Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Politics of Language-Personality and Expression

Language impacts just about everything our lives that range from our perspective on life all the way to how we react to new information. The book Symbol, Status and Personality by S.I. Hyakawan provides insight into the nature of language and how it influences our personality and our effectiveness in getting the things we want out of life. 

No one exists in isolation. We are cultural creatures that are part of a long line of ancestors, cultures, symbols, values, and people. In childhood we engrain people’s values and beliefs into our own. A few adults learn that these values and opinions are not always correct and can master them.  

Words also have emotions and images attached to them. In politics we use words to stir people to action on certain events. Creating the image, using certain types of words, and giving people an outlet for their concerns is a primary political activity. 

Within any conversation there are lots of needs, goals, objectives, and perceptions being shared.  Language is goal directed. It determines how we relate to others and create influence others. Politicians and entertainers have learned a higher skill of language used to gain influence and prestige.

As we develop as a person language becomes more subjective as our own grounded personality takes precedence. We are able to use that personality to step away from language and culture to see the similarities and differences between people’s communication patterns.  

It is important to understand that language is subjective and based upon the symbols a person uses and how they construct the view of their world. This view is deeply anchored to their early development as a person and is difficult to stand over and in judgement of one’s own language. As one masters this skill, they are better able of “controlling their tongue” and critically think about political rhetoric around them.  

Hayakawa, S.I. (1953). Symbol, Status and Personality. U.S: Wittenboar, Shultz Inc.,  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Importance of Export and Taxes in Economic Growth and Government Budgets

Export and taxation are fundamental aspects of the American economic engine. Exports help create wealth that results in increased employment and tax generation. Government relies on taxation to pay its bills and keep the doors open. When exports wain and job creation slows both the economy and government suffer shortfalls that make their way into government spending crisis. Ignoring exports in the debate on taxes is like ignoring the cow when discussing how to produce milk.

The news is aflutter with the upcoming debates on taxes and budgets. How to cut back, how to spend more wisely, and how to reduce waste are just some of the discussions. These are important debates and questions for a nation that desires to ensure that government is not so top heavy as to suck an unreasonable amount of resources from the economy. Yes...government does cost money and more government costs more money.

Finding the right balance between enough government to ensure proper national management while not impeding future growth is difficult. Leaders have debated this for hundreds of years since the very first tax man came to confiscate chickens to feed the chieftains troops. The argument typically revolves around how to get more taxes and use collected taxes to accomplish certain national objectives; a legitimate function of government.

A few times  the conversation may move to something beyond tax rate and expenditures to how taxes are generated. Tax revenue comes from the economic production of a nation's businesses and people that sell their products on the international market to produce additional revenue. As business revenue grows the dollar amount (not tax rate) should grow as more wealth and new jobs are created.

Beyond the specific taxes a company pays on income are the secondary taxes earned through improved labor markets. As employees are put back to work and their opportunities rise there is a exponential growth in the amount of taxes being paid (not tax rate) due to more gainfully employed individuals paying into the system. Business and employment are two sides of the same coin.

Exportation, and the wealth it generates, is a direct result of the competitiveness of American businesses that manufacturing and producing within the country. You can't have jobs unless you have employers and you can't have taxes unless you have economic activity. You can't sustainably increase taxes unless you increase economic activity. Consider a few important associations of tax and exportation:

Tax as a Revenue Source: Taxes and fees are major sources of revenue for government. Increasing the amount of paying tax members also increases the wealth government can accumulate. Higher taxes generally decrease economic activity while lower taxes generally increase economic activity. Developing a parsimonious tax policy that ensure an appropriate tax rate that encourages growth with the ability to ensure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes is beneficial. 

Employment and Wages: As exports increase the revenue gained from increased sales and improved employment wages can make a big difference to state and federal budgets. Opening up additional international sales helps to encourage growth beyond the consumption patterns of Americans making it possible to create higher levels of wealth generation. A net positive export environment is also a net positive growth market. 

Investment Growth: As regions become export oriented and are able to generate new forms of wealth they will naturally draw interest from investors who also desire to earn profit. Entrepreneurs often attract larger investors that seek to create economies of scale. As investment and exports grow so does the amount of revenues government earns.

International Influence: America wouldn't have the influence today it does unless it was able to generate new wealth through innovation and sell those innovative ideas on the market. As people engage for business across the globe they will begin to adopt certain characteristics of successful nations to emulate in their own countries.

Export activity is an important part of the discussion as it relates to tax generation and balancing the budget. One method of increasing tax revenue is to put in place proper pro-business policies that help create new opportunities through the generation of small business and the enhancement of large businesses to create export oriented local economies. Government has a fiduciary responsibility to use policies in a way that lower transactional costs, improve upon national infrastructure, and create new opportunities to employ Americans. Exportation and taxes are part of the discussion on government budgets and cannot be easily separated.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

The book The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt moves into the psychology of political parties and political persuasion. People naturally accuse the other parties of not thinking clearly and following logic. Each views the other as duped! Yet in his work, he points out that since there are strong logical arguments that follow most parties, these rational choices are based on their intuition. The logic seems to follow as people find justification for their choices. This makes changing one’s ideological views very difficult for many people. 

