Emerging Renaissance

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The Socio-Political Effects of Childhood

S. Lee, E. Warren, K. Wright, N. Yielding
North Carolina State University


In the following pages this paper will explore the connection between childhood trauma and adult dysfunction, and how it is played out at the societal level—that is, the sociopolitical effects of parenting. After walking through a brief history of parenting, the focus will shift to how changes in parenting styles have led to changes in societal organization. This framework will be augmented with modern research in attachment styles and the effects of childhood experiences on the physiological development of the brain. The difficulties of research in this area will be explored, and we will attempt to explain how the horrors of the past have remained hidden for so long. With a foundational understanding of the relationship between parenting and sociopolitical outcomes in place, recommendations will be made for how parents can interact with their children in a more positive forward and productive way; and we will outline potential programs for increasing awareness on this topic. Finally, directions for future research and the expected outcomes will be discussed.

Abuse, Adolescent behavior, Attachment styles, Brain development, Child development, Childhood, Community program, Conflict resolution, Counseling, Crime, Depression, Education, Empathic negotiation, Government, Infant care, Insurance, Mental Health, Parent-child relationships, Parenting, Political views, Politics, Psychohistory, Psychology, Public media, Social environment, Therapy, Traditional child rearing, Values transmission, Violence


“The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only just begun to awaken. The further back in history one goes, the lower the level of child care, and the more likely children are to be killed, abandoned, beaten, terrorized, and sexually abused” (DeMause 1982).

Since the beginning of recorded history, humans have struggled for every inch of progress. Only recently has progress become something to be expected, something “normal.” As individuals we face the personal quest of throwing off the shackles of our own historical limitations, the struggle of outgrowing the forces that would keep us small. Those forces are compounded at the societal level, but the quest is much the same. We have come a long way in the past 3000 years—and particularly in the past 300—but many of the habits forged in the infancy of our species are still with us: war, genocide, poverty, environmental degradation, violence against women, violence against children. It is time to outgrow these habits.

Research has shown that an inclination toward violence is the result of insecure attachments of children to their parents (Hay et al, 2003). Many of the greatest dysfunctions in society are themselves forms of violence or have been shown to be the result of violence. During the 20th century alone as many as 260 million people were murdered by their own governments outside of war (Rummell). But “governments” are abstract concepts, and abstractions alone do not kill people. Each of these 260 million murders were carried out by individuals, many—if not all—of whom must have suffered from insecure attachments to their parents (if not much worse). Collective violence–in the form of war or genocide–is thus a composite of individual violence, which is rooted in childhood trauma. It stands to reason that if we could somehow solve the problem of bad parenting, we might solve the problem of violence—and have at least a chance of overcoming our greatest personal and societal problems.


Classical works and contemporary studies (Benedict, 1934; Markus, and Kitayama, 1997) argue that parenting styles are responsible for the transmission of cultural values and practices. It is suggested that effective value transmission is measured by whether the behavior of children deviates from or corresponds to their cultural and sociopolitical environment. Studies reveal that the different parenting styles of authoritative, authoritarian, and passive-avoidant approaches appear across both individualistic and collective cultures (Sorkhabi, 2005). Adult competency within one’s culture is the outcome of parenting styles and the transmission of cultural values and practices from one generation to the next. Research indicates that authoritative parenting leads to more competent children (Sorkhabi, 2005) with better fulfillment of goals.

Social dysfunction seems to be an outcome of infant-parent relationships, and the ongoing relationship between the developing child and parents. The theory of attachment styles come into play here. Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg, & Van Ijzendoorn, (2005) observed that frightening parental behavior may serve as a catalyst for disorganized attachment approaches in children, and this adaptive approach to the child’s home environment may develop later child psychopathologies (Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, J., and Van Ijzendoorn, M.H., 2005). This attachment style is also associated with stress management problems, and later externalizing problematic behavior (Lyons-Ruth, Easterbrooks, & Cibelli, 1997). The model shown below, provides a descriptive look at the parenting styles of mothers in relation to stress and child behavioral outcomes (Assel, Landry, Swank, et al, 2002).

