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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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New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index

IIASA researchers have introduced a new, simple measure for human wellbeing across countries, called the Human Life Indicator (HLI), that takes inequality into account and could replace the commonly used but error-prone Human Development Index (HDI).

Measuring the overall wellbeing of populations is crucial for evaluating the success of policies. The Human Life Indicator expresses wellbeing in terms of...

07.11.2018 | nachricht Read more

Because not only arguments count

The phenomenon of opinion polarization has gained a lot of public attention in recent years, especially in the political context. Using tools from network science and game theory, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences were able to show that social interaction has a pronounced influence on opinion polarization. Their approach allows for a precise analysis of the entire opinion-forming process and could, among other things, contribute to a better understanding of opinion tendencies in social networks.

We all react very sensitively to positive or negative signals in the behavior of our peers and unconsciously include this feedback in our own decision-making....

30.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

Being Spoiled for Choice – What Happens in the Human Brain

Who has not faced this situation? Having too many choices when shopping for a product creates a feeling that we call “being spoiled for choice.” Academic studies have proven for some time that consumers find a large selection of products attractive, but this makes it increasingly difficult for them to decide what to buy. A team centered on the Tübingen scientist, Dr. Axel Lindner, from the University Hospital for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research has now discovered what takes place in our brains when we are “spoiled for choice.

Who has not faced this situation? Having too many choices when shopping for a product creates a feeling that we call “being spoiled for choice.” Academic...

02.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

The competitive edge: Dietary competition played a key role in the evolution of early primates

Since Darwin first laid out the basic principles of evolution by means of natural selection, the role of competition for food as a driving force in shaping and shifting a species' biology to outcompete its adversaries has played center stage. So important is the notion of competition between species, that it is viewed as a key selective force that resulted in the split of the lineage leading to modern humans from that of our early ape ancestors.

The earliest true primates, called "euprimates," lived about 55 million years ago across what is now North America. Two major fossil euprimate groups existed...

01.08.2018 | nachricht Read more

Diversity and education influence India’s population growth

Differences within India’s population influence population projections for years to come, according to research conducted by IIASA and the Asian Demographic Research Institute. This information could help India and its workforce to catch up to more developed Asian countries with higher GDP per capita.

By 2025, India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country, due to higher fertility rates and a younger population. However, a new study...

31.07.2018 | nachricht Read more

Lying in a foreign language is easier

It is not easy to tell when someone is lying. This is even more difficult when potential liars speak in a language other than their native tongue. Psychologists of the University of Würzburg investigated why that is so.

Most people don't find it more difficult to lie in a foreign language than in their native tongue. However, things are different when telling the truth: This...

19.07.2018 | nachricht Read more

Engineering cooperation

Social dilemmas occur when individual desires clash with group needs. How can people be encouraged to cooperate when they have reason not to? In a new Nature paper, scientists show that if the social dilemma that individuals face are dependent on if they work together, cooperation can triumph. This finding resulted from a new framework that they introduced, which extends the entire theory of repeated games. Moreover, their work provides tools to systematically build cooperation.

When what we want as individuals clashes with what is best for the group, we have a social dilemma. How can we overcome these dilemmas, and encourage people to...

05.07.2018 | nachricht Read more

Research project: EUR 3.3 million for improved quality of life in shrinking cities

Demographic change and job losses are leading to a decline in the population of cities worldwide. In a new international project, which will be funded by the EU Commission for four years starting in October with 3.3 million euros, research teams from Europe, the USA, Mexico and Japan are investigating how the quality of life in shrinking cities can be improved on an interdisciplinary basis. This includes infrastructure, urban food production, culture, and migration. In a graduate school, PhD students are supervised in a structured manner. The project is coordinated by Professor Dr. Karina Pallagst at the Technische Universitaet Kaiserslautern, Germany.

The American city of Cleveland was once a flourishing metropolis - thanks to its steel and automotive industries. But in the last century, with the opening of...

02.07.2018 | nachricht Read more

The transparent soccer player

How can success in soccer be measured? With the amount of positional data available in modern soccer, this question seems particularly interesting in the run-up to a World Cup. Sports data scientist Dr. Daniel Link from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a model that can be used to measure how likely a team is to score a goal during a match.

Goals in soccer only provide limited information about a team’s performance and the quality of its players: Goals are scored only rarely in soccer, and can...

05.06.2018 | nachricht Read more

Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace of life.

They identified that while there are less people tweeting, there are a group of people who tweet prolifically. This suggests there is a concentrated core of...

21.02.2018 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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