Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 August 8

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August 8[edit]

What if there is no majority and minority???[edit]

Some asked me the following question which I couldn't answer. Can somebody please help me???

Write a response to the following statement against democracy.
Rule of majority means rule of ignorant people. What we need is the rule of the wise even if they are in small number.

-- 05:50, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Homework. (talk) 06:52, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Aristocracy, oligarchy are your keywords.--Wetman (talk) 06:53, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
If there's no majority, every party represents a minority. In such a system, it's likely for several parties to form a coalition government. Although Wetman's answer is more on topic. Sabbut (talk) 07:24, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
More keywords: Tyranny of the majority,meritocracy. TomorrowTime (talk) 07:28, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
And yet more: Federalist Papers, Elective dictatorship. --Jayron32 14:58, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I think "rule of the wise" would be (roughly) synonymous with "meritocracy". --Tango (talk) 17:44, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I've noticed over time that those who believe in the "rule of the wise" tend be those who think they are among those "wise elite". What a coincidence! Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:07, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I'm quite found of the quote "Democracy is the worst system of government. Except for all the others." (I paraphrase.) There are other systems that are good in theory but would never work in practice, in this case because there isn't a suitable selection process. --Tango (talk) 21:18, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
My take is to automatically be suspicious of anyone who seeks powerful positions. Or as Art Buchwald used to say, "I'm against whoever is in office!" Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 22:10, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
So you're saying that running for office is prima facie evidence of power hunger, Bugs? Deor (talk) 00:33, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
It has been said before. I'm not sure I agree with it, but in many cases it does seem to be true. --Tango (talk) 15:31, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Also, check out technocracy, for a more modern variant. Note that while your teacher is expecting some sort of knee-jerk apologetic to democracy, you'll probably get further if you point out that indeed, democracy has some major downsides as well (it is terribly inefficient and unless you have an educated populace that can judge its own interests correctly, then you just have the blind leading the blind). Coming up with a more subtle analytical framework to deal with the particular problems inherent to democratic and un-democratic systems would be a good exercise for you and no doubt impress your teacher to pieces. -- (talk) 20:00, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
My response would be: Either proposition presumes that some must be ruled by others; this presumption must first be supported before I'd go on to discuss the details of such rule. —Tamfang (talk) 19:47, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
and, if you accept the premise that “rule of majority means rule of ignorant people” (even though no evidence is offered to support this odd notion), then it follows that any number less than the majority has a greater possibility of not being ignorant than the number that represents the majority. However, there is no inherent way of determining what that number might be. DOR (HK) (talk) 03:52, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

One essential fallacy of such (leading) questions is that they obfuscate one fact: it's not only about whether you know how to do things, it's also about what things you want to do in the first place. The question posed as it is in the OP presupposes, falsely, that both the incompetent majority and the competent minority will necessarily be working toward the same goal - the Common Good - only with different efficiency. That may be largely true in a caveman family in the wilderness (even then with many exceptions), but it's certainly not true in a big society. Rather, while the majority does have the motive to pursue the Common Good (because it is the same as its own interests to most ends and purposes), a minority vested with power is irresistibly tempted to pursue its own interests instead and to abuse its power to the point of enslaving the majority if possible. Not only the minority's ethics, but even its supposed competence comes into question in the same way - its members will be determined through some kind of self-selection (allegedly good and competent people picking other allegedly good and competent people), and again there is no guarantee that they will indeed choose good and competent ones, uncontrolled as they are. Only control exercized by the majority (through democracy), which is guaranteed to wish its own good, can counteract this. All of this is one reason why an individual should always be the ultimate authority making decisions about his/her life - and so should a community. Another reason is, of course, a matter of value judgement: many humans, both thinkers and ordinary people, are of the opinion that autonomy = self-government = liberty is something a human being must have, and that it is a defining property of exercizing and realizing one's human-ness.-- (talk) 00:19, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

In the parliament of Sweden, there was a tie in the seats following the 1973 election, with the Social Democrats and the Communists having 175 members together and the Moderate Party (Conservatives), the Centre Party and the People's Party (Liberals) also having 175 together. Many times there was a tie in voting, and then they acctually used a lottery draw to decide. For the next elective season and onwards, the number of seats were changed from 350 to 349 so this would not happen again. E.G. (talk) 03:28, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Luxembourg's electoral system[edit]

In the last European Parliament election held in Luxembourg, voters had six votes. I have two questions:

  • Has it always been that way, at least for European elections? I'd need a reference to back this answer.
  • Voting is compulsory in that country. Can people legally vote for less than six candidates?