Authoritarian parenting styles are present in households with aversive atmospheres, family conflict (Rosenthal et al., 1996), and adolescent maladjustment (Stewart et al., 2000). It is informative to note the types of parenting styles prevalent in the families of individuals who have taken leadership roles within their community. Poor parenting is related to both child misconduct and adult problem behavior that have been seen in many leaders throughout history. The authoritarian nature of the parenting they received is reflected in their own application of and approach to punishment: aggression, retaliation, apathy, abuse, substance abuse, cheating, lying, and imitation of the perpetrator. Adolf Hitler, Dr. Mengele, and Martin Luther, all of whose parents were abusive, encouraged the strict militant discipline of children that quickly fell into child abuse (Miller, A., 1998). Historical documents show that these practices and parenting beliefs grew into abuse of the leadership role, violent behavior towards out-groups (anti-Semitism, ethnic cleansing), and a community-wide systematic upbringing of children that was harsh, cold, and emotionally distant (Miller, 1998). Harsh parental practices contributed to brain lesions, and slower cognitive development (Miller, 1998). These effects on child outcomes and development will be further discussed below.

Parallel research in both developmental psychology and neurobiology has concluded that there are strong links between the mind and brain. Childhood experiences with parents or caretakers have a significant influence on early brain development, even affecting whether entire parts of the brain grow properly. In the same way that damage to the language centers can lead to communication problems, damage to the empathy centers can inhibit the child’s ability to form attachments and negotiate appropriately. The impact of neglect and abuse on early brain development physiologically show how parenting styles directly affect child development psychologically. The following picture (Bruce, 2002) shows the significant differences in brain development between a child raised normally and a child raised with extreme neglect.

Early childhood is a sensitive period during which experiences, good or bad, have especially significant effects on brain development. Interactions with primary caregivers are particularly important. Neglect occurs when there is a lack of touch, responsive gazing, talking and interacting with infants. An absence of all these experiences is a lack of appropriate stimulation for the brain, resulting in damage to the brain and incomplete development. Researchers have demonstrated a more direct approach of visualizing this process. By blocking one eye of a cat during its early months, changes occurred in the brain’s visual cortex that led ultimately to permanent damage to the eye. Because of the lack of stimulation in the brain’s visual center, it became impaired (Weisel, 1982). Similarly, when a child is deprived of care, positive human interaction, and love, the parts of the brain responsible for how a child interacts with people later in life are negatively impacted. In children, the frontal lobes of the brain are responsible for expression and self-regulation of emotions. When children are deprived of affection and positive emotional experiences, the frontal lobe develops improperly; the lack of stimulation causes neurons in specific areas of the brain to die off (Glaser, 1997). In another case, nine month old infants who were left with friendly and playful babysitters displayed no elevated levels of cortisol (a stress hormone which can damage the developing brain at high levels). However, the cortisol level in infants left with cold and distant babysitters tended to rise. This suggests that stress is dependent on the amount of affection displayed by caregivers. Neglect and abuse from parents causes damage to brain development and limits the proper growth of social and emotional competence.

Child abuse creates a lot of stress for children, and stress in turn damages brain development. Stress response causes the brain to release cortisol, which is secreted by the HPA axis, a neurological pathway that connects the brain to the adrenal cortex and is responsible for controlling cortisol (Glaser). It’s been found that a more reactive HPA axis is linked with greater emotional and social competence. Research has shown that human and animal infants who were subject to neglect and emotional deprivation have continually elevated levels of cortisol. Their HPA axis was more often activated to create “serum cortisol,” which combats the effects of cortisol (Glaser). A 1995 study of a group of maltreated children revealed that mistreatment causes a dulling of the HPA axis, resulting in the lack of social competence. They were placed in socially stressful situations and received cortisol reading tests. The tests showed that these children experienced no elevation in cortisol, meaning their HPA axis was not creating the stress hormone. Although this may appear to be positive, it actually shows that the HPA axis has become dull to the point where the children became physiologically habituated to stress. Additionally, constant exposure to cortisol causes death of neurological cells in the temporal lobe of the hippocampus region. The hippocampus is responsible for memory, so constant stress in early childhood endangers one’s ability to retain memories. This suggests that psychological dysfunction in adulthood is based in the physiological mal-development of the brain which results from childhood stress.


