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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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Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain

Reading is such a modern cultural invention that there is no specific area in the brain dedicated to it. Scientists from the Max Planck Institutes in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and Leipzig, Germany, have found that learning to read as an adult reconfigures brain areas hitherto assigned to different skills. Most strikingly, evolutionarily ancient structures - located deep inside the brain - are more fundamentally changed than previously assumed. These findings were obtained in a large-scale study in which completely illiterate women in India learned how to read and write for six months.

Reading is such a new ability in human evolutionary history that the existence of a ‘reading area’ could not be specified in our genes. A kind of recycling...

26.05.2017 | nachricht Read more

Fixating on faces

When we are walking down a crowded street, our brains are constantly active, processing a myriad of visual stimuli. Faces are particularly important social stimuli, and, indeed, the human brain has networks of neurons dedicated to processing faces. These cells process social information such as whether individual faces in the crowd are happy, threatening, familiar, or novel.

New research from Caltech now shows that the activation of face cells depends highly on where you are paying attention--it is not enough for a face to simply...

26.01.2017 | nachricht Read more

Internet use in class tied to lower test scores

Warning: Surfing the internet in class is now linked to poorer test scores, even among the most intelligent and motivated of students.

Michigan State University researchers studied laptop use in an introductory psychology course and found the average time spent browsing the web for...

16.12.2016 | nachricht Read more

Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US

Study's methodology combines visual interpretation with statistical analysis to illustrate 4 million commuter flows

Geographers from Dartmouth College and the University of Sheffield provide new insight into the economic geography of commuter megaregions in the U.S., by...

01.12.2016 | nachricht Read more

Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would significantly slow population growth, according to a new study.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN in 2015 for the period up to 2030 would lead to a global population of between 8.2 to 8.7...

30.11.2016 | nachricht Read more

Individual lifespans are becoming more similar

The higher the life expectancy in a society, the smaller the difference between the ages at which people will die. Scientists discover a novel regularity for vastly different human societies and epochs.

On average, as lives get longer, the difference in the age at which people die becomes smaller. By analyzing data from 44 countries, researchers have now...

22.11.2016 | nachricht Read more

New population data provide insight on aging, migration

A new data set provides a comprehensive look at population dynamics in Europe, including the influence of migration on population growth and the effect of population aging.

The European Demographic Datasheet 2016, produced by demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the Vienna Institute of...

31.08.2016 | nachricht Read more

PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion

The world population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050, up 33 percent from an estimated 7.4 billion now, according to projections included in the latest World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

The world population would hit the 10 billion mark in 2053 if the assumptions underlying PRB's 2050 projections are applied to subsequent years.

25.08.2016 | nachricht Read more

Just add water? New MRI technique shows what drinking water does to your appetite, stomach and brain

Stomach MRI images combined with functional fMRI of the brain activity have provided scientists new insight into how the brain listens to the stomach during eating

Stomach MRI images combined with functional fMRI of the brain activity have provided scientists new insight into how the brain listens to the stomach during...

12.07.2016 | nachricht Read more

Massive open-access database on human cultures created

An international team of researchers has developed a massive open-access database to help answer long-standing questions about the forces that shaped human cultural diversity. D-PLACE – the Database of Places, Language, Culture and Environment – brings together a dispersed body of information on the language, geography, culture and environment of more than 1,400 human societies.The team’s paper on D-PLACE is published July 8th, 2016 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study’s lead author, Dr Kathryn Kirby, from the University of Toronto, said: “Human cultural diversity is expressed in numerous ways: from the foods we eat...

11.07.2016 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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