Monthly Archives: April 2013

Vilfredo Pareto: Another Sociological Imagination

Vilfredo_Pareto
Vilfredo Pareto
(1848~1923)

 

 

Vilfredo was an Italian, born in neighboring France, and during a period of magnificent socio~global changes. Pareto, via his many contributions to economics/sociology, is remarked in any college~level Intro. to Business or Microeconomics course, most notably in discussions about fairness (Pareto Principle) and supply and demand (Theory of Equalibrium).

The Pareto Principle indicates that ”the best application of social welfare occurs in making someone better~off without reducing the quality of anothers life or well~being” (Scott and Marshall, 2005: 476). However, what one person may view as comfortable another may not hold the same opinion, thus, value judgments/perspectives made Pareto a controversial person.

As relates microeconomic theory and other contributions to business, The Theory of Equalibrium, he contributed a great deal to. (Léon Walras’ book, ELEMENTS OF PURE ECONOMICS (1874), also references equalibrium.)
Equalibrium involves pricing in the supply and demand of goods. For instance, if there is more wheat than can possibly be sold, demand will be low. Thus, demand can be artificially stimulated by reducing the price of surplus wheat! On the other hand, raising prices slows demand. Controlling prices is actually…the control of people’s consumer behavior, and may have varying effects on what goods can be manufactured.
Pareto, theorized that the market itself (production, pricing, and consumption) hides a balancing force, that there exists a natural median point, where supply meets demand, which shows that the economy always moves to balance itself out: to reach a point of equalibrium.

You can do a quick experiment by eating as much as your favorite food as you can, for as many meals as you can~eventually, your demand for it will decline for awhile. This makes Pareto’s allegations quantifiable, that is. measurable, subject to the scientific method.

The concept of equalibrium is interesting, and has an association to The RippleFX Foundation beyond the article. That is, people who participate in social services reflect, in their time and energy, what they find is suitable attention for a given cause. If we do nothing, we’re saying we already have reached equalibrium and there is no point in assisting others. Dont forget either principle. We can accomplish a lot for many people without degenerating ourselves. We can give someone food, or talk to then in an advisory capacity, or give them a lift when they need it.

Value judgments that some believe  distinguish us are entirely artificial; they are not less important because of that fact. The value is material only because most choose how carefully and whom to apply them with (family or strangers, due to finite resources).
One really knows ones beliefs and values are organic when they are applied universally, despite resources: compassion, empathy, maturity, and love are all resources that will tragically not reach their potential, but we can try. We must always try.
Please help us find balance for your world and by doing so, let yourself become the centre of the ripple effect. .. … …. ….. …… ……… …………. ………………..

• John Scott & Gordon Marshall. DICTIONARY OF SOCIOLOGY. Oxford U. P. : 2005

• Vilfredo Pareto’s picture is part of the public domain

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Amber Lehman: Author

We took some time to find out what type of novelist writes about difficult social topics.

Amber Lehman, bookcover: Torn

Amber Lehman, bookcover: Torn

Amber Lehman has a great future trailblazing the territory of YA (young adult) social fiction writing about difficult subject matter. Here is our cultural conversation.

¤
RFX: Thanks for taking time for The RippleFX Foundation today. We’re glad that you’re our Culture Today interview this quarter.
You released a novel a few years back that still emanates such a profound theme: female sexuality. At about what age did you begin writing stories? And did you take classes or have inspirations that made you begin writing?

Amber: Thank you for having me. I guess as soon as I learned to write. My early attempts were mostly fantasy stories, and didn’t make much sense, but writing always interested me. I haven’t taken any particular classes, just inspired by my teen life and experiences that affected me deeply. TORN, without a doubt was sort of cathartic for me and writing about it helped me make sense of life. The world moves fast when your a teen.

RFX: So about TORN, Krista moves to a big city and is exposed to different things, and at a critical time of her development. Was the use of a female protagonist instinctive or was there an underlying message that only a female character could provide?

Amber: I knew that writing from a female perspective would allow me the most creative license, so I knew from the start about the female character. Even though Krista is the protagonist, she is hardly the most interesting character. She was merely the vehicle through which we learn about her friends and their struggles. There were certain things we could only learn through her eyes.

