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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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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

Polluted air may pollute our morality

Exposure to air pollution, even imagining exposure to air pollution, may lead to unethical behavior, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. A combination of archival and experimental studies indicates that exposure to air pollution, either physically or mentally, is linked with unethical behavior such as crime and cheating. The experimental findings suggest that this association may be due, at least in part, to increased anxiety.

"This research reveals that air pollution may have potential ethical costs that go beyond its well-known toll on health and the environment," says behavioral...

08.02.2018 | nachricht Read more

Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university

First-borns are more likely to study more prestigious subjects at university such as medicine and engineering and can thus expect greater earnings than later-borns, who turn to arts, journalism and teaching.

First-borns are more likely to graduate from medical training and engineering programs at university, while later-borns are more likely to study journalism and...

14.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

09.11.2017 | nachricht Read more

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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