World Views

Latest Posts in World Views

Economic Markets Versus Basic Needs: A Biological Approach to the “Dismal Science”

Going forward, the “bioeconomy” must take precedence.  (An outline for achieving what might be called “the next major transition” in evolution is provided in my forthcoming 2018 book Synergistic Selection: How Cooperation has Shaped Evolution and the Rise of Humankind.)  To borrow a punch-line from the great twentieth century biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, “the future is not vouchsafed by any law of nature, but it may be striven for.”

The Fair Society: It’s Time to Re-write the Social Contract

Many Americans were outraged when the Wall Street banks paid out an estimated $18.4 billion in executive and staff bonuses in 2009, even while the economy was being cratered by the financial meltdown and the Great Recession.1  It seemed very unfair; the perpetrators were being rewarded while the victims were paying a terrible price.  

The Fairness Instinct and the Social Contract

 One of the important findings of the emerging, multi-disciplinary science of human nature is that humans do, indeed, have an innate sense of fairness.  We regularly display a concern for others’ interests as well as our own, and we even show a willingness to punish perceived acts of unfairness.

Happiness versus the “Gross Misery Index”

The United Nations now publishes an annual World Happiness Report, and it shows that the overall trend since the depths of the Great Recession, in 2008-2009, continues to improve.  By the U.N.’s criteria, the world is getting happier.  Likewise, the Gallup polling organization, which does an ambitious annual survey across some 140 countries of people’s subjective sense of well-being, reports that its metric is also rising. 

Should We Have a “Gross National Happiness” Index?

It seems that happiness is busting out all over – like that famous lyric from the classic Broadway musical, Oklahoma.  True, happiness is not much in evidence in our  economy, or in our shrill and rancorous politics.  But never mind.  An explosion of research and a bumper crop of writings about happiness can be found -- somewhat incongruously -- in various academic journals these days, as well as in the bookstalls.  A dozen titles were counted in a local bookstore recently without breaking a sweat.