- Tapa blanda: 256 páginas
- Editor: Princeton University Press (13 de octubre de 2013)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0691159726
- ISBN-13: 978-0691159720
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº258.859 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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The War of the Sexes: How Conflict and Cooperation Have Shaped Men and Women from Prehistory to the Present (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 13 oct 2013
Descripción del producto
One of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Economics Books of 2013 "[A] witty, informative and cogent new book."--Jonathan Ree, Guardian "Seabright zooms out and across history in an accessible mix of scholarly prose and chatty anecdote to explain why inequalities and disagreements persist beyond potty-training... Turning to today, Seabright investigates everything from the effects of technology on gender-bias, to the various benefits of tallness, talent, and charm in the workplace."--PublishersWeekly.com "Throughout the book, Seabright is terrific company--entertaining and convincing."--John Whitfield, Nature "Right off the bat, I can say that this book should not be collecting dust on your shelf... [I]s War of the Sexes a challenging and interesting read? Undoubtedly so."--Sander Van Der Linden, LSE Politics and Policy blog "The War of the Sexes is a fascinating read. I love its interdisciplinarity."--Diane Coyle, The Enlightened Economist "Seabright, an economist familiar with evolutionary modelling, synthesises several disciplines in asking what our evolutionary heritage teaches us about men's and women's rights and roles in the modern labour market. Judicious in bringing Darwinism to bear on contemporary mores, he avoids the vulgar reductionism that often plagues this kind of popular science."--Camilla Power, Times Higher Education "Seabright is unusual among economists in being a thoroughgoing Darwinian, and in this fascinating book he takes an evolutionary perspective to explore why there are still inequalities in economic power between men and women."--Jon Wainwright, Skeptic
Reseña del editor
As countless love songs, movies, and self-help books attest, men and women have long sought different things. The result? Seemingly inevitable conflict. Yet we belong to the most cooperative species on the planet. Isn't there a way we can use this capacity to achieve greater harmony and equality between the sexes? In The War of the Sexes, Paul Seabright argues that there is - but first we must understand how the tension between conflict and cooperation developed in our remote evolutionary past, how it shaped the modern world, and how it still holds us back, both at home and at work. Drawing on biology, sociology, anthropology, and economics, Seabright shows that conflict between the sexes is, paradoxically, the product of cooperation. The evolutionary niche - the long dependent childhood - carved out by our ancestors requires the highest level of cooperative talent. But it also gives couples more to fight about. Men and women became experts at influencing one another to achieve their cooperative ends, but also became trapped in strategies of manipulation and deception in pursuit of sex and partnership. In early societies, economic conditions moved the balance of power in favor of men, as they cornered scarce resources for use in the sexual bargain. Today, conditions have changed beyond recognition, yet inequalities between men and women persist, as the brains, talents, and preferences we inherited from our ancestors struggle to deal with the unpredictable forces unleashed by the modern information economy. Men and women today have an unprecedented opportunity to achieve equal power and respect. But we need to understand the mixed inheritance of conflict and cooperation left to us by our primate ancestors if we are finally to escape their legacy.Ver Descripción del producto
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It was in the second part on the present that Seabright failed to close the deal. He is determined to avoid anything smacking or biological roots of preferences to explain the different labor market outcomes for modern men and women and develops a model of socially constructed reality determining occupational and other labor market choices. That is all fine, but the failure to outline the range of possible explanations is not. He shows promise in discussion of the types of social network favored by men and women, but does not develop this fully enough to be convincing.
Paul Seabright is a rare economist. He uses a long-winded, yet easy to follow, prose to display of an impressive array of knowledge - breezing comfortably through economics, history, literature, game theory, biology, anthropology and zoology, seamlessly jumping between them without losing the reader. His explanations are never abstruse, and each chapter is full of historical, literary and animal behavior tidbits; he also uses clever narrative tricks, like the hilarious hypothetical ape anthropologists account on Homo Sapiens in the final chapter (which I dare not spoil here).
