Tag Archives: equality

Common Misconceptions About Publishing and Writing

After real­ising that “many people don’t have the first clue about how the pub­lish­ing busi­ness works — or even what it is”, the some­what pro­lif­ic sci­ence fic­tion writer Charlie Stross decided to do some­thing about it. The res­ult was a series titled Com­mon Mis­con­cep­tions About Pub­lish­ing.

This is admit­tedly only one author’s view­point and set of opin­ions, but Stross’ series of some­times lengthy but always insight­ful essays expose the innards of pub­lish­ing (at least, it seems to). Posts in the series include:

Some­thing that par­tic­u­larly struck me was this look at author income inequal­ity:

Research­ers [cal­cu­lated the] Gini coef­fi­cient for authors’ incomes — a meas­ure of income inequal­ity, where 0.0 means every­one takes an identic­al slice of the com­bined cake, and 1.0 indic­ates that a single indi­vidu­al takes all the cake and every­one else starves. Let me provide a yard­stick: the UK had a Gini coef­fi­cient of 0.36 in 2009, the widest ever gap between rich and poor — while the USA, at 0.408, had the most unequal income dis­tri­bu­tion in the entire developed world. The Gini coef­fi­cient among writers in the UK in 2004-05 was a whop­ping great 0.74. As the research­ers note:

Writ­ing is shown to be a very risky pro­fes­sion with medi­an earn­ings of less than one quarter of the typ­ic­al wage of a UK employ­ee. There is sig­ni­fic­ant inequal­ity with­in the pro­fes­sion, as indic­ated by very high Gini Coef­fi­cients. The top 10% of authors earn more than 50% of total income, while the bot­tom 50% earn less than 10% of total income.

This is the same Gini coef­fi­cient as Nam­i­bia in 1993 (the worst in the world at the time, accord­ing to the World Bank).

via The Browser

Ability to Inhibit Prejudices Diminishes with Age

As we age we become less able to inhib­it pre­ju­diced infer­ences, rely­ing more on eth­nic and sex­ist ste­reo­types to inter­pret situ­ations, research into the sci­ence of pre­ju­dice sug­gests.

There are a lot of clichés thrown around about the eld­erly, but one that seems to be true—or at least is backed up by research—is the belief they tend to be more pre­ju­diced than young­er people. This phenomenon—noted in The New York Times as early as 1941—is widely assumed to be the res­ult of social­iz­a­tion. After all, today’s seni­or cit­izens grew up in an era when racism was wide­spread and gays stayed in the closet. Of course they aren’t as open-minded as their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

A dec­ade ago, a research team led by Wil­li­am von Hip­pel of the Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land chal­lenged that assump­tion. The psy­cho­lo­gists pro­posed that older people may exhib­it great­er pre­ju­dice because they have dif­fi­culty inhib­it­ing the ste­reo­types that reg­u­larly get activ­ated in all of our brains. They sug­ges­ted an aging brain is not as effect­ive in sup­press­ing unwanted information—including ste­reo­types.

Mat­thew Yglesi­as recently noted that cur­rent mar­riage equal­ity accept­ance in the U.S. decreases with age, sug­gest­ing that equal mar­riage rights are inev­it­able as the older gen­er­a­tions cease to have vot­ing power and/or die. When I con­sider this in light of the above, how­ever, I won­der if this really is the case?

via Intel­li­gent Life

The abstracts of the two papers dis­cussed in this article: Ste­reo­type Activ­a­tion, Inhib­i­tion, and Aging and Aging and Ste­reo­type Sup­pres­sion.