as well as domestic policy.
This book combines theory with cases to illuminate policymaking in a variety of modern democracies. The cases cover economic policymaking in Britain, France, and Germany, foreign policymaking in Greece, all compared to the U.S. (where the model was first developed), and an innovative computer simulation of the policy process.
In the midst of global recession, angry citizens and media pundits often offer simplistic theories about how bad decisions lead to crises. Many economists, however, base their analyses on rational choice theory, which assumes that decisions are made by well-informed, intelligent people who weigh risks, costs, and benefits. Taking a more realistic approach, the field of anthropology carefully looks at the underlying causes of choices at different times and places.
Using case studies of choices by farmers, artisans, and bureaucrats drawn from Michael Chibnik's research in Mexico, Peru, Belize, and the United States, Anthropology, Economics, and Choice presents a clear-eyed perspective on human actions and their economic consequences. Five key issues are explored in-depth: choices between paid and unpaid work; ways people deal with risk and uncertainty; how individuals decide whether to cooperate; the extent to which households can be regarded as decision-making units; and the "tragedy of the commons," the theory that social chaos may result from unrestricted access to commonly owned property.
Both an accessible primer and an innovative exploration of economic anthropology, this interdisciplinary work brings fresh insight to a timely topic.
Current public health promotion of breastfeeding relies heavily on health messaging and individual behavior change. Women are told that “breast is best” but too little serious attention is given to addressing the many social, economic, and political factors that combine to limit women’s real choice to breastfeed beyond a few days or weeks. The result: women’s, infants’, and public health interests are undermined. Beyond Health, Beyond Choice examines how feminist perspectives can inform public health support for breastfeeding.
Written by authors from diverse disciplines, perspectives, and countries, this collection of essays is arranged thematically and considers breastfeeding in relation to public health and health care; work and family; embodiment (specifically breastfeeding in public); economic and ethnic factors; guilt; violence; and commercialization. By examining women’s experiences and bringing feminist insights to bear on a public issue, the editors attempt to reframe the discussion to better inform public health approaches and political action. Doing so can help us recognize the value of breastfeeding for the public’s health and the important productive and reproductive contributions women make to the world.
Thomas Schelling is a political economist “conspicuous for wandering”—an errant economist. In Choice and Consequence, he ventures into the area where rationality is ambiguous in order to look at the tricks people use to try to quit smoking or lose weight. He explores topics as awesome as nuclear terrorism, as sordid as blackmail, as ineffable as daydreaming, as intimidating as euthanasia. He examines ethical issues wrapped up in economics, unwrapping the economics to disclose ethical issues that are misplaced or misidentified.With an ingenious, often startling approach, Schelling brings new perspectives to problems ranging from drug abuse, abortion, and the value people put on their lives to organized crime, airplane hijacking, and automobile safety. One chapter is a clear and elegant exposition of game theory as a framework for analyzing social problems. Another plays with the hypothesis that our minds are not only our problem-solving equipment but also the organ in which much of our consumption takes place.What binds together the different subjects is the author’s belief in the possibility of simultaneously being humane and analytical, of dealing with both the momentous and the familiar. Choice and Consequence was written for the curious, the puzzled, the worried, and all those who appreciate intellectual adventure.
In The Choice, Arnine Cumsky Weiss and Carol Weiss Rubel present the stories of forty-five converts to Judaism. These reflective narratives demonstrate that no two converts’ experiences are alike, yet most share some common characteristics: a spiritual uneasiness, fear, doubt, and a gradual development of spiritual and intellectual understanding and acceptance of conversion. The stories in The Choice will be a source of inspiration and affirmation for anyone who is struggling with a conversion decision or knows someone who is.
