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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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More similar than expected: men and women adjust their health behavior after shock events

Men go to the doctor less often than women. However, after experiencing a stay in hospital, the behavior of men and women becomes more similar. For the first time, MPIDR researchers have identified this pattern by evaluating more than 65,000 data records from Danish health registries.

In the three years before going to hospital for a stroke, heart attack or gastrointestinal cancers, only 75 percent of male patients in Denmark had seen a...

04.05.2020 | nachricht Read more

The gender cliff: Why women in a partnership seldom earn more than men

In many European countries, most women earn no more than half of the household income. This seems to indicate that the belief that the man should bring home the lion’s share of the family income still prevails. However, a new study by research scientist Andre Grow shows that there may be other reasons why a man generally earns more than his partner.

In recent years and decades, substantial progress has been made in the area of gender equality: women have caught up to or even overtaken men in terms of...

23.04.2020 | nachricht Read more

Lack of Knowledge and Uncertainty about Algorithms in Online Services

Although Swiss internet users use online services where algorithms select search results, recommendations and information daily, they know little about their role and function. This leads to uncertainty, a feeling of powerlessness and a desire for more control, as a representative survey of Swiss internet users conducted by the University of Zurich shows.

Services like Google, WhatsApp, Instagram or Netflix are based on algorithmic selection: They automatically select the content that is presented to us and...

06.04.2020 | nachricht Read more

High acceptance for smart products

72 per cent of all Swiss nationals now own smart products. The majority of the population views smart products very positively. A key role is played by the trust in the appliances, as the first representative study in Switzerland on the topic has shown.

The “Smart Products Report 2020” by the Lucerne and St. Gallen universities on the use and consumer perception of smart products is based on an online survey...

21.02.2020 | nachricht Read more

Trash talk hurts, even when it comes from a robot

Discouraging words from machines impair human game play

Trash talking has a long and colorful history of flustering game opponents, and now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have demonstrated that...

19.11.2019 | nachricht Read more

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

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

Im Focus: NASA's Curiosity rover finds clues to chilly ancient Mars buried in rocks

By studying the chemical elements on Mars today -- including carbon and oxygen -- scientists can work backwards to piece together the history of a planet that once had the conditions necessary to support life.

Weaving this story, element by element, from roughly 140 million miles (225 million kilometers) away is a painstaking process. But scientists aren't the type...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>