Thanks in advance. Sabbut (talk) 07:37, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Luxembourg has used the same electoral system for elections to the European Parliament since direct elections began in 1979. It allows the voter a free choice between the lists of candidates and the individual candidates on them; the number of votes is the same as the number of seats representing Luxembourg. Voters could only use one vote on each candidate. I understand that not using all six votes is legal. A good reference if you need to cite one is F. W. S. Craig and T. T. Mackie, "Europe Votes 1: European Parliamentary Election Results 1979", Parliamentary Research Services, Chichester, 1979, p. 97, citing Les Élections Législatives de 1945 à 1979/Les Élections Européenes du 10 juin 1979 (Bulletin du STATEC - Service Central de la Statistique et des Études Économiques, Vol. XXX No. 7/79), Ministry of National Economy, Luxembourg. Sam Blacketer (talk) 10:41, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

God's apprentices[edit]

In what religions, if any, does God apprentice people who were previously mortals in the crafts of Creation? NeonMerlin 08:20, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Sounds more like a D&D game than a real religion to me, but the Mormon doctrine of Plurality_of_gods is remotely analogous (however, that article omits the most famous quote, "What man is, God once was; what God is, man may become")... AnonMoos (talk) 08:46, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I didn't know Mormons followed the philosophy of Nietzsche. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 09:30, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Nietzche didn't come along until long after the Mormons. Also, AnonMoos is right it is only remotely analogous. In Mormonism, God does not apprentice previous mortals in creation work at all. Nietzche's philosophy is also a lot more humanistic than Mormon doctrine is, as he thought we could all become supermen without God. I think a lot of very shaky comparisons are being drawn here. Wrad (talk) 16:21, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
So, God did the original building, and then outsourced the maintenance? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 16:28, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
No. All I'm saying is that Mormon beliefs are not at all similar to what the OP is describing. Wrad (talk) 21:24, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Just wanted to note that Nietzche is not that long after the Mormons. Mormonism began in 1830, Nietzsche starts writing major stuff about 30 years later. They're both thoroughly 19th-century creations. -- (talk) 18:07, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Could someone state the (apparently) obvious and explain what this has to do with Nietsche please. (talk) 19:26, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Demiurge might help you. The concept, as I understand it, is usually either a title or role of a god, or it is a being that is seen as a lesser god not, usually regarded as a promoted mortal, but then gnosticism is often deliberately vague. meltBanana 19:32, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
In the majority of varieties of Gnosticism which included a Demiurge, the Demiurge was seen as a lesser and quasi-evil god, in opposition to the true high God, so I'm not sure where "apprenticeship" comes in... AnonMoos (talk) 14:12, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Elijah is able to bring back a boy from death. Does that count as "crafts of creation"? It's a very vague expression. --Dweller (talk) 15:23, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Theory of getting rich[edit]

1) Have there been any serious scientific theories or studies about how self-made people become rich? I suppose they do things differently from the rest of us. 2) What economic theories would be relevant here? I'm thinking about barriers to entry for example, giving an advantage to those 'inside' the barrier. Are there any other economic theories that would be relevant? (talk) 12:20, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Economic theories : Capital accumulation Wealth condensation and the links therein. (talk) 14:35, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Those are why you get self-made billionaires. Once you have your first few million, getting a billion becomes relatively easy. The ability to get that first few million would be entrepreneurship. I'm sure there have been studies on what kinds of education and personality make for good entrepreneurs. (You can get the first few million without being an entrepreneur, but few people get beyond that by just earning large salaries. Being a fantastic investor, like Warren Buffett, also works, but he is the only example I can think of that got to be one of the richest people in the world by just investing cleverly. Everyone else runs their own companies.) --Tango (talk) 17:52, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
There's also the luck factor. No matter how smart someone is, or thinks they are, they can't predict the future. Some guess right, and some guess wrong. The ones who guess wrong end up working for the ones who guess right. One thing I would say is to avoid books on how to become rich. In the words of Dogbert, "Beware the advice of successful people; they do not seek company." Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:05, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there has been serious scientific studies about how self-made people become rich! This has been done by Brian Tracy. I have found his advice on this particular subject excellent and made tons of money from it. Some of his material (books and tapes) can be found in local libraries if you don't care to spend a lot of money. Of particular help were
  • The Psychology of Selling: The Art of Closing Sales (1995) ISBN 978-0743520690
  • Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets (2002) ISBN 1-57675-175-9
  • Advanced Selling Strategies: The Proven System of Sales Ideas, Methods, and Techniques Used by Top Salespeople Everywhere (1995) ISBN 0-684-82474-4
  • The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success (2000) ISBN 1-57675-126-0
  • The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires: How to Achieve Financial Independence Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible (2001) ISBN 1-58376-205-1
Don't take my advice, I'm retired.--Doug Coldwell talk 21:56, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Those aren't scientific studies, they are self-help books. --Tango (talk) 22:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
"Beware the advice of successful people; they do not seek company." I think I saw that somewhere else. Oh, and by the way, publishing a self-help book could help make you wealthy. :) Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 22:07, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I not pitching Brian Tracy, however have you listened to any of his tapes or read any of his books (i.e.The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success)? And like I say, you don't have to take my advice on this - however the various trips to Tahiti were really nice. One was for 5 weeks long. AND money isn't everything, but it sure makes life interesting. Did I mention I am retired, so I don't care one way or the other if you want to listen to Tracey's studies on this very subject.--Doug Coldwell talk 22:14, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I think the best self-help book is probably the grandaddy of them all, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 22:24, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, no doubt about that - however the original question was: Have there been any serious scientific theories or studies about how self-made people become rich? The answer is, Yes and Brian Tracy has done it. So IF (big "if") a person wants to learn how self-made people become rich, Brian Tracy has much information on this subject. --Doug Coldwell talk 22:34, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
In Tracy's book mentioned above there are certain business Laws in the serious scientific theories or studies about how self-made people become rich that I found to be correct. One I can recall was the Law of Attraction, a serious scientific theory that worked for me in my real estate business. Many years ago in San Diego I lived near Brian Tracy and bought and sold houses to make money. I followed that Law as he taught and before long I was able to buy properties 20% to 50% under the market. Now here is the interesting part - many of them were with little or no money down. Once that Law was set in place I attracted more properties than I knew what to do with. It was like a powerful magnet attracting metal objects. Brian Tracy has definitely made an intense study on how self made people make money. I assume the question was based on how to make large quanities of money. Here is your opportunity. But then one does not have to believe me, since I am just an old retiree. There - I have done my job. No more from me. I'm off to bigger and better things. Must crack the De Vince Code.--Doug Coldwell talk 23:58, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
The OP asked for studies, not self-help books based on studies. Where are the peer-reviewed journal articles? --Tango (talk) 15:38, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Some book reviews of The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success.