RFX: We read over 50 reviews about TORN, and talked with the LGBT community about it, and one thing is clear: TORN is fresh, even today. The psychosocial struggle of lesbians~not all struggle~is not discussed in Health Classes or safe~sex platforms in all schools, and it is a subject only touched on subtly in Intro~Level psych courses in college. Are Krista’s struggles and experiences typical of adolescent development?

Amber: I wouldn’t say Krista’s are what every teenage girl struggles with or that it’s typical of adolescent development. I’m sure her character is foreign to some. But, yes, there is a percentage of girls who question there attraction to girls or struggle with the idea. This is one demographic I hope finds solace in Krista’s experiences; and you are correct, these issues are rarely discussed in schools, where it is needed, as it is an issue that could lead to confusion; it’s not talked about at home too often either, but, you know, Krista never quite resolves her own relationship with Carrie. She is also attracted to boys, too, which makes her bisexual; while not recognized by her in TORN, it is important enough that her position will be revisited in later books.

RFX: Sequel’s? Nice. Tell us about how you develop your characters?

Amber: TORN was based on people I knew, it was simple as hearing their voices and everything grew from that standpoint, organically.

RFX: How about the difficulties of the first book? What was that like?

Amber: Everything was challenging, the scope was large, and the unrelated scenes demanded that I write them immediately, so the story had no flow
at first. I simply free~wrote as the voices in my head allowed. Later, it was like a puzzle putting it together, multiple revisions…it was exhausting. It was an all~consuming experience. Once I took it as far as I could, I found a trusted editor who trimmed down the book (removing six~hundred pages). There was a publisher that wanted the book if I would have trimmed the book one~hundred more pages and dropped a character. Ultimately, I decided complete control would allow me to provide the story I wanted to tell. But, yes, the entire process was tough.

(the remainder of this interview is archived for special considerations. For more on Amber, visit: http://closetcasepress.com).
Amber

SOCIAL STRAIN and DR. MERTON

Robert Merton (Meyer Schkolnick, at birth) was born in Philadelphia in 1910 and lived to be 92. He was the son of Eastern European Immigrants. Most of Merton’s career, he was a professor at New York’s Columbia University (Scott & Marshall, 2005:404). Dr. Merton contributed great ides to sociology: the study of people.

Robert_K_Merton

Interestingly, Merton built upon Anomie where Emíle Durkheim did not. Recall anomie is the feeling of malaise or discombobulation of those unable to adapt to change~a feeling of not knowing how to act or knowing what to do~a normlessness; a symptom of an expanding techno~cultural society.

Merton’s Strain Theory proposed that delinquency and crime result when people perceive their economic situation as frustrated, thus the ideal social goals such as wealth and power are beyond reach: strained. Anomie shapes itself into 5 peculiar behaviors, as anomic people cope with strain (Bartol, 1995:2).
Merton’s strain theory introduced his 5 Modes of Adaptation:

1) CONFORMITY~allowing ones opinions, perceptions, and beliefs to be affected by prevailing attitudes and opinions;
2) RITUALISM~that of strict adherence to means as the goal itself, such as to get by without disturbance, as in the fear~filled bureaucrat;
3) RETREATISM~a self~imposed withdrawal from the world, as in substance~abuse, or with a ”moving to the woods” mindset like that of Theodore Kaczynski (the unabomber); or SUICIDE, the ultimate retreat.
4) REBELLION~rejecting all legitimate means/rules toward goal achievement; one throws out the whole book and writes her own;
5) INNOVATION~is using the legitimate goals of society, but reconfiguring ones own means to them (1995:2).

In sum, Merton believed people were influenced by the values and attitudes of their social circles. Change produces strain and people adapt differently.
The RippleFX Foundation takes the innovative view of Merton’s. We are here provoking answers to our varied problems stemming from social strain. We will face down and adapt to our changing world.
Join with us and make ripples in your community.
Innovate now!

NOTES:

-Robert C. Merton, son of Robert K. Merton, in 1997 earned the Nobel Prize for economics:

-R. K. Merton gave us the terms, ”role~model”, and ”self~fulfilling prophecy” among others.

Ref:

*Merton photo, Columbia University

-Bartol, C. INTRODUCTION TO CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR: A Psychosocial Approach, 5th edition. Prentice Hall, NJ: 1999.

-Scott, J. and Gordon Marshall. DICTIONARY OF SOCIOLOGY. Oxford U.P. :2005.

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