"Robert E. Lane is one of the most prominent and distinguished critics of both the human impact of market economies and economic theory, arguing from much research that happiness is more likely to flow from companionship, enjoyment of work, contribution to society, and the opportunity to develop as a person, than from the pursuit of wealth and the accumulation of material goods in market economies. This latest work playfully personalizes the contrast through a dialogue between a humanistic social scientist, Dessi, and a market economist, Adam. It is all too rare to have the two sides talking to each other. Moreover, in Lane's witty and literate hands, it is an open-minded and balanced conversation, in which neither side has all the answers. His unparalleled grasp of interdisciplinary social scientific knowledge is brought to bear on the largest questions of human life: What genuinely makes people happy? How should human society be organized to maximize the quality of human lives?"
--David O. Sears, Professor of Psychology and Political Science, UCLA
"Lane's deep knowledge of the sources of human happiness enables him to develop a powerful critique of economic theory."
---Robert A. Dahl, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Yale University
Robert E. Lane is the Eugene Meyer Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Yale University. His previous publications include The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies (2000) and The Market Experience (1991).
Automating technologies threaten to usher in a workless future, but John Danaher argues that this can be a good thing. A world without work may be a kind of utopia, free of the misery of the job and full of opportunities for creativity and exploration. If we play our cards right, automation could be the path to idealized forms of human flourishing.
Cities for People
Jan Gehl Island Press, 2010 Library of Congress HT166.G438 2010 | Dewey Decimal 307.1216
For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use—or could use—the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.
Taking into account changing demographics and changing lifestyles, Gehl emphasizes four human issues that he sees as essential to successful city planning. He explains how to develop cities that are Lively, Safe, Sustainable, and Healthy. Focusing on these issues leads Gehl to think of even the largest city on a very small scale. For Gehl, the urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking rather than at the speed of riding in a car or bus or train. This small-scale view, he argues, is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects.
In a final chapter, Gehl makes a plea for city planning on a human scale in the fast- growing cities of developing countries. A “Toolbox,” presenting key principles, overviews of methods, and keyword lists, concludes the book.
The book is extensively illustrated with over 700 photos and drawings of examples from Gehl’s work around the globe.
Is the United States a nation divided by the "color line," as W.E.B. Dubois declared? What is the impact of race on the lives of Americans today? In this powerful new assessment of the social reality of race, Reynolds Farley and Walter Allen compare demographic, social, and economic characteristics of blacks and whites to discover how and to what extent racial identity influences opportunities and outcomes in our society. They conclude that despite areas of considerable gain, black Americans continue to be substantially disadvantaged relative to whites. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
In Creating a Human World, Trappist monk and scholar Ernest Daniel Carrere explores what it means to be fully human, to live in a shared world, and to resist the easy tendency to flee reality and seek pleasure in material pursuits. To do so he examines the writings of three great modern thinkers—Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, and Søren Kierkegaard—and proposes a new reading of their work in light of his own understanding of New Testament teachings.
Carrere elucidates the paradoxical spiritual truth that salvation lies not in an escape from humanity, but in embracing it. An interdisciplinary tour de force, this book will appeal to anyone interested in philosophy, psychology, religion, or cultural anthropology.
Only 3% of all Americans believe they live in bad neighborhoods. But 30% to 45% of those who live in places with crime and illegal drug sales, rats and stray dogs, hazardous waste sites, factory pollution, and abandoned and blighted buildings rate their neighborhood as poor quality. Even when these neighborhoods have good schools, parks, and other amenities, their resident's ratings do not go up. This holds true no matter who is asked - young, old, men or women, middle class, working class, or on welfare. Local health and planning officials corroborate resident perceptions. It is particularly noticeable that stress from living near a toxic waste site - the hazard that gets the biggest attention in terms of dollars spent - is low on the resident's list of fears about their neighborhoods. They'd much prefer to see the money put to fixing the immediate dangers on their block. But because federal and state government policies for protecting public health, lowering crime, and saving the environment are divided into separate bureaucratic cubby-holes, effective planning to improve these stressed neighborhoods is difficult. Beginning with the call for a definition of "environment" that fits the realities of these places, the authors argue for and propose policy initiatives that address all the desperate needs of these beleaguered neighborhoods. This book is essential reading for students, academics, and professionals in environmental studies, public health, urban studies and planning, as well as grassroots community organizers.
Employers demand more of employees’ time while leaving the important things in life—health, family—for workers to take care of on their own time and dime. How can workers get ahead while making sure their families don’t fall behind? Heather Boushey shows in detail that economic efficiency and equity do not have to be enemies.
First, Do No Harm shows how health care professionals, with the best intentions of providing excellent, holistic health care, can nonetheless perpetuate violence against vulnerable patients. The essays investigate the need to rethink contemporary healthcare practices in ways that can bring the art and science of medicine back into sorely needed balance.
