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Imperfect Information: The Unavoidable Paradox

Are there times when we might prefer people to be less informed? Can advantages flow from the structure of some political institutions that limit political information? How can we benefit from a society in which imperfect information is and will continue to be a widespread phenomenon?

Emerging Adolescence: Developmental Phase or Societal Confusion?

As a nation, we are very confused as to when one actually becomes an adult. Is it at age 18 when you can vote for the president, be sentenced to death, join the armed forces? Perhaps it is age 19 when in New York State you can buy tobacco, or for that matter 21 when you can buy alcohol. What …

Guns, Germs, Steel, and An Alternative Explanation for Eurasian Hegemony

After 1492, Europeans were able to conquer and subjugate the people of the New World because of their access to gun technology, germs to which Native Americans were not immune, and steel manufacturing, a fact that few students of history question. But why wasn’t it the Native Americans with access to these fateful resources? Why didn’t they prevail over the …

Social Networking: From Fantasy to Facebook

Social networking websites offer a large degree of “control” by which individuals shape their digital image: users can select a precise moment in time to act as their symbolic representation; what personal information to offer; who can view this information; and even restrict information to specific users. Larger social forces, however, inform all of these decisions. Perhaps it is best to step back and ask the following question: how does an individual determine the correct course of action for any of these options?

Civilization and Mass Destruction

Samuel Huntington argues that the wars of the future will occur along cultural fault lines; literally, we will have a “clash of civilizations” instead of wars of ideology or politics. Such civilizations include “Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African” (Huntington 1993). Call him crazy, but he may have a point. The world is getting smaller, and people are noticing that they are inherently different from their neighbors culturally, and tend to identify more with their civilizational kinsmen. Broad fundamentalist religious movements are on the rise, replacing political ideology with an alternatively powerful binding force. What does this mean for Western security?