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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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Putin, Trump and the Endgame for Syria

A  couple of years back I stopped writing about Syria. It wasn’t a deliberate decision. It just seemed to happen. The routine nature of the horrific atrocities committed with relative abandon by both sides, with advantage seeming to swing first one way and then the other and then the other and then the other yet again seemed endless and wearisome. Everything that could be said seemed to have been said…and yet still it went on. Meanwhile, the Crimea, the Ukraine, the Scottish independence referendum, the Peshawar Massacre, Charlie Hebdo and other UnIsamic State atrocities, Jeremy Corbyn, the Brexit referendum, Jeremy Corbyn (again!), Donald Trump…. So many other things have happened in those 2-3 years and so many of them ‘closer to home’…and, as the apocryphal ‘McClurg’s Law’ postulates: the more something is closer to you (racially, nationalistically, culturally), the more newsworthy it is (Stephen Moore, Steve Chapman & Dave Aiken, 2009). Thus, it is understandable (in some senses, at least) that Syria went ‘off the radar’ at times not only for myself but for many other ‘thinkers’ and much of the Western media. Now, though, as what seems to be the final, heartbreaking agonies of Aleppo are so grim and apparently so decisive, they actually break through the news barrier and Syria becomes… Read More

The Trouble with Tribalism…

7 July 2016 …is that most Western politicians don’t get it. It’s seen as something relevant to Pre-Modern ‘primitive’ communities but not to Modern societies. And, when Western-style one person/one (secret) vote Democracy is offered to tribal communities as part of the Modernisation process, so many Western leaders seem genuinely perplexed at the relative lack of enthusiasm for it. The Americans in particular seemed baffled that attempts to embed Democracy in the wake of their invasions of the Noughties produced the markedly-corrupt government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and the corrupt and overtly-sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. A Do-It-Yourself attempt to introduce Democracy in Egypt produced a government (of the Islamic Brotherhood) so unacceptable to the urban middle classes and the army that a ‘sort-of coup’ was instigated, followed by rigged elections, to return the country to neo-military rule as before. Highly-controversial and bitterly-contested ‘democratic’ elections following Libya’s revolutionary civil war resulted in 2 – and arguably 3? – would-be governments claiming the right to rule with their various militia, often organised on sectarian or tribal lines, slugging it out in a patchy, second civil war. Anyone versed in the Gravesian approach could have told the Western planners and the internet-inspired urban ‘democrats’ of Egypt that their campaigns to introduce Western-style Democracy would hit trouble. (See:… Read More

What is Globalisation? #2

PART 2 New International Division of Labour The so-called ‘old international division of labour’ reflected the colonial and immediate post-colonial realities that the industrialised societies of the West produced manufactured goods while the rest of the world tended to produce one or 2 primary products per country. However, the Neo-Marxists Folker Fröbel, Jürgen Heinrichs & Otto Kreye (1980) state that, from the 1970s onwards, there have been substantial movements of industrial capital from the ‘advanced’ industrialised world to the developing world. This movement has been driven by rising labour costs and high levels of industrial conflict in the West which reduced the profitability of transnational corporations.  With globalisation, the tendency is for the Western industrial societies to export capital and expertise while poor countries provide cheap labour for manufacturing. According to Dawlabani, this destruction of homeland jobs in the West is justified by economists and financial  leaders via Joseph Schumpeter’s (1942) theory of Creative Destruction. In this paradigm, in a free market entrepreneurs will always introduce innovation which is disruptive to the current economic model but which improves productivity and, thus, economic growth. The cost to those impacted by the ‘destruction’ is not important. Thus, manufacturing is outsourced to low wage countries in… Read More

Social Change #3

PART 3 Lower Right Quadrant Here we will look at some key structural factors which create pressures for social change… Pandemic The single biggest factor in the short-term is the Coronavirus crisis. At the time of writing, the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control has recorded  infections and  deaths. With no reliable vaccine in sight, the virus running rampant across the United States and much of the less developed world and even European countries battling to contain spikes in infections, there is no way of knowing how long the virus will run, how many people will be killed or sustain long-term harm to their health and what the damage will be economically and socially. What is possible in democracies, especially those that have swung to the right in recent years, is that voters may seek to throw out those leaders who have proved hopeless incompetent in efforts to battle the virus. Donald Trump is the first major leader who will face such a test in November 2020. Other factors which can influence change are:- Population Growth and Composition Changes in the size and composition of the population can have important effects for other aspects of a society. One example of… Read More

Social Change

Updated: 25 August 2020   Social change means some aspect of society, culture or sub-culture changes. The changes may be overt and dramatic and obvious to everyone or they may be more discreet and less obvious…until people come to a realisation society around them has already changed. An example of this is the attitude of the general public in the UK towards welfare and benefits. As Elizabeth Clery shows in the results of the 2012 British Social Attitudes survey (BSA)– see graphic left – there has been an increased perception that people on welfare are over-reliant on their benefits and that cutting benefits won’t harm too many people too badly. The following 2 years’ surveys  showed only the most marginal reversal (3%) of this trend (Sarah Alcock, 2015) and the election in 2015  of a Tory government determined to cut even more could be seen as voter approval of these strategies. This was actually a major attitudinal shift in a country that, for many years, had largely prided itself on a generous attitude to welfare. Yet these more subtle changes in public perception often only become news when surveys like the British Social Attitudes annual survey pick them up. How complex… Read More