These ground-breaking studies by noted scholars question commonly held assumptions in contemporary healthcare that underlie oppressive power dynamics and even violence for patients and their families. The contributors discuss such topics as women and violence, life-support technologies, and healthcare professionals’ own experiences as patients. First, Do No Harm opens the discourse for reaching new understandings, from reassessing the meaning of "quality of life" to questioning the appropriateness of the very language used by healthcare professionals. It will be welcomed by healthcare workers and by scholars in nursing, medicine, and the allied health sciences.
The Global Citizen
Donella Meadows Island Press, 1991 Library of Congress HN65.M43 1991 | Dewey Decimal 306.0973
In The Global Citizen, Donella Meadows challenges us to view the world as an interconnected system for which we are all responsible. This collection of the best of Meadows's environmental writings demonstrates her rare ability to discuss complex issues such as population, poverty and development, and solid waste disposal in a clear, concise, engaging way for a wide audience.
In this unique anthology, Steckel and Floud coordinate ten essays that bring a new perspective to inquiry about standard of living in modern times. These papers are arranged for international comparison, and they individually examine evidence of health and welfare during and after industrialization in eight countries: the United States, Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia.
The essays incorporate several indicators of quality of life, especially real per capita income and health, but also real wages, education, and inequality. And while the authors use traditional measures of health such as life expectancy and mortality rates, this volume stands alone in its extensive use of new "anthropometric" data—information about height, weight and body mass index that indicates changes in nations' well-being. Consequently, Health and Welfare during Industrialization signals a new direction in economic history, a broader and more thorough understanding of what constitutes standard of living.
The result of a National Bureau of Economic Research Income and Wealth conference held in December 1983, this volume looks at the concept of "economic well-being" and the ways that analysts have tried to measure it. In addition to income, economists have begun to consider such factors as pensions, wealth, health, and environment when measuring the well-being of a particular group. They have also begun to measure how consumers respond, successfully or unsuccessfully, to such economic uncertainties as inflation, divorce, and retirement. Using new data and techniques, the contributors to this book concentrate on issues of uncertainty and horizontal equity (the equal treatment of individuals within a defined group). Their work points to better ways of determining how various groups in a society are faring relative to other groups. Economists and policy analysts, therefore, will be in a better position to determine how government programs should be applied when well-being is used as a test.
In 1989 news broadcasts all over the world were dominated for weeks by images of East Germans crossing the Berlin Wall to West Germany. But what did the East Germans expect to find when they excitedly broke through the Wall? And what did they actually find when they made it over to the other side? This study draws on fifteen months of research into both the lives of East Germans before the fall of communism and their fast-changing world after they embraced capitalism. Grounded in powerful anthropological insights, Milena Veenis argues persuasively that national identifications and the bond between state and citizenry in both East and West Germany over the past twenty years has been shaped by the far-fetched, socialist and capitalist promises of consumption as the road to ultimate well-being. These promises also functioned as a way to cover up the more shameful and dirty aspects of both countries’ history and social life.
Meaningful places offer a vital counterbalance to the forces of globalization and sameness that are overtaking our world, and are an essential element in the search for solutions to current sustainability challenges. In Native to Nowhere, author Tim Beatley draws on extensive research and travel to communities across North America and Europe to offer a practical examination of the concepts of place and place-building in contemporary life. Tim Beatley reviews the many current challenges to place, considers trends and factors that have undermined place and place commitments, and discusses in detail a number of innovative ideas and compelling visions for strengthening place.
Native to Nowhere brings together a wide range of new ideas and insights about sustainability and community, and introduces readers to a host of innovative projects and initiatives. Native to Nowhere is a compelling source of information and ideas for anyone seeking to resist place homogenization and build upon the unique qualities of their local environment and community.
The relationship between government, virtue, and wealth has held a special fascination since Aristotle, and the importance of each frames policy debates today in both developed and developing countries. While it’s clear that low-quality government institutions have tremendous negative effects on the health and wealth of societies, the criteria for good governance remain far from clear.
In this pathbreaking book, leading political scientist Bo Rothstein provides a theoretical foundation for empirical analysis on the connection between the quality of government and important economic, political, and social outcomes. Focusing on the effects of government policies, he argues that unpredictable actions constitute a severe impediment to economic growth and development—and that a basic characteristic of quality government is impartiality in the exercise of power. This is borne out by cross-sectional analyses, experimental studies, and in-depth historical investigations. Timely and topical, The Quality of Government tackles such issues as political legitimacy, social capital, and corruption.
