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Dear National Science Foundation . . .

November 18, 2010 3 comments

from Julie Nelson

The Directorate for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences of the National Science Foundation recently issued a call for white papers about “next-generation research challenges.” They invited submitters to outline “grand challenge questions” that “reflect deep issues that engage fundamental assumptions behind disciplinary research traditions and are transformative.” The following are lightly edited excerpts from the white paper I submitted along with Dr. Evelyn Fox Keller of the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT.

            How can we integrate the role of values and ethics in economic analysis of climate change without sacrificing the positive aspirations of that science?  Read more…

Gender and the Financial Crisis: Maybe not what you think

November 15, 2010 2 comments

from Julie Nelson

I got a call yesterday from a German TV station, asking me for ideas for a program on “Is the economy becoming female?” The two women reporters were particularly interested in the hypothetical question, “If there had been more women on Wall Street, would the financial crisis have occurred?” I’m afraid I gave them rather a more complicated and subtle response than would fit into a TV sound bite, and one that goes deeply into our assumptions about economic life.

The story they wanted—preferably with great visuals!—was about how (as they see it) women’s greater communicative and social “soft” skills are more suited to contemporary business needs than men’s (as they see it) propensities to greater aggression and risk-taking. This drives me nuts, for two reasons. Read more…

Categories: financial crisis
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