The main argument of the book is that conflict and cooperation boils down to the many ways both sexes try to balance their respective naturally-endowed bargaining asymmetries; how men and women accomplish cooperation, despite all they risk and all they have to hide from each other. Seabright writes that "the most interesting questions about economic relations between men and women are not about how much they respectively consume but about how much they each control" (Kindle Locations 125-126), and shows how men and women balance the sexual selection equation by cornering resources, lying, seducing, loving, engaging in costly signaling and many other clever tactics. (Dance flies and bonobos also do it, so don't hold your breath until we legislate their sex differences away).
Conflict between men and women, according to Seabright, is a by-product of the evolutionary leap that made us who we are: the long childhood. Time to maturity for human infants is one of the longest among mammals; babies are born long before their brains are fully developed, remaining vulnerable for most of their first years and requiring more protection and nourishment that either the mother or the father can afford. Upbringing shifted efforts, from the usual-suspects of sexual selection, into child-bearing capabilities, making long-term cooperation the definitive tool for human genetic fitness. The seemingly small difference of the long-childhood accounts for lots of behavioral patterns; women don't always go for the biggest, sexiest, richest guy anymore, but for the one who signals himself to be the most reliable long-term partner in bringing up the young - or at least he who convinces her that he will. No great insight there, granted: standard evolutionary biology/psychology. But this is just the start.
The crust of the matter is that, because of relative energy investment in gamete production, women have the default upper-hand in sexual selection: relative size and availability of eggs grants them first-mover advantage. To regain bargaining power, men re-balanced their sexual bargaining position by cornering economic resources; because the long childhood requires some division of labor and women invest more in a child than men do, men took to protein-gathering (i.e. hunting) as a way to balance the selection equation, so that "human males have had things to offer that human females needed much more than the females of those other species do, namely food and protection" (Kindle Locations 1449-1450). And there it is: men subverted the advantage of sexual selection bestowed upon women by nature by means of economics because "men's resources have been ones they controlled; women's resources have often controlled them, because they were physically vested in women's bodies" (Kindle Locations 1483-1484).
However, those same differences that explain most of the behavioral disparities between men and women also explain why so many expected differences are not there. Take the brain. Despite differences in division of labor, sexual selection strategies, body size and such, men and women are equipped with pretty much the same brain. As Seabright notes: "Brain tissue is far more expensive than muscle to grow and maintain, yet natural selection has nevertheless given equally sophisticated brains to men and to women" (Kindle Locations 1242-1243), which indicates that social needs for both sexes outshine differences from sexual selection and cannot account for inequalities. This leads him to conclude that "Overall, therefore, the claim that the major differences in economic rewards of men and women can be explained by differences in talent— either on average or specifically at the upper extreme of the distribution of talent— is entirely unconvincing." (Kindle Locations 1900-1902).
If talent cannot explain differences in outcomes between men and women, what can? The ideological chorus usually barges in, predictably shouting "discrimination!". Seabright offers two provocations to this crowd: preferences and networks. Take risk. If men take, on average, more risky decisions than women, the tails of most outcome distributions will be filled with men, which might not affect the average but certainly the dispersion; as Seabright, writes, "it seems plausible that if men are willing on average to take more risk, those for whom the risk pays off would end up systematically better rewarded than women of equal ability" (Kindle Locations 1965-1967). Now, if this risk-profile compounds with a reward system that pays no distinction to outcomes achieved through luck or effort, which apparently doesn't (see Robert H. Frank (2016) "Success and Luck"), these preferences in risk-taking might amplify differences in undesirable ways. In any case, differences in preferences for risk-taking help explain outcome disparities, and they don't fit in the discrimination narrative.
Now for the second reason, the most insightful in the book: personal network composition. Seabright claims that men and women structure differently their relationship networks, and the weak ties that go with them, which can make up for large differences in outcomes. Drawing from relationships in primates, where “Among males, most cooperation seems of a transactional nature; they help one another on a tit-for-tat basis. Females, in contrast, base their cooperation on kinship and personal preference.” (Kindle Locations 2192-2193), and from this he extrapolates that differences in men-to-men opportunistic vs women-to-women loyalty relationships can involve network externalities that work against women in the labor market. While men have unstable but flexible relationships, women have stable and inflexible ones so that, through weak ties, these relationships can help explain a large chunk of outcome disparities. Evidence is scant (Seabright co-authored a paper in 2011 estimating these effects on top-earning executives) and these type of network effects are difficult to measure, but the logic looks sound.
