[EAS]Social Tradeoffs

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Mon Sep 29 20:41:04 EDT 2003

Subject:   Social Tradeoffs

(from NewsScan Daily, 29 September 2003)

Asked how to end virus and worm attacks, Linux creator Linus
Torvalds told an interviewer: "When you have people who hook up
these machines that weren't designed for the Internet, and they
don't even want to know about all the intricacies of network
security, what can you expect? We get what we have now: a system
that can be brought down by a teenager with too much time on his
hands. Should we blame the teenager? Sure, we can point the finger
at him and say, 'Bad boy!' and slap him for it. Will that actually
fix anything? No. The next geeky kid frustrated about not getting a
date on Saturday night will come along and do the same thing without
really understanding the consequences. So either we should make it a
law that all geeks have dates -- I'd have supported such a law when
I was a teenager -- or the blame is really on the companies who sell
and install the systems that are quite that fragile." (New York
Times Magazine 28 Sep 2003)

     University of Massachusetts economist Nancy Folbre has written
about pressing care-giving issues troubling the modern family:
     "In a 1977 poll, about two-thirds of the Americans surveyed
agreed that "It is much better for everyone if the man is the
achiever and the woman takes care of the home and family." By 1998,
only one-third agreed: the proportions had reversed. Women are now
far more likely to work outside the home than they were twenty-five
years ago. Partly as a result, they are less bound by family
obligations, with more permission -- indeed, encouragement -- to
pursue their own interests. Men's work hasn't changed nearly as
much. The amount of time they devote to housework and child care has
increased by a negligible amount.
     "In the United States today, men and women have equal rights
before the law. With respect to the care of children and other
dependents, however, our cultural norms still reflect greater
expectations for women than for men. Economic theory offers vivid
examples of this cultural double standard. The history of feminism
reflects a sustained effort to challenge it.
     "Liberal feminism has demanded greater individual rights for
women. Social feminism has demanded greater social obligations,
especially for men. For reasons that have to do with our economic
system, as well as our political history, liberal feminism has
enjoyed relatively more success in the United States than in the
more traditional societies of Europe. Its very success has
contributed to a dilemma. Women know they can benefit economically
by becoming achievers rather than caregivers. They also, know,
however, that if all women adopt this strategy, society as a whole
will become oriented more toward achievement than care."
for Nancy Folbre's "The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values"

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