In addition to considering the theoretical framework and historical background, it is also beneficial to consider the implications of the current social and political setting and how they affect child welfare, as well as the implications they may have on the validity of the research and implementation of suggested programs. In attempting to explain or modify parenting, it is imperative to look at a broader context. In every sociocultural niche, parenting is a continuously evolving process guided by both past and current conditions that dictate which child behaviors are most desirable and which child-rearing practices are most effective at promoting these outcomes (Kotchick & Forehand, 2002).

There are many factors outside the family, such as community risks and resources, neighborhood quality, poverty, and cultural or ethnic background that may shape parenting beliefs and behavior (Kotchick & Forehand). For example, parents may be much stricter and cautious if they live in an unsafe neighborhood but may act differently if given the opportunity and resources to change the situation. Politics and government may play a role in the environmental setting that affects parenting as well; a democratic government will have a different impact on parenting than a more authoritarian government. There are also more specific environmental contexts to consider. Certain stressors such as work, marital relationship, daily hassles, or other life events play a role in the behavior of a parent (Abidin 1992). These are particularly relevant in a modern society where women are entering the workforce and divorce rates have dramatically increased. Parenting styles and behaviors have changed as many families now include two working parents, step-parents, or single parents.

The relationship between parenting and child adjustment has been established in research. However, there have been few efforts to determine and understand the broader environmental and psychosocial processes and factors that affect the development of parenting. Existing research includes the discussion of these types of environmental factors on parenting styles and child socialization, but fails to delve further into the issue to explain how they may directly and/or indirectly affect parenting beliefs and behaviors. More specifically, most of these studies focus on differences in parenting beliefs and behaviors by contrasting social groups, or by identifying cultural, ethnic, or social ‘norms’ rather than further investigating differences among members of the same group. Further research is needed in this area.

Politics may play a role in limiting data collection and program implementation; in countries which encourage free speech and active social participation, gathering data and implementing programs may be less difficult than in countries that are still heavily censored and dominated by the government. With an increasingly interconnected world, it will be difficult to obtain accurate data, as research projects span the globe and attempt to transcend language and cultural barriers. Another factor that contributes to the limitation of further research is that historians have often been biased–or perhaps not biased enough–in their analysis of parenting in the past. Some have justified actions that we now see as immoral or inappropriate but which were common practice in the past. They excuse the behavior rather than investigating further to identify explanations. Also, as with much psychological or sociological research, there is the problem of obtaining accurate responses. Respondents may try to anticipate researchers’ expectations or give responses that will put them in a favorable light. They may also emphasize events differently than the researcher expects, making it difficult to quantify and compare responses. Researchers should try to make questions exact, avoiding embedded value judgments like ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that might bias responses.


Information on proper parenting styles and techniques could fill an entire book. But in light of the importance of the topic and its relationship to broader sociopolitical trends, it is important to put forward some recommendations for how parents can go about creating more secure and loving attachments with their children. Following the recommendations, potential programmatic approaches to educating parents and training them in these skills will be explored.

First and foremost, adults are encouraged to seek counseling in order to deal with their own histories, to ensure that dysfunctional family patterns are amended, while positive family patterns are enhanced. Such counseling will be most productive and useful if carried out prior to having children, but should be pursued in any case. Research has shown that patterns of interaction are passed down in families from one generation to the next (Bakan, 1971), often without full awareness of the parties involved. Most people are familiar with the stereotype of the woman who was abused by her father as a child, who then grows up to marry an abusive man much like her father, who ends up abusing her children in much the same way she herself was abused. Sadly, there are many patterns which run in families this way, including anger management problems, low self-esteem, and physical abuse. An exploration of personal and family history, combined with parenting classes, will greatly decrease the chances of re-creating such dysfunction, eliminating a host of problems for the children before they even begin.

Infants need (1) nourishment, (2) safety, (3) cleanliness, (4) wellness, and (5) emotional attachment. In the modern West, most middle and upper-class children receive the first four (although this has not been the case throughout most of history, and remains a problem in the developing world today (DeMause 2008)). However, between busy schedules, a lack of parenting training, and failure to process their own histories, all too many parents do not provide infants and young children with sufficient emotional care. Infants and young children need unconditional love. If infants and young children experience their needs, cries, creativity, and enthusiasm as threats to their parents’ love then secure attachment will be almost impossible. Parents are encouraged to respond to their children with comfort and curiosity from the beginning.