Time for Things
Stephen D. Rosenberg Harvard University Press, 2020 Library of Congress HB99.3.R654 2021 | Dewey Decimal 330.122
Modern life is full of stuff yet bereft of time. An economic sociologist offers an ingenious explanation for why, over the past seventy-five years, Americans have come to prefer consumption to leisure.
Productivity has increased steadily since the mid-twentieth century, yet Americans today work roughly as much as they did then: forty hours per week. We have witnessed, during this same period, relentless growth in consumption. This pattern represents a striking departure from the preceding century, when working hours fell precipitously. It also contradicts standard economic theory, which tells us that increasing consumption yields diminishing marginal utility, and empirical research, which shows that work is a significant source of discontent. So why do we continue to trade our time for more stuff?
Time for Things offers a novel explanation for this puzzle. Stephen Rosenberg argues that, during the twentieth century, workers began to construe consumer goods as stores of potential free time to rationalize the exchange of their labor for a wage. For example, when a worker exchanges his labor for an automobile, he acquires a duration of free activity that can be held in reserve, counterbalancing the unfree activity represented by work. This understanding of commodities as repositories of hypothetical utility was made possible, Rosenberg suggests, by the advent of durable consumer goods—cars, washing machines, refrigerators—as well as warranties, brands, chain stores, and product-testing magazines, which assured workers that the goods they purchased would not be subject to rapid obsolescence.
This theory clarifies perplexing aspects of behavior under industrial capitalism—the urgency to spend earnings on things, the preference to own rather than rent consumer goods—as well as a variety of historical developments, including the coincident rise of mass consumption and the legitimation of wage labor.
Urban Life in Contemporary China
Martin King Whyte and William L. Parish University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress HT147.C48W59 1984 | Dewey Decimal 307.760951
Through interviews with city residents, Martin King Whyte and William L. Parish provide a unique survey of urban life in the last decade of Mao Zedong's rule. They conclude that changes in society produced under communism were truly revolutionary and that, in the decade under scrutiny, the Chinese avoided ostensibly universal evils of urbanism with considerable success. At the same time, however, they find that this successful effort spawned new and equally serious urban problems—bureaucratic rigidity, low production, and more.
The nature of well-being is one of the most enduring and elusive subjects of human inquiry. Well-Being draws upon the latest scientific research to transform our understanding of this ancient question. With contributions from leading authorities in psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience, this volume presents the definitive account of current scientific efforts to understand human pleasure and pain, contentment and despair. The distinguished contributors to this volume combine a rigorous analysis of human sensations, emotions, and moods with a broad assessment of the many factors, from heredity to nationality, that bear on our well-being. Using the tools of experimental science, the contributors confront the puzzles of human likes and dislikes. Why do we grow accustomed and desensitized to changes in our lives, both good and bad? Does our happiness reflect the circumstances of our lives or is it determined by our temperament and personality? Why do humans acquire tastes for sensations that are initially painful or unpleasant? By examining the roots of our everyday likes and dislikes, the book also sheds light on some of the more extreme examples of attraction and aversion, such as addiction and depression. Among its wide ranging inquiries, Well-Being examines systematic differences in moods and behaviors between genders, explaining why women suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety than men, but are also more inclined to express positive emotions. The book also makes international comparisons, finding that some countries' populations report higher levels of happiness than others. The contributors deploy an array of methods, from the surveys and questionnaires of social science to psychological and physiological experiments, to develop a comprehensive new approach to the study of well-being. They show how the sensory pleasures of the body can tells us something about the higher pleasures of the mind and even how the effectiveness of our immune system can depend upon the health of our social relationships.
The past two decades have witnessed rapid social, economic, and demographic change in East and South-East Asia. The older populations in these regions have been increasing faster than in the West, and the proportions of people over sixty will more than double over the next thirty years. Increased urbanization and educational levels and a strong shift to professional, technical, manufacturing, and service occupations are changing the social and economic landscape, leading to concern for the well-being of the elderly, who traditionally have relied on the family for support. Governments are attempting to preserve these traditions while taking into account widespread family change and new expectations for pension, health insurance, and other public programs.
The contributors to this volume use survey and other data collected over ten years to examine the well-being of the current older population in four Asian countries: The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Each major analytic chapter looks at a key dimension of well-being--economic, physical and mental health, work and leisure--and how these are affected by the familial and social support arrangements, as well as age, gender, education, and urban-rural residence. Where possible, changes over time are traced.
Explicit attention is given to the policies and programs in place and under development in each country and to the cultural accommodations underway. The contributors also look ahead to the implications of the large numbers of elderly with very different characteristics who will predominate in the coming years and to the policy implications of this coming transformation. The book will be important for scholars and policymakers whose work involves population in Asia, including demographers, sociologists, and economists.
Albert I. Hermalin is Research Scientist at Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, and Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan.