Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 March 14

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March 14[edit]

Schools of economics[edit]

Are there any schools of economics (actual schools, or faculties) in the world who haven't adopted the dominant approach that sees it as an exact science with all kinds of mathematical models and formulas, and who concentrate mainly on the political, sociological, historical, Institutional, and behavioral sides of it? Kind of a long question, I apologize... Thanks in advance. (talk) 01:01, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Austrian economics rejects mathematical model and emphasizes philosophy. Faculties that teach this school of economics are Universidad Francisco Marroquín, George Mason University, Hillsdale College. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 01:21, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
You'll also want to look into Behavioral economics; one of the most accessible works in the field, written well for lay people is the series of books, films, blogs, and podcasts known as Freakonomics. --Jayron32 04:18, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Distaste for the currently dominant approach is imho good taste: it's neither good economics nor good mathematics. I like the opinion of a great mathematician, John von Neumann, on the (sadly, currently much more dominant than in his day) "mathematical" neoclassical economics: "nonsense". This page has links to rankings of heterodox schools and journals. In the USA, for example, UMass UMKC and the University of Utah spring to mind. John Z (talk) 07:56, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't know much about economics, but I've heard a lot about some of the more empirical areas on the edge of the field such as econophysics and experimental economics. My impression is that it doesn't make a lot of sense to categorise areas of economics based on whether they are 'mathematical'. Econophysics and experimental economics are certainly very mathematical, and yet people working in those areas are generally extremely scornful of both neoclassical economics and some of the heterodox stuff like Austrian and behavioural economics. My limited understanding of the Austrian school is that their approach is to take certain assumptions they consider to be 'self-evident', and logically deduce consequences of these assumptions. This sounds a lot like maths to me. You should bear in mind that even if you dislike orthodox economics, some heterodox economists are seriously crazy. (talk) 11:58, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you all so much. One further question, if I may: What is the the least bit mathematical field in economics? History? Law? Development? Thanks again... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Y.B (talkcontribs) 14:13, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Neuroeconomics, Cultural economics. And of course History of economic thought. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 15:56, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Neuroeconomics is taught at many leading American universities such as NYU, Claremont. George Mason University has a center dedicated to neuroeconomics. If you are planning to study a field of economics that doesn't require math, I'll suggest go for neuroeconomics, of course only if you find this topic interesting. It is an emerging interdisciplinary field with a lot of scope for new innovations and discoveries, and to win the Nobel Prize if you can do good groundbreaking research. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 16:12, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
As a neuroscientist myself, I can tell you that neuroeconomics does require math -- maybe even more math than ordinary economics. Not only do you need the math to understand the economic theory that underlies experiments, you also need the math to analyze brain imaging data. Looie496 (talk) 20:02, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

The University of Sydney has quite a successful Political economy program. Though you should be aware that both political economists, and heterodox economists still use maths, stats and modelling. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:45, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Really confused about song origin[edit]

I was watching the show Smash (TV series) and they started singing this song "...cause history is made at night... something something turn out the lights ... no one here to disapprove" and so on. I knew the song immediately and it's very distinct. It seems like something I've heard for years and years. Anyway, I thought Id look up who it was originally by and my google search indicates, though not definitively, that it's original to the television show. This threw me for a loop. Was it possible I'd seen the commercials and internalized the melody and lyrics to such and extent that my brain was fooling me into thinking I'd know it for years? (I rarely even watch commercials because I watch everything through my DVR), Maybe it's been on the radio and I've been hearing it in the background? Anyway, I'm here to ask if anyone can pin down if it really comes from this show or predates it.-- (talk) 02:44, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Where did Anna Doyle Wheeler give her 1829 "Rights of Women" lecture?[edit]

Our article on Anna Doyle Wheeler says:

Wheeler was one of the first women to campaign for feminism at public meetings in England. In 1829 at a chapel near Finsbury Square, London, she spoke on "Rights of Women", refuting forensically arguments for male superiority.

(The source is not a rigorous one.) Was this chapel the one that became South Place Ethical Society, i.e. Conway Hall?

The Society was formed in 1793 by a group of nonconformists known as Philadelphians or Universalists. William Johnson Fox, who had studied theology under Dr Pye Smith, became minister in 1817. In 1824 the congregation built a chapel at South Place, in the district of central London known as Finsbury.[1]

Not everything with the word "Finsbury" in it, even in London, is connected, vide Finsbury Park. I am not sure how "near" this South Place chapel was to Finsbury Square itself, and thus whether it is a likely candidate to have been the venue for Wheeler. Fox sounds like the sort of preacher who might lend his pulpit to an agitator like her, but I don't know if he was still in position in 1829. There must be some clear statement somewhere. In whose premises (and at whose invitation) did Wheeler give this ground-breaking address? BrainyBabe (talk) 08:43, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

South Place is extremely close to Finsbury Square: [1]. The history of the South Place society has Fox offering to resign in 1834 [2], so he must still have been in place in 1829. HenryFlower 09:04, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Just to straighten out the place names here - there is a road called South Place near Finsbury Square, which is off City Road north of Moorgate underground station. But Conway Hall, built in 1926 according to our article, is on Red Lion Square near Holborn underground station, about a mile and a half due west of South Place and Finsbury Square. Another chapel near Finsbury Square is Wesley's Chapel, opened in 1778, which is further north up City Road, between Finsbury Square and Old Street underground station. Gandalf61 (talk) 10:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks both. I know Conway Hall is not especially near Finsbury anything, which is why I pointed out that SPES became CH. The next paragraph in our SPES article says:
In 1926 they built new premises, Conway Hall, at 37 Red Lion Square, in nearby Bloomsbury, on the site of a tenement, previously a factory belonging to James Perry, a pen and ink maker. The name of the society still reflects the original location.
But I also know that the City of London was and still is crammed with places of worship, so it doesn't surprise me that there would be several chapels "near Finsbury Square". I want to nail this one down. BrainyBabe (talk) 10:36, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
There's a picture of the original South Place Chapel on the London Unitarian Heritage Trail page (scroll down aboutr halfway). The next para down shows a commemorative plaque on "River Plate House at 12-13 South Place, west of Liverpool Street Station and near Moorgate.". Whether this is the chapel where Anna Doyle Wheeler spoke seems to be another question. Alansplodge (talk) 11:31, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
This page gives non-conformist chapels in the Finsbury Estate area as: the Presbyterian Albion Chapel, junction of Finsbury Pavement and London Wall, the South Place chapel, a Welsh Baptist Chapel on London Wall close to New Broad Street and Congregational and Roman Catholic chapels opposite. Given the strong links between the Unitarians and the women's rights movement (see [3] - scroll down to para 71), South Place seems most likely. Alansplodge (talk) 13:54, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
This book claims that Wheeler lectured at the South Place Chapel. Warofdreams talk 16:04, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Those three resources clinch the case. Thank you! BrainyBabe (talk) 07:31, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

German nobility titles[edit]

I am currently in the process of writing a novel set in Austria during Nazi German occupancy. After World War I, I am aware that German government changed drastically. Were there any German nobles who were able to keep titles? If so, which? And what did the Nazis do to them?Southernlegacy (talk) 15:33, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

For German nobility, an example is Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha who seems to have been held in high esteem by the Nazis. After he relinquished his ducal throne in 1919, his title changed from His Royal Highness The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to plain old His Highness The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The succession to the Ducal title is discussed at Line of succession to the Saxon throne. Alansplodge (talk) 15:55, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Claus von Stauffenberg was a German noble...he was not a fan of the Nazis, and they weren't a great fan of him either. Adam Bishop (talk) 16:33, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
They only took a dislike to him after he singed Adolf's trousers; I don't think his title entered into it. Note that as a German officer, he was required to take an oath of personal loyalty to Hitler. Alansplodge (talk) 17:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Also, I'm surprised we don't have any specific articles about the abolition of German nobility in English, but see Austrian nobility#Abolition of nobility in 1919 for Austria. Adam Bishop (talk) 16:37, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Certainly any noble who supported the Nazi regime was "held in esteem" (the Nazis were aware of the propaganda value of being able to say that those of the "old regime" supported the new one)... but if a noble tried to oppose the Nazi regime, a title would not save him from being arrested and disposed of... same as everyone else. Blueboar (talk) 16:38, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Our German nobility article explains that the privileges of nobility, including titles per se, were abolished after WWI. However, unlike Austria, the titles were made part of the bearer's surname. Therefore, Karl Edward, Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, became Karl Edward Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha. His surname was Herzog von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. Marco polo (talk) 18:08, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
While such titles may have been legally abolished, some people may choose to retain them socially. It doesn't mean anything, but western liberal democracies mostly held to the idea that people have the right to call themselves anything they wish, so long as no attempt is made to make a fraudulent claim for anything of value. There are many people who still lay claim to titles in many monarchies and nobility systems long since abolished. Such claims to such titles grant their holders no real rights at all, but it doesn't make the claims invalid or illegal in any real way. --Jayron32 19:06, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
A good book on this topic is Royals and the Reich, by Jonathan Petropolous. It's mostly about the German princes of Hesse, but it covers the wider context quite well. If you're writing a novel for publication, I'd strongly suggest reading this and other sources to get a feel for the environment. One of the book's appendices is a list of German nobles who were party members. Apparently about a third of nobles joined the party, which was greater than the proportion of the population at large, and much larger than the proportion of the military.
Remember, though, that Austria and Germany are different countries, so what goes for one does not necessarily go for the other. In particular, the NSDAP did not take control of Austria until the Anschluss in 1938, although the previous government had been sympathetic to their cause.
I believe, though, that in both nations the nobility was officially completely abolished in 1918-19. The Nazis, when they later came to power, did not reinstate any noble titles at all; the Nazis were staunchly republican. But they did play up to the noble class when it suited them. Hitler did not definitively take against the nobles until about 1943 - until then, many of them had enjoyed privilege and preferment under the Nazis, and a few continued to. The Nazis had no interest in revalidating formal claims of nobility; indeed, several of their own insiders, such as Joachim von Ribbentrop, had more or less bogus noble titles which they preferred to leave undisturbed.
To this day, noble titles are not recognised by the German government. Their putative holders either do not use them for official purposes, or change their surnames (as mentioned above) to reflect the lost title. This, however, depends on getting a sympathetic government official to approve the change; I've heard that if you get a strongly anti-monarchist official handling your request, it may be declined. This can be awkward, if you are changing your name to show you've inherited a senior title, or if you wish your daughter to be 'Countess of...' rather than 'Count of...'. This kind of political bias would have been a lot more explicit under the Nazis and their allies. AlexTiefling (talk) 19:14, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

European Court of Justice[edit]

Has the UK's Customs and Excise appeal against the Rank Group, regarding Rank's overpayment of VAT on gaming machines been heard by the European Court of Justice? It was due to be heard in 2011. From GrumpyOldJohn — Preceding unsigned comment added by Grumpyoldjohn (talkcontribs) 16:36, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the decision was issued in November 2011 in Rank's favour. See link. Dalliance (talk) 13:07, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

mail costs[edit]

Where would I go to find the cost of shipping a box of a particular size to a particular country from the UK? Also how do I go about posting it, since I doubt it'll fit into a postbox. (talk) 19:39, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Here's the web site: [4]. If you have a package that won't fit in a postbox, you take it directly to a Royal Mail office, during business hours. StuRat (talk) 20:11, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
To be clear, in UK-speak, unless its absolutely massive (definition), you just take it to any Post Office branch - ie you dont have to take it to the Parcelforce office. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

What about customs, if I'm sending something to a friend in, let's say, Russia, do I have to do anything there or can I just hand it over and forget about it? (talk) 01:47, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Why don't you spell out what you're trying to do so that you don't have to keep adding conditions one at a time? You will likely get a more complete answer if you give us a complete question. Dismas|(talk) 01:48, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
When one wants to ask about mailing an ICBM to Russia, one mustn't come right out and say it upfront like that. :-) StuRat (talk) 07:59, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
You will need to fill out a customs declaration and attach it to the package. Certain items also require you to obtain an export licence. The rules are complicated as they vary from one destination to another, but you will find lots of information on the Royal Mail website.--Shantavira|feed me 08:40, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
If you have a truly unusual package to mail, the easiest way to figure out the details might be to just talk to the guy behind the counter at the post office. APL (talk) 09:38, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
You could also use a courier like DHL[5] or UPS[6]; they have good websites, call centres, and often also have bricks-and-mortar stores, depots, or franchisees who will be able to assist. --Colapeninsula (talk) 09:52, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Courier companies can pick up the package from your place. Astronaut (talk) 10:54, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Try to go to the biggest post office that you can. My experience with small post offices is that they are not always 100% knowledgeable about pricing, regulations etc. Tinfoilcat (talk) 10:44, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I just want to send something to someone in another country, is that so hard? It's a toy dragon, if anyone's that interested. Where would one get one of these customs declarations, though? (talk) 11:45, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

At the post office. Kittybrewster 12:06, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
At the post office, where all your other questions could also be answered. Adam Bishop (talk) 12:05, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
That's almost literally true. In Australia at least, post offices are crammed with so many things for sale that have absolutely nothing to do with why post offices exist, that it's sometimes a challenge to find the envelope or padded bag you went in there for. It'd never surprise me if they opened up a general knowledge reference desk. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:43, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Soldier age during the Civil War[edit]

I know that there were teenage soldiers during the [American] Civil War, but that in most stories I heard they at least had to pretend to lie about their age. What was the official minimum age to fight during this period? (I realize there are multiple Armies/militias/etc. that may differ... info on any of these is appreciated.) Shadowjams (talk) 21:48, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

One possible complication is that traditionally younger boys did travel with soldiers, but didn't bear arms and weren't supposed to be targeted or be on the front lines. They would act as pages, couriers, buglers, fife and drummers, etc., while learning how to be a soldier. I believe this practice still existed at the time of the US Civil War (although not sure if it was official policy or not). StuRat (talk) 22:05, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
The PBS article "Kids in the Civil War" says 18 for the Union, while "The Confederacy set no minimum age." Clarityfiend (talk) 22:08, 14 March 2012 (UTC)