Brian Tracy's audio tapes of The Psychology of Achievement talks much on his studies about how self-made people become rich. Book reviews on this are:

I believe these were just general questions and not information requested to write up an article. So the answer is yes there has been serious scientific theories or studies about how self-made people become rich: done by Brian Tracy. Yes, they do things differently from the rest of us. From my own personal experience in real estate I did things completely different than most real estate agents and brokers - and my results were that my monthly income was about 10 times the average income of others. The economic theories that would be relevant here are the 100 Laws. --Doug Coldwell talk 16:52, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

If Brian Tracy has done scientific studies, show me the peer-reviewed articles he has written about them. --Tango (talk) 00:03, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Doug, I'm not sure you realize but having a strategy is not the same thing as having a scientific study done of things (with controls, impartial observers, repeatable experiments, etc.). None of what you are describing seems like it involves scientific studies, even if they are good strategies. -- (talk) 00:30, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry as someone else also wrote, the above are self help books and not what I am asking about in my question. (talk) 23:51, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

O.K., just trying to help. If you want to work the rest of your life, fine by me. I'll leave you with one last bit of advice (from an old retiree). Get Brian Tracy's audio tapes of The Psychology of Achievement at your local library or through interlibrary loan - no costs involved. He explains much on the concept of scientific theories and studies about how self-made people become rich. By default you will learn something - basically how to make lots of money. There are definitely advantages to those 'inside' the barrier (ooops, let the cat out of the bag). Life then is easier as a whole and less work involved to get leveraged return on any work. Basically it is: you work, I get the benefit (I've got to stop letting out the secrets). BTW, its all legal.
I am not sure why you would want to learn JUST a scientific study. Wouldn't you want to use this to your advantage and make tons of money. Well, whatever. Keep in mind self-help isn't a bad thing, unless of course you are lazy (just a thought, since I see that you didn't even bother to register a name at Wikipedia). In my opinion, it is the only way to go. Hope to see your article on this "scientific study" someday. Let me know when it is done. Must go now. Won't reply anymore. Gave you more than a fair chance at it. I'm off to crack the Code. Its much more fun, however it requires a lot of work. I not afraid of you beating me to it. So far, I am about half way through. --Doug Coldwell talk 11:31, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
If the OP wanted to GET RICH QUICK! he would go to a GET RICH QUICK! forum. He has come to a reference desk, he wants proper references. If you know of any scientific studies, give us the details (title, author, date and journal), if you don't, please shut up. This page is not for advertising Brian Tracy. --Tango (talk) 17:52, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I once heard an expression something to the effect:

Divorce in ancient Rome[edit]

Would divorce in ancient Rome (especially by nobility) been thought of as a taboo or as common place and normally acceptable (as it is today)?--Doug Coldwell talk 21:32, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

This article says it was rather unremarkable (at least in the 1st century AD). "All that the law required was that they declare their wish to divorce before seven witnesses." Tiberius for example got a divorce, as did his mother Livia. Clarityfiend (talk) 22:26, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
So they would have a "divorce party"? Ah, those Italians - any excuse for a wingding. :) Not surprising, though. The stigma attached to divorce, as well as to a lot of other things the Romans did, came after Christianity was imposed by Emperor Constantine. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 22:36, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Women in Ancient Rome devotes a paragraph to the topic. Among other things, it claims that the "frequency of remarriages among the elite was high." Clarityfiend (talk) 23:50, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Then, as now. Alan King once characterized divorce in his youth as "a luxury that few could afford". It still seems the case, though, that the wealthy trade in spouses almost as often as they trade in cars. The middle class has a lot more divorces now, percentagewise, than they used to; but I doubt it's to the extent of the elite. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 09:36, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks all, I do believe my question has been answered. That helps me on my quest to crack the Code.--Doug Coldwell talk 11:23, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

It was often a political expedient, to get rid of a politically useful wife in favour of a more useful one, especially as factions shifted in tricky times, like during the Triumvirate etc. --Dweller (talk) 15:19, 11 August 2009 (UTC)