For the last two centuries, literature has tested the authority of the individual and the community. During this time, in David Bromwich’s words, “A motive for great writing…has been a tension, which is felt to be unresolvable, between the claims of social obligation and of personal autonomy. That these had to be experienced as rival claims was the discovery of Burke and Wordsworth. Our lives today and our choices are made in a culture where any settlement of the contest for either side is bound to be provisional. There is nothing to approve or regret in such a situation; it is the way things are; and in a time like ours, it is what great writing lives on.”With a historical as well as an interpretative emphasis, Bromwich explores this tension. He shows why the public-mindedness of the eighteenth century is as limited a model for readers now as the individualism of the nineteenth century. Calling attention to the ambivalence of the great writers, he cites Emerson’s sense of the conflict between “spirit” and “commodity” and Burke’s conviction that human nature is at once given and chosen. Elsewhere, he describes the attenuation of social concern even in the truest modern followers of the romantics as in the conscious turn away from Wordsworth’s morality in poems by Stevens and Frost. Other topics include Keats’s politics, Whitman’s prose, William Cobbett’s journalism, and the standards of the Edinburgh Review.In some widely discussed general essays, Bromwich addresses such issues as the uses of biography, the idea that authors create their own worlds, and the political ambitions of recent literary theory. His own criticism is powerfully eclectic, combining history, philosophy, biography, and a subtle awareness of how literature performs its work of implication. He brings to the task an authentic understanding of intellectual culture and the ability to leap from textual detail to cultural observation with an understated grace.As in his other writing, Bromwich aims to join aesthetic theory and moral thought. He rethinks the relationship between genius and talent, and defines genius in terms of its capacity to bring about change, rather than simply its quality of inward and spiritual uniqueness. His sustained defense here of that conception, and his elegant argument for a new approach to criticism generally, make this thoughtful book a controversial one as well.
Kotaro Suzumura is one of the world’s foremost thinkers in social choice theory and welfare economics. Bringing together essays that have become classics in the field, Choice, Preferences, and Procedures examines foundational issues of normative economics and collective decision making.Social choice theory seeks to critically assess and rationally design economic mechanisms for improving human life. An important part of Suzumura’s contribution over the past forty years has entailed fusion of abstract microeconomic ideas with an understanding of real-world economies in a coherent analysis. This volume of selected essays reveals the evolution of Suzumura’s thinking over his career. Groundbreaking papers explore the nature of individual and social choice and the idea of assigning value to freedom of choice, different forms of rationality, and concepts of individual rights, equity, and fairness.Suzumura elucidates his innovative approach for recognizing interpersonal comparisons in the vein of Adam Smith’s notion of sympathy and expounds the effect of paying due attention to nonconsequential features, such as the opportunity to choose and the procedure for decision making, along with the standard consequential features. Analyzing the role of economic competition, Suzumura points out how restricting competition may, in some circumstances, improve social welfare. This is not to recommend government regulation rather than market competition but to emphasize the importance of procedural features in a competitive context. He concludes with illuminating essays on the history of economic thought, focusing on the ideas of Vilfredo Pareto, Arthur Pigou, John Hicks, and Paul Samuelson.
Many of us assume that Christian day schools foster a strict and conservative environment that is very different from the rest of the United States. Christian educators themselves foster this view when they say that following biblical strictures requires that they not always conform to this world. Melinda Wagner goes beyond this stereotype to portray the way these schools foster American popular culture and "professional education culture" as well as "Christian culture." In her participant observation study of a variety of Christian schools (sponsored by fundamentalist, evangelical, new charismatic, Holiness, and Pentecostal Christians), Wagner describes and interprets how such compromises are made.
In American culture, children are taught to meet challenges, to compete, and are rewarded for individual achievement. Conservative Christians label this individualism as "secular humanism," and find it antithetical to their view of the self. Instead, these Christians seek a culture of love, compassion, orderliness, non-competitiveness, and separation from the material trappings of this world.
But in reality, Wager finds that the schools mix Christian values with the values of American culture. She discovers that even in Christian schools students compete fiercely and are recognized for individual achievements. Christian schools incorporate norms and strategies from mainstream American education. Alternative Christian schools are not as alternative as they could be; they are walking the Christian walk the American way.
The Christian schools serve as a case study of the process of culture building. Conservative Christians are trying to revitalize their culture. Yet all along the way, they quite consciously compromise.
The recent flashpoint of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee renews a long tradition of athlete-activists speaking out against racism, injustice, and oppression. Like Kaepernick, Jackie Robinson, Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos—among many others, of all races, male and female, pro and amateur—all made the choice to take a side to command public awareness and attention rather than “shut up and play,” as O. J. Simpson, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods did. Using their celebrity to demand change, these activists inspired fans but faced great personal and professional risks in doing so. It Was Always a Choice traces the history and impact of these decisive moments throughout the history of U.S. sports.
David Steele identifies the resonances and antecedents throughout the twentieth century of the choices faced by athletes in the post-Kaepernick era, including the advance of athletes’ political organizing in the era of activism following the death of George Floyd. He shows which athletes chose silence instead of action—“dropping the baton,” as it were—in the movement to end racial inequities and violence against Black Americans. The examples of courageous athletes multiply as LeBron James, Megan Rapinoe and the activist-athletes of the NBA, WNBA, and NFL remain committed to fighting daily and vibrantly for social change.
