Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tomb Keepers

Friedhof auf den Philippinen: Eine Junge springt von Grab zu Grab.

From Spiegel Online,  people in the Philippines working, playing and 'everyday living' in the cemetery - some for nearly 30 years. The 54 acres of the North Cemetery is home to 3,000 families. One hundred new bodies are buried each day, from artists and movie stars to politicians. Children inherit tombs to maintain from their parents. Gives new meaning to the words, 'till death do us part.' Here, it is death that binds families in work for these poorest of the poor.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Empathy and Inequality, Not

Food for thought from today's New York Times.
October 5, 2013, 2:25 pm

Rich People Just Care Less

Turning a blind eye. Giving someone the cold shoulder. Looking down on people. Seeing right through them.

These metaphors for condescending or dismissive behavior are more than just descriptive. They suggest, to a surprisingly accurate extent, the social distance between those with greater power and those with less — a distance that goes beyond the realm of interpersonal interactions and may exacerbate the soaring inequality in the United States.

A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention, like nodding or laughing. Higher-status people are also more likely to express disregard, through facial expressions, and are more likely to take over the conversation and interrupt or look past the other speaker.

Bringing the micropolitics of interpersonal attention to the understanding of social power, researchers are suggesting, has implications for public policy. Of course, in any society, social power is relative; any of us may be higher or lower in a given interaction, and the research shows the effect still prevails. Though the more powerful pay less attention to us than we do to them, in other situations we are relatively higher on the totem pole of status — and we, too, tend to pay less attention to those a rung or two down.