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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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How we understand others

People who empathise easily with others do not necessarily understand them well. To the contrary: Excessive empathy can even impair understanding as a new study conducted by psychologists from Würzburg and Leipzig has established.

Imagine your best friend tells you that his girlfriend has just proposed "staying friends". Now you have to accomplish two things: Firstly, you have to grasp...

28.04.2016 | nachricht Read more

The non-driving millennial? Not so simple, says new research

It's a well worn media trope. 21st century millennials are leading the way to a green transportation future, moving to cities, riding public transit, biking and walking - and often delaying car purchases indefinitely, to Detroit's growing dismay.

The reality is more complex, says a new study by University of Vermont researchers recently published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers....

29.03.2016 | nachricht Read more

Injustice can spread

People who feel treated unfairly usually do not direct their anger only towards the perpetrator. They frequently unload their aggressions onto uninvolved outsiders who then in turn behave similarly. How can this chain of unfair behavior be disrupted? A team of researchers under the direction of the University of Bonn discovered that writing a message to the perpetrator is one way to regulate emotions and thereby reassess the situation. The results of the study are now published in the journal "Scientific Reports."

"Tit for tat!" – If a boss acts unfairly in his professional life, he frequently loses the loyalty of his employee. Moreover, if a boss chews out a subordinate...

29.02.2016 | nachricht Read more

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
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

Im Focus: Transparent - Flexible - Printable: Key technologies for tomorrow’s displays

The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Economical processing

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