In Matters of Choice, Iris Lopez presents a comprehensive analysis of the dichotomous views that have portrayed sterilization either as part of a coercive program of population control or as a means of voluntary, even liberating, fertility control by individual women. Drawing upon her twenty-five years of research on sterilized Puerto Rican women from five different families in Brooklyn, Lopez untangles the interplay between how women make fertility decisions and their social, economic, cultural, and historical constraints. Weaving together the voices of these women, she covers the history of sterilization and eugenics, societal pressures to have fewer children, a lack of adequate health care, patterns of gender inequality, and misinformation provided by doctors and family members.
Lopez makes a stirring case for a model of reproductive freedom, taking readers beyond victim/agent debates to consider a broader definition of reproductive rights within a feminist anthropological context.
Faced with budget problems and an aging population, European governments in recent years have begun reconsidering the structure and extent of the welfare state. Guarantees and directives have given way to responsibilities and choice. This volume analyzes the effect of this change on the citizens of Germany, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. It traces the emergence of new discourses around social movements for greater independence, power, and control, and the way these discourses serve to reframe the struggle at hand. Making use of ethnographic research and policy analysis, the authors analyze the cultural transition, tensions, and trajectory of this call toward active citizenship.
Early twentieth-century Arizona was a life-threatening place for new and expectant mothers. Towns were small and very far apart, and the weather and harsh landscape often delayed midwives. It was not uncommon for a woman to give birth without medical care and with the aid of only family members. By the 1920s, Arizona was at the top of the list for the highest number of infant deaths.
Mary Melcher’s Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Choice in Twentieth-Century Arizona provides a deep and diverse history of the dramatic changes in childbirth, birth control, infant mortality, and abortion over the course of the last century. Using oral histories, memoirs, newspaper accounts, government documents, letters, photos, and biographical collections, this fine-grained study of women’s reproductive health places the voices of real women at the forefront of the narrative, providing a personal view into some of the most intense experiences of their lives.
Tackling difficult issues such as disparities in reproductive health care based on race and class, abortion, and birth control, this book seeks to change the way the world looks at women’s health. An essential read for both historians and public health officials, this book reveals that many of the choices and challenges that women once faced remain even today.
In this imaginative exploration of modern legal culture, Lawrence Friedman addresses how the contemporary idea of individual rights has altered the legal systems and authority structures of Western societies. Every aspect of law, he argues--from civil rights to personal-injury litigation to divorce law--has been profoundly reshaped, reflecting the power of this concept.The new individualism is quite different from that of the nineteenth century, which stressed self-control, discipline, and traditional group values. Modern individualism focuses on the individual as the starting and ending point of life and assumes a wide zone of choice. Choice is vital, fundamental: the right to develop oneself, to build up a life uniquely suited to oneself through free, open selection among forms, models, and lifestyles. With striking clarity and force, Friedman demonstrates how the new individualism results from changes in the technological and social framework of society. Loose, unconnected, free-floating, mobile: this is the modern individual, at least in comparison with the immediate past.Written for the general reader as well as lawyers and legal scholars, The Republic of Choice offers keen and original observations about legal culture and the public consciousness that informs and expresses it.
How do smokers evaluate evidence that smoking harms health? Some evidence suggests that smokers overestimate health risks from smoking. This book challenges this conclusion. The authors find that smokers tend to be overly optimistic about their longevity and future health if they quit later in life.Older adults' decisions to quit smoking require personal experience with the serious health impacts associated with smoking. Smokers over fifty revise their risk perceptions only after experiencing a major health shock--such as a heart attack. But less serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath, do not cause changes in perceptions. Waiting for such a jolt to occur is imprudent.The authors show that well-crafted messages about how smoking affects quality of life can greatly affect current perceptions of smoking risks. If smokers are informed of long-term consequences of a disease, and if they are told that quitting can indeed come too late, they are able to evaluate the risks of smoking more accurately, and act accordingly.