And right there, when the discussion is at its peak, when the ground is laid down for the encore: "the end". The last chapter cuts the narrative abruptly, as if it was rushed out to print. It might be the need for story-telling structure that leaves the reader hanging, but the reason why this book doesn’t deserve the fifth star is incompleteness: the credits roll before the ending.
As I said before, the book excels in drawing, and explaining, naturalistic sources of differences between the sexes that your feminist acquaintance, or your chauvinistic uncle, will never fathom. The extent to which these reasons account for most differences remains an open, empirical question, but they dent those convenient narratives that reduce all differences to calculated, oppressive discrimination. The book is tightly-knit up until the end, so if you can ignore that, a fun and informative read lies ahead.
(Cool anecdotal coda: "the earliest known commercial logo is a carving on the walls of Pompeii advertising the way to a brothel" (Kindle Locations 668-669))
A second seeming inexorable movement has been the development in the less developed societies of urban areas in which technology and social structure follows a similar trajectory, undermining the forms of patriarchal authority characteristic of the tribal, clannish, and unaccountably authoritarian societies that have dominated human social life since the advent of settled trade and agriculture some 10,000 years ago.
Writers and researchers of various stripes have expended huge amounts of effort to understand this dynamical process and predict its future. Much of this effort is completely worthless, being based on an arbitrary theological prejudice or philosophical speculation. Approaches applying the scientific method, in particular those starting from evolutionary biology and modern behavioral game theory, have been more promising, but even here many writers have embraced untenable principles and thus produced unpersuasive analyses.
Paul Seabright’s new book is an entertaining, well written, highly informative, and persuasive book is dedicated to countering the major pitfalls in the evolutionary analysis of the relations between the sexes, and providing a balanced treatment that asserts positively what can reasonably be asserted, and speculates creatively in dealing with the questions (there are many) that remain unresolved.
Perhaps the two most common errors are to consider all differences in the behavior of men and women the pure product of culture and socialization---the so-called “tabula rasa” or “blank slate” assumption (incorrectly) attributed to the English philosopher John Locke and ably debunked by Stephen Pinker in his book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. The fact is that humans are moderately sexually dimorphic, with males different from females not only anatomically, but also is size, strength, and behavior in every society ever studied. Seabright correctly argues that while it is possible that all behavioral differences are due to social rather than genetic forces, the fact that there are many known differences between the male and female brain suggest that this is not the case, although there appears to be no significant difference in general cognitive capacity between the two. Seabright attributes this fact that in the period of evolutionary emergence there was a marked sexual division of labor, but the challenges were equally complex for men and women.
The second serious error is that of biological determinism. If the blank slate view is characteristic of mindless liberalism, biological determinism is the refuge of mindless conservatism. According to this view, there are extreme behavioral differences between men and women, and these cannot be papered over by a veneer of egalitarian cultural ideology. Perhaps the most compelling example of biological determinism is that women are naturally attracted to pair bonding and sexual exclusivity while males are naturally attracted to promiscuity. This dichotomy is largely true in many birds and mammals in which the female bears most of the cost of producing and rearing young and is virtually assured of having her eggs fertilized, whereas males bear little of the cost, can produce vast amounts of sperm at will, and whose major task is that of successfully inseminating females. But, as Seabright stresses, there are many examples of sexually adventurous females in various species, and this behavior can easily be the product of evolutionary adaptation. I agree with Seabright that it is very likely that under the proper social conditions, the sexual preferences of men and women may be virtually identical.
Seabright correctly concludes that there are no known biological difference between men and women that preclude full gender equality, that the sexual division of labor is likely to become more egalitarian for the foreseeable future, but there is no reason to believe that behavioral difference between the sexes will ever disappear completely.
Part of the power of Seabright’s book is that he is a truly transdisciplinary behavioral scientist. His training is in economics, but his knowledge of evolutionary biology and his acquaintance with contemporary neuroscience and cognitive science is extensive, deep, and mature.