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2 Plus 2 Equals a Lot of Confusion
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Re: national failure
  • 7/10/2013 8:11:49 PM
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@shjacks55 Actually Ayn Rand promoted selfishness, which may entail greed, but not in a mindless amassment kind of way. Her protagnoists want to keep what they'e built up as a matter of pride and recognition of their merit. They feel they've earned it, and that's what makes it worth having -- at least in Rand's worldview. 

Re: national failure
  • 7/10/2013 8:11:24 PM
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Anyone want to speculate? Any countries you expect to emerge on top in say 20 years?

Re: national failure
  • 7/10/2013 8:06:07 PM
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@Noreen back before the 90s, I had a professor who was convinced Japan would take over the world because the educational, industrial, and social systems in place there seemed much more conducive to its future success than what he saw in the US at the time. Of course, he did not foresee that it would have its own internal collapses many years later. It's really hard to know which approach will work in the long term to sustain a country's economy. 

Re: national failure
  • 7/10/2013 9:10:13 AM
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Excellent questions. And yet we have to ask ourselves: what math proficient cultures should we emulate? Is the whole package that cones with those skills in a society like china really all that appealing to us?

Re: national failure
  • 7/10/2013 7:48:33 AM
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Can we reverse it?

Noreen, I've been hearing it for as long as I can remember (40 years--I was a post-Sputnik New Math kid).

Was it always this way? What changed? (Or what failed to change while other cultures were changing)? Who are the beneficiaries of the present situation? Who stands to lose under any of the solutions proposed by other posters?

Changing the story we tell ourselves seems to require a combination of humility and an abiding sense that we are still somehow OK. A genuine encounter with Jesus seems to do it (there are a lot of fake ones—both fake encounters and fake Jesuses). So, sometimes, does a crushing defeat, provided we don't turn to a bitter-victim story.

Where are the "positive deviants?" What pockets in our society, despite crummy schools, poverty, broken homes, instant gratification, and all the other predictors of Bad-At-Math, are actually Good-At-Math? Where are the odds being beaten, and are we willing to change the stories we're telling ourselves and start doing what they're doing?

I'm not sitting on The Solution here—I honestly don't know. But I've seen an awful lot of things that don't work, still being proposed quite earnestly. And insanity is...

 

Re: national failure
  • 7/10/2013 3:59:18 AM
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Greed and corruption seem to be the halmarks of civilizations whose failure was not due to external forces. A difficult hole to dig out of; considering greed rules Congress (esp. House).

We could write new standards for Education, but how would that fit between teacher's unions and Republicans taking bribes, I mean donations, from the private educational industry.

Change will come from balancing the needs of the many with the needs of the few, i.e. do what's best for the country (not "stakeholders").

"Math ignorance" is not a "Western Civilisation" issue but a USA issue. The collapse of the USA could lead to rise of Europe, again.

Social Science says that true Capitalism is altruistic per self interest (not Ayn Rand greed); and that greed is a side effect of altruism. It would be nice to get back to true Capitalism rather than the current Corporate Socialism (Corporate Welfare state, like Nazi Germany).

Re: national failure
  • 7/9/2013 9:45:26 PM
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Noreen,

As someone who has just submitted a piece on the difference between natural and social science, doomed sounds too much like 100% predictive power. But ...

History shows a certain recurring pattern: dominant cultures emerge, peak and decay. There has been NO expecption to this rule.

The West has had a pretty good run and it was based on knowledge and reason. Deprecation of these factors is not a good sign.

 

 

 

 

 

Re: national failure
  • 7/9/2013 8:47:09 PM
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So is our society essentially doomed or can we really reverse these disturbing trends?

Re: national failure
  • 7/9/2013 8:21:11 PM
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Systemic cultural problem cannot be resolved at the individual person/institution level.

For those interested I recommend collective/publich choice theory and in particular Mancur Olson's "THE LOGIC OF COLLECTIVE ACTION".

 

Re: national failure
  • 7/9/2013 8:16:50 PM
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Really great ideas and interesting comments shjacks55!

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