Compiling decades of fieldwork, two acclaimed scholars offer strategies for strengthening democracies by nurturing the voices of children and encouraging public awareness of their role as citizens.Voice, Choice, and Action is the fruit of the extraordinary personal and professional partnership of a psychiatrist and a neurobiologist whose research and social activism have informed each other for the last thirty years. Inspired by the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Felton Earls and Mary Carlson embarked on a series of international studies that would recognize the voice of children. In Romania they witnessed the consequences of infant institutionalization under the Ceaușescu regime. In Brazil they encountered street children who had banded together to advocate effectively for themselves. In Chicago Earls explored the origins of prosocial and antisocial behavior with teenagers. Children all over the world demonstrated an unappreciated but powerful interest in the common good.On the basis of these experiences, Earls and Carlson mounted a rigorous field study in Moshi, Tanzania, which demonstrated that young citizens could change attitudes about HIV/AIDS and mobilize their communities to confront the epidemic. The program, outlined in this book, promoted children’s communicative and reasoning capacities, guiding their growth as deliberative citizens. The program’s success in reducing stigma and promoting universal testing for HIV exceeded all expectations.Here in vivid detail are the science, ethics, and everyday practice of fostering young citizens eager to confront diverse health and social challenges. At a moment when adults regularly profess dismay about our capacity for effective action, Voice, Choice, and Action offers inspiration and tools for participatory democracy.
“A book for these times as we confront the fault lines in our democracy…A deeply provocative work about the place of children in strengthening our sense of community.”—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here“Earls and Carlson have discovered…an aspect of development previously unrecognized: how children and youth can find their voice, feel empowered to use that voice, and translate that voice into political action. This is a remarkable book.”—Gordon Harper, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry“An inspiring vision of a newly inclusive democracy.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)Voice, Choice, and Action is the fruit of the extraordinary personal and professional partnership between a psychiatrist and neurobiologist whose research and social activism have informed each other for the last thirty years. Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Felton Earls and Mary Carlson embarked on a series of studies to help children find their voice in the adult world. In Romania, they saw the devastating consequences of infant institutionalization. In Brazil, they found street children who had banded together to advocate for themselves. In Chicago, Earls sought to understand the origins of antisocial behavior in teenagers, and in Tanzania, they piloted a program to guide children’s growth as deliberative citizens.Here in vivid detail are the science, ethics, and everyday practices needed to foster young citizens eager to confront social challenges. At a moment when adults regularly decry the state of our democracy, Voice, Choice, and Action offers invaluable tools to build a new generation of active citizens.
How ordinary Americans, frustrated by the legal and political wrangling over the Second Amendment, can fight for reforms that will both respect gun owners’ rights and reduce gun violence.Efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States face formidable political and constitutional barriers. Legislation that would ban or broadly restrict firearms runs afoul of the Supreme Court’s current interpretation of the Second Amendment. And gun rights advocates have joined a politically savvy firearms industry in a powerful coalition that stymies reform.Ian Ayres and Fredrick Vars suggest a new way forward. We can decrease the number of gun deaths, they argue, by empowering individual citizens to choose common-sense gun reforms for themselves. Rather than ask politicians to impose one-size-fits-all rules, we can harness a libertarian approach—one that respects and expands individual freedom and personal choice—to combat the scourge of gun violence.Ayres and Vars identify ten policies that can be immediately adopted at the state level to reduce the number of gun-related deaths without affecting the rights of gun owners. For example, Donna’s Law, a voluntary program whereby individuals can choose to restrict their ability to purchase or possess firearms, can significantly decrease suicide rates. Amending red flag statutes, which allow judges to restrict access to guns when an individual has shown evidence of dangerousness, can give police flexible and effective tools to keep people safe. Encouraging the use of unlawful possession petitions can help communities remove guns from more than a million Americans who are legally disqualified from owning them. By embracing these and other new forms of decentralized gun control, the United States can move past partisan gridlock and save lives now.
In the United States, efforts to develop precision guided munitions—PGMs—began during the First World War and resulted in an 'aerial torpedo' by the 1920s. While World War II was dominated by large-scale strategic bombing—essentially throwing out tons of free-falling munitions in the hope they hit something important—both sides in the war worked to develop airborne munitions that could be steered toward a target. However after that war, U.S. national security policy focused on the atomic bomb, hardly a weapon that needed to be directed with accuracy.
The cost of emphasis on atomic weapons was revealed in the general unsuitability of American tactics and weapons deployment systems during the Vietnam War. Lessons learned in that conflict, coupled with rapid technological developments in aerodynamics, lasers, and solid-state electronics, brought air power dramatically closer to the "surgical strike" now seen as crucial to modern warfare. New technology created attractive choices and options for American policymakers as well as field commanders, and events in the Arab-Israeli wars, the U.S. raid on Libya, and most dramatically in the first Gulf War created an ever-increasing demand for the precision weapons.
The prospect of pinpoint delivery of weapons right to the enemy's door by speeding aircraft seems to presage war in which the messy and politically risky deployment of ground troops is unnecessary. The potential of such weapons, and their strategic limitations, made the Gulf War and Iraqi War living theater for assessing what such weapons can and cannot do and have important implications for planning for future warfare.
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