Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Long Posts (!) 7/7/15: My Silence on Greece, Silly Women Are Too Apologetic and How Conservatives Stole the Human Rights Narrative

1.  Greece is in great trouble and Germany ain't helping.  The proper analysis of who-did-what-wrong-and-when would require the kind of expertise which those who specialize in European economics and politics acquire over many years.

In short, though I'm an economist, my homeroom is in micro, not in macro or international monetary markets, and that's why I've stayed mum on the topic. But a country which gives up its own currency doesn't only benefit from turning to euros; it also loses: 

It can no longer use domestic inflation or the devaluation of its currency to remedy economic problems, and when external lenders and supranational banks start dictating austerity politics, the country must go along meekly.  If the austerity politics don't work, the country must meekly agree to even more austerity politics.

On the other side of the coin is the question who will ultimately pay for what is taking place in Greece.  The answer is the Greek people, especially the poorer Greeks, but also the taxpayers in other European Union countries.  I very much doubt that the banksters end up paying much.  They are banksters, after all, and will always be bailed out.

2.  Do "girls" apologize too much?  Do "girls" use a rising Valley Girl intonation in their speech patterns, thus coming across as questioning and submissive and not at all like stern bosses? Do "girls" have too much vocal fry in their voices?  Those are the kinds of topics we earnestly and seriously investigate, these days.

How about doing a reversal here?  Why won't we, by the way?  Why are we not analyzing what might be wrong, on average, with the way "boys" speak?

Or better still, how about noticing that all this agonizing (which has gone on for decades) assumes that the way "boys" speak is the gold standard, that the average man's use of the language is the default.

You might argue that this is because what men do seems to be working in the labor market.  They choose and/or are given better jobs, on average.  They end up earning more.  But the reasons for that are complicated and various, and the simple idea of just copying men's speech patterns is probably not going to work for most women.

That's because assertive speech is not judged the same (in end note) when it comes from a woman. Put in research terms, we need studies which compare two otherwise identical large groups of women applying for jobs, say, having equal resumes and so on, but one group is trained to speak assertively and the other one is not.  Ideally, both those groups should also contain subgroups of minority women, to see if the same gendered rules apply to all women.

The point is that in any situation where we evaluate the effect of speech we need to look at not only the speaker but also the listener(s).  Still, speaking assertively is always worth trying, right?   Fuckit?

3.  This American Prospect article on the use of the conscience clause by American conservatives has a lot of food (pesto with peas!) for thought. 

Its central point is the idea of being complicit in something.  For instance, pharmacists in some states have the right to refuse to dispense the contraceptive pill if doing so is against their sincerely held (and utterly stupid) belief that fertilized eggs are being massacred by women who pop those pills (the careless sluts), and that right of refusal is now based on the argument that the pharmacist doesn't want to be complicit in the murder of embryos.

But this idea of complicity has serious problems for "third parties," those, who may not even have the same religion but whose lives are severely affected by these new religious rights.  The most obvious example of that:

The latest wave of health-care refusal legislation uses concepts of complicity to authorize conscience objections in broadly defined circumstances. Mississippi, for example, allows health-care providers to assert conscience objections to providing “any phase of patient medical care, treatment or procedure, including, but not limited to, the following: patient referral, counseling, therapy, testing, diagnosis or prognosis, research, instruction, prescribing, dispensing or administering any device, drug, or medication, surgery, or any other care or treatment rendered by health care providers or health care institutions.” The Mississippi law also defines “health care provider” as expansively as possible. Like laws adopted in some other states, the one in Mississippi is based on a model statute promulgated by the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life.
Laws authorizing health-care providers to refuse patient care illustrate how conservatives are now using the ideas of conscience and religious liberty. States like Mississippi could accommodate the conscience objections of health-care providers while ensuring alternative care for patients. But health-care refusal laws rarely require institutions to provide alternative care; many even authorize providers to refuse to inform patients that they are being denied services that they may want. Expansive health-care refusal laws of the kind Mississippi has enacted thereby serve to restrict access to abortion.

Emphasis is mine.  This is a real-life example of a case where one individual's religious rights could have seriously harmed the health of a third party.  If we continue along this route, we are on the way to unnecessary deaths such as that of Savita Halappanar.

My apologies (!!!) for ending up with three long posts in one big messy pot of bloggy peas-and-guacamole.  You are getting more than you paid for, of course, but then most of you didn't pay at all!  I guess I'm apologizing for the minutes I took out of your life, sigh.