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Discussing society trends in the 21st century

Globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change: the new coordinates?

This section of innovations-reports examines the latest scientific findings in the fields of social sciences as it relates to globalization, demographic change and equal opportunity. Controversially discussed and thoroughly researched, we track current discussions detailed in studies, publications and announcements from renowned organizations and institutes. We address unsolved issues within key topics such as globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change, which are of paramount interest regarding their impact to society and the individual.

How will globalization occupy us in the future?

Globalization, a meanwhile overused expression, refers to the worldwide integration of economies, politics, society, culture and environment . Globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change are phenomena that mean different things to different people the world over. Some scientists view globalization as a process that began with the first species of man. Others date globalization back to the 15th century as European conquerors fanned out across the world. Still others accept it as a tide that was initiated at the beginning of World War II.

The fact is, globalization has transformed the planets into a village affecting all parts of life. The far-reaching structural transformation of overall society triggered by globalization has positive as well as negative impacts. The world continues to be divided into industrial, emerging and developing countries as globalization spreads. Globalization also means mobility and the opening up of national identities. Globalization is the sharing of common global challenges as illustrated by demographic change and equal opportunity. While some welcome globalization as economic progress, others dismiss globalization as neoliberalism.

Are we overestimating or downplaying the significance of demographic change on society?

Demographic change is the new challenge facing society. The post-World War II baby boom generation is aging and a new one is not on the horizon. In Germany, demographic change is viewed as a social, economic and cultural threat. Experts predict that demographic change will shrink Germany's population by 7 million by the middle of the century. The impact of an aging population on society is illustrated by the limits of growth. Structural transformation, redistribution, economic collapse, job exodus: demographic change and the forthcoming population declines will force societies to drastically restructure and reshape. Demographic change will also give momentum to globalization and equal opportunity.

While all of the signs so far point to "big", will demographic change acquire a new modesty? Demographic change and globalization are tightly interleaved. Calls are being made for demographic change and its already entrenched realities to be resolved at the highest level of decision making and understood as a non-partisan challenge for the present and future.

Has the equal opportunity mandate really arrived in practice?

No one accepts discrimination. Regarding the gender question, equal opportunity for minorities and abolishing discrimination based on ethnic or ideological traits, equal opportunity and the equal opportunity legislation introduced in 2006 have established benchmarks. The question is, has this already led to a well-established mindset of equal opportunity among the population? And is equal opportunity actually being practiced in business, politics and society against the backdrop of globalization?

We are reminded that if the pursuance of equal opportunity is left to those who hold the power in society, then equal opportunity for women in the workplace will make hardly any progress worth mentioning. Equal opportunity and demographic change is not a generational question. The obligations that equal opportunity will impose on all societal forces, how individuals can contribute to equal opportunity and how equal opportunity can be realized within the context of globalization and demographic change - all of these issues will continue to keep us in suspense.

Social Sciences

This area deals with the latest developments in the field of empirical and theoretical research as it relates to the structure and function of institutes and systems, their social interdependence and how such systems interact with individual behavior processes.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles related to the social sciences field including demographic developments, family and career issues, geriatric research, conflict research, generational studies and criminology research.

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Risk taking across the life span: The effects of hardship

Comparison of 77 countries: As previous studies have shown, people's propensity to take physical, social, legal, or financial risks decreases with age. But does that hold for everyone? Or do international differences exist between countries and cultures? And what is the role of factors such as poverty or income inequality? These are the questions that researchers from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin addressed in a study published in the journal Psychological Science.

The propensity to take risks in an everyday context decreases with age in most countries, including Germany, Russia, and the US. In these countries, men on...

08.01.2016 | nachricht Read more

Using social media for professional purposes – does it pay off?

Can social media successfully be used for professional purposes? Business networks such as LinkedIn promise their users career success by providing “access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do”. But is this really the case? And can other social media also lead to informational benefits? Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz (Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, IWM Tübingen) found that especially users of professional networks such as LinkedIn report higher informational benefits than non-users. It also matters how people use the respective social media platforms.

Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz studied whether social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) users can retrieve professional informational benefits from social media use....

08.12.2015 | nachricht Read more

Making backup plans can be a self-fulfilling prophecy

Is having a Plan B always a good idea? Or can these “safety nets” actually make you less likely to achieve your goals? Psychologists from the University of Zurich propose a new theoretical framework for studying the effects of backup plans. According to their model, the more effort people put into making backup plans, the more distracting and harmful those backup plans can become.

Many goals, from finding your dream job to finding a date to the movies, can feel completely out of your control. A common piece of advice to manage this...

01.12.2015 | nachricht Read more

Thickness of grey matter predicts ability to recognize faces and objects

When you see a familiar face, when a bird-watcher catches a glimpse of a rare bird perched on a limb, or when a car-fancier spots a classic auto driving past, the same small region in the brain becomes engaged.

For almost two decades, neuroscientists have known that this area, called the fusiform face area (FFA), plays a vital role in the brain's ability to recognize...

10.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Intergenerational cohesion in Europe is strong

Long-term study shows opportunities and risks for the aging population in Europe

A new book presents evidence on how to reinforce social and economic inclusion in spite of population ageing. The findings are based on the latest data of the...

04.11.2015 | nachricht Read more

Trust your head or your gut? How we decide depends on experience

Study examines decision behavior in different areas of daily life: Jeans or trousers? A notebook or a tablet? Conventional or alternative medicine? Do people make these kinds of decisions based on knowledge or on intuition? And is there such a thing as purely rational or purely intuitive decision makers? These questions were addressed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Basel. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Whether we make everyday decisions based on our gut or our reason has little to do with what kind of a decision maker we are. Instead, the content of the...

29.10.2015 | nachricht Read more

Is there a guide to long life?

Life expectancy disparities between population groups have been increasing

At age 40, Finns, Swedes, and Norwegians have reached the approximate mid-point of life. It is well known that, on average, whether an individual has more or...

12.10.2015 | nachricht Read more

From east-west divide to patchwork quilt

The east-west divide in the life expectancy of German women is being replaced by a patchwork quilt. The Ruhr region and Saarland are falling behind. Economic development is an increasingly important factor.

Twenty-five years after reunification, the once considerable differences between life expectancy in eastern and western Germany have almost disappeared for...

22.09.2015 | nachricht Read more

Penn and German researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking

What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Germany's Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim and Charité University Medicine Berlin have used brain scans to shed new light on this question.

By studying networks of activity in the brain's frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions, the researchers have shown that the...

02.09.2015 | nachricht Read more

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population researchers.

People over age 50 are scoring increasingly better on tests of cognitive function, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. At the same...

01.09.2015 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes

Pollens, the bane of allergy sufferers, could represent a boon for battery makers: Recent research has suggested their potential use as anodes in lithium-ion batteries.

"Our findings have demonstrated that renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices," said Vilas Pol, an...

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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