As children grow older and begin the process of individuation from their parents, some degree of conflict is inevitable. By contrast, the way in which parents choose to solve these conflicts is not inevitable. Rather than (1) spanking, (2) raising voices, or (3) giving timeout, it is recommended that parents seek alternative methods of conflict resolution. In the event of conflict between themselves and their children for any reason, parents are encouraged to negotiate with their children by (1) asking questions in attempt to understand what the child was thinking and feeling before, after, and during the action that led to the conflict, and (2) explaining to the child what the parents’ expectations were, being sure to discuss their own thoughts and feelings. For more information on the destructive nature of spanking children, see Guthrow (2002), Blacklock (1997), or Hyman (1997); of raising one’s voice at a child, see Sigsgaard & Silver (2005); of subjecting children to timeout or other punishments, see Hyman (1990), Morgan (1940).

In the event of conflict between adults, parents are encouraged to model positive dispute resolution behaviors in front of their children. Conflicts that the child or parent observes in the family, at school, at work, or in the community at large, can become teachable moments in which the parents and child discuss the pros and cons of a variety of conflict resolution strategies. If parents find themselves unable to engage in productive dispute resolution, particularly between each other or with their children, they are strongly encouraged to seek couples’ therapy as soon as possible.

Finally, questions are a natural part of childhood and growing up. Parents are encouraged to respond to a child’s questions to the best of their ability, and to invite and encourage curiosity on the part of the child. If the parent does not know the answer to a question, they are encouraged to respond honestly and say “I don’t know.” They can then attempt to direct the child toward an alternative source, such as a teacher, the library, or a respected website. Age-appropriate responses are best, but keep in mind that it is easy for adults to underestimate the capacity of children to understand difficult concepts.


There are a variety of ways to encourage adults to seek counseling and deal with their histories before having children; counseling can be provided either via private consultation or via community support programs. In private counseling, adults can get personal, in-depth help from a trained psychologist. This approach may be better for adults with complex and difficult personal issues or for those who are unsure of the source of their issues. To encourage people to take advantage of therapy, insurance companies could cover the cost of counseling, based on the fact that children who grow up in a more secure environment are less likely to engage in dangerous behavior and are therefore cheaper to insure. The government could also offer tax incentives. In community support programs, adults can gather in small groups to embark on the path to self-discovery with the help of other non-professionals. In addition to the individual benefits, this would allow for bonds to be formed between group members that could bring about a stronger sense of community. Research supports this approach to public health by revealing the tremendous importance of community development–and the relative insignificance of high-tech solutions–to the health of the population (Donaldson, 2006).

It is important that parents respond to cries of infants with comfort and curiosity rather than frustration or resentment. One way to do this would be to develop educational classes for parents-to-be; a psychologist or child development specialist could train parents to understand the source of their infants’ cries, what they can do in response, and how their responses affect the infants’ development. These courses may be provided through health clinics or private business ventures. This program could also be targeted to adolescents so that they are aware of the full responsibility of taking care of children even before having them. The lesson could be incorporated in educational lectures for middle- and high-school students, most likely as part of psychology or human development classes.

Parents and parents-to-be could be trained to focus more on negotiation rather than spanking, yelling, or a related form of punishment. Like the previously mentioned program, courses could be offered through health clinics, covered by insurance, and promoted by the media. Children’s programming and public service announcements could promote the message of “negotiation versus confrontation.” These media efforts could also promote the idea of creative self-discovery to obtain knowledge.


The effectiveness of the above recommendations is testable. Young parents and school-aged children are the ideal target population for a cross-cultural, longitudinal study of parenting approaches and child behavioral outcomes. The study may be extended to include infants (to assess attachment styles within the parent-child relationship), school-aged children (to assess environmental variables along with the short-term result of childrearing as it is displayed in child behavior), adults (to assess adult dysfunction), and parents (to assess parenting beliefs and practices). According to past research (Yarrow, 1963), such topics as child achievement striving, dependency, independence, and parent-child relations of warmth-coldness and acceptance-rejection are often addressed as part of the standard approach to assessing parenting practices. The purpose of this research is to review the relationship between parenting approaches and the child’s development of self and treatment of others; this includes the development of a child’s worldview. Overall, key variables include parents’ beliefs and practices, the immediate effects of those practices on children, and the resulting adult behavior.