Jonathan Haidt, University of Virginia social psychologist, believes that people first have intuition and then rational choice. That rational choice is based upon people’s intuition and subject to it. He does not discuss those who can find multiple paths to rationality, understand the various arguments, and find validity in each of these arguments to think critically about ideology. It would require a level of stepping outside oneself without the bias we all hold onto so dearly.

This stands to reason for many people that fall within the middle curve of human perception. It would seem that biological and social self-interest would dictate our behaviors. Yet each of these parties were started by great men who thought outside of conventional standards. Whether we agree with their logic or not it would seem that those who started the philosophies were pioneers who helped people view the world in different ways.  However, as a social psychologist looking at the middle of the bell curve Dr. Glaucon would be correct in his social based analysis of human nature. 

The book appears to be more of a personal self-quest for truth that makes it fun to read. Dr. Glaucon is a supporter of liberalism and searches for knowledge and understanding within his work. From the book, we can also see a leaning to libertarianism as the authors other justifiable approach to politics. It would seem that the author likes the concepts of personal choice and ideologically finds value in the left liberals and the right libertarians. This choice comes from the belief that the rights of individuals supersede governmental needs. Fewer restrictions are better in his perspective.

The book uses ethnography, evolutionary theory and experimental psychology to understand human nature. For the vast majority of people they quickly come to conclusions when asked ethical questions and then move onto justifying their answers using poor logic. It is a rare exception for someone to spend significant time thinking, weighing, and balancing all the possible options and choices. We as a species are subject to quick heuristics and intuitive responses without much scientific or thought to these questions.

He provides explanations of basic value systems that seem to make up the two largest political parties. Republicans focus on faith, patriotism, valor, chastity, law and order while Democrats focus more on caring and fighting oppression. Each is seen as having valid arguments based in the early life experiences provided by family, friends, and social networks. Most people grow up assuming their particular ideologies are correct unless they are forced to question them. This may be one of the reasons why it is difficult to change the way people believe using only logical arguments without a deeper level of appeal.

According to the book, people are becoming more polarized with less of the population in the middle and more people moving to the extremes on either ideological side. Such shifts are considered tribal and group pushes for social network adherence.  At the very lowest level of our personality are a number of factors that include threat sensitivity, novelty seeking, extroversion, and conscientiousness. These traits stay consistent throughout our lifetimes and influences the type of political leanings a person adopts. The traits lead us in particular directions that can be difficult to adjust or change unless the environment provides alternative methods of fulfilling these personality traits in new ways. When the environment encourages us to accept and propagate certain values as truths, many of us will do so without question.

The book is separated into three categories that includes Intuition, a wider understanding of morality, and the blindness of ideology. Each section has approximately four chapters that provide justification for each of the author's beliefs and theoretical points. The book will moves through ideology, beehive mentality, subjective nature of morality, and better ways of disagreeing with each other. It provides for a thorough understanding of human nature within a work of this size.

The book was interesting to me in understanding how people can become ideological staunch in their particular positions and beliefs. This rationality is argued in many ways with each being somewhat more logical than others based upon the depth of their personal analysis. The author himself seems to be leaning toward his own ideological beliefs rooted in his upbringing, education, and environment that becomes apparent in his choice of words. Psychologists may be more liberalism or libertarianism  due to the inherent push and focus on individual development. 

This development should be based in the development of the individual within the social context and needs of society. To me, it would seem that basic value systems proposed by religion, despite those religious ideologies, have a positive ethical benefit for society. Human psychological development is also based in part in religious and philosophical development of the individual. Each is a potential methodology of viewing human nature. Furthermore, law and ethics also has a benefit in encouraging certain behaviors that limit the ability of individuals to damage society or for society to damage individuals unfairly. Most people may agree that religion encourages positive values but people may choose to distort those messages for personal gain.

 Critical thinking requires first to understand the appeal of particular ideological stances before adopting them or countering their premises. Without this critical analysis, we are only accepting what others desire us to believe without evaluating the merits of the claims for ourselves. We must think for ourselves and accept those beliefs for ourselves if we are to own them. To persuade others requires appealing first to their emotions and then to their logic through understanding how they view the world. No matter what our ideological leanings we must ask the question “Is it possible to even have a society if people are stealing, cheating, injuring, failing to work together, being dishonest, having disrespect, or not showing a level of societal loyalty?” If there are no basic values that apply to all members of society then society may someday cease to exist as a collective whole. Yet those values should not purposely castrate individuals who desire to be part of society but have different experiences and perceptions as this would be counterproductive by nature and limit the potential of a nation by segregating people into staunch ideological understandings that damage the potential to grow and work together. First we must understand before we can change. Few things in life are as concrete as we believe them to be. 

As Abraham Lincoln stated in his famous Gettysburg Address, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Where we see ourselves divided can we also see ourselves together? Does our American culture rest in basic values that apply to all individuals despite our ideological leanings?

Haidt, J. (2012). The Righteous Mind-Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. NY: Vintage Books. ISBN: 978-0-307-45577-2

Blog Ranking: 4.6/5
Pages: Approximately 450
Price: $13