Finding subjects within the target population may begin by building community awareness of the importance of the research, possibly through the media. Invitations can be sent to the parents of school-aged children to request that their families take part in the study. The process might also begin by contacting parents through mail and sending out surveys. (See Appendix B for an example of such a survey.) Of course, surveys have a host of limitations, but they might yield sufficient preliminary information. For other assessments of parent-child attachments, see the (US) National Longitudinal Survey of Youth’s (NLSY) Mother and Child Supplement, through which the attitudes, practices, and family values are revealed by the viewpoints and perceptions of the parent (Dooley, M.; and Stewart, J., 2007). As suggested, reports tend to be obtained from the mother-child relationship (Yarrow, 1963). Dooley and Steward (2007) have conducted a study assessing family income, parenting styles, and child behavioral-emotional outcomes using the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Child and Youth (NLSCY). The complete Construction of Parenting and Behavioral-Emotional Scores (Wiley & Sons, 2007) includes questions pertaining to positive parenting, consistency in punishment and reinforcements, hyperactivity of children, and emotional disorders.

Due to the multi-dimensional nature of the research, a number of different assessments may be delivered in order to better gather as much and as in-depth of information as possible. The results of parenting practices can be measured by indications of child conduct and mental health as diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). The effects of intervention may be evaluated by comparing program participants to a control group. One group will consist of the children of parents with effective parenting styles and the other will consist of children and parents who were not a part of the intervention and did not receive counseling on effective parenting styles. Positive outcomes in the children include the display of: competence, independence, cooperation, assertiveness, and initiative, along with the ability to understand others.


Throughout the program’s implementation, the confidentiality of families will always be held to the utmost respect and privacy. Anyone in the position of counseling will be held responsible for maintaining privacy with every family participating in the program. Surveys and questionnaires may be taken anonymously. Aspects of the program that is conducted where personal information is disclosed will be private; all information disclosed to the program’s psychologists or consultants will be kept private, as in any doctor-patient confidentiality system. However, if there are immediate dangers seen to the welfare of children, appropriate responses will be taken for the sake of the child’s safety.


Research into the effects of childhood trauma is becoming increasingly common, and literature on parenting will take more of this research into consideration in coming years. As parenting practices become more rooted in what is objectively best for the child instead of parents’ inherited prejudices, child-parent bonds will continue to improve. Secure attachment to parents will lay the groundwork for improved adult relationships, resulting in less violence and depression, and greater independence and creativity. The historical relationship discussed above between improvements in parenting and leaps forward in society, reasonably leads to the expectation that the emergence of “actively empathetic” parenting will have major impacts.

If children are shown love and respect instead of rage and annoyance, they will learn the power of negotiation rather than brute violence. As adults, children who learn how to negotiate and who are not emotionally disposed to violence will neither participate in nor condone acts of violence. At the level of the individual, this translates into healthier relationships and a happier life. At the societal level, it means significant declines in the rate of violent crime and perhaps the end of war. Governments will either become more peaceful in the way they operate, or they will lose their moral legitimacy completely, and be replaced by voluntary institutions. Children who are shown empathy will have more empathy for others. As adults they will seek and discover real solutions to problems ranging from poverty, hunger, and homelessness, to dispute resolution, economic instability, and environmental degradation.


APPENDIX A: The relationship between improvements in parenting and the decline in violence

From: DeMause, Lloyd. (2008). The Origins of war in child abuse. Retrieved from http://psychohistory.com/
Chapter 3: The Psychology and Neurobiology of Violence

The emergence of new parenting styles leads to declining human violence.

APPENDIX B: Sample Survey

Adapted from: Dooley, M.; and Stewart, J., 2007. Copyright # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Health Econ. 16: 145–162 (2007) DOI: 10.1002/hec

Positive Parenting (Score Range: 0-20, Higher score indicates more positive interactions)

1. How often does parent praise child?
2. How often does parent focus on child for more than 5 minutes?
3. How often do they laugh together?
4. How often does parent do something special with child?

Ineffective Parenting (Score Range: 0-25, Higher score indicates more ineffective parenting)

1. How often does parent get annoyed with child?
2. What proportion of talk is praise? (reversed)
3. What proportion of talk is disapproval?
4. How often does parent get angry when punishing child?
5. Does punishment depend on parent’s mood?
6. Having problems with child in general?
7. How often repeatedly punish for same thing?

Consistency (Score Range: 0-20, Higher score indicates more consistency)

1. What proportion of tasks does parent ensure are completed?
2. Does parent follow through with threatened punishment?
3. How often does child get away with behaviour that should be
punished? (reversed)
4. How often does child avoid punishment? (reversed)
5. How often does child ignore punishment? (reversed)
Conduct Disorder (Score Range: 0-12)

1. Gets into many fights
2. When another child accidentally hurts him/her reacts with anger
3. Physically attacks people
4. Threatens people
5. Is cruel, bullies or is mean to others
6. Kicks, bites, hits other children

Emotional Disorder (Score Range: 0-16)

1. Seems to be unhappy, sad or depressed
2. Is not as happy as other children
3. Is too fearful or anxious
4. Is worried
5. Cries a lot
6. Appears miserable, unhappy, tearful or distressed
7. Is nervous, high-strung or tense
8. Has trouble enjoying him/herself


Abidin, R. (1992). “The Determinants of Parenting Behavior.” Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 21(4), 407.

Assel, M. A., Landry, S. H., Swank, P. R., Steelman, L., Miller-Loncar, C., Smith, K. E. (2002). How do mothers’ childrearing histories, stress and parenting affect children’s behavioural outcomes? Child Care, Health, and Development, Vol 28 (5), Sep, 2002. pp. 359-268.

Bakan, David (1971). Slaughter of the innocents: a study of the battered child phenomenon. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 115-117 Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/bakan2.htm

Benedict, R. (1934). Patterns of culture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Blacklock, Neil (1997, August 18). Facts and arguments. Globe and Mail, Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/blklock.htm

Bruce, Perry (2002). “Childhood Experience and Expression of Genetic Potential.” Brain and Mind. pp. 79

DeMause, Lloyd (1974). “The Evolution of Childhood.” In Lloyd DeMause, Editor, The History of Childhood. New York: Psychohistory Press.

DeMause, Lloyd (1982). Foundations of Psychohistory. New York: Creative Roots.

DeMause, Lloyd (2008). The Origins of war in child abuse. Retrieved from http://psychohistory.com/

Donaldson, S. I., Berger, D. E., & Pezdek, K. (2006). Applied psychology: New frontiers and rewarding careers. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Dooley, M., & Steward, J. (2007). Family income, parenting styles, and child behavioral-emotional outcomes. Health Econ. 16: 145–162. (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/hec.1142

Glaser, D. & Prior, V. (1997). Child Abuse Review. 6

Guthrow, John (2002, December). Correlation between high rates of corporal punishment in public schools and social pathologies. Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/correlationstudy.htm

Hay, Dale F. et al (2003). “Pathways to Violence in the Children of Mothers Who Were Depressed Postpartum.” Developmental Psychology, 39.

Hyman, Irwin A. (1990). Reading, writing, and the hickory stick: the appalling story of physical and psychological abuse in american schools. pp. 12-13, 139-140 Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/timeout.htm

Hyman, Irwin A. (1997). The Case against spanking: how to discipline your child without hitting. pp. 58-62

Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2005). The importance of parenting in the development of disorganized attachment: Evidence from a preventive intervention study in adoptive families. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 263-274.

Kotchick, B., & Forehand, R. (2002). Putting Parenting in Perspective: A Discussion of the Contextual Factors That Shape Parenting Practices. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 11(3), 255-269.

Lyons-Ruth, K., Easterbrooks, M.A., & Cibelli, C.D. (1997). Infant attachment strategies, infant mental lag, and maternal depressive symptoms: Predictors of internalizing and externalizing problems at age 7. Developmental Psychology, 33, 681–692.

Markus, H. R., Mullally, P. R., & Kitayama, S. (1997). Self-ways: Diversity in modes of cultural participation. In U. Neisser & D. A. Jopling (Eds.), The conceptual self in context: Culture, experience, self-understanding (pp. 13–61). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Miller, Alice (1998). The political consequences of child abuse. The Journal of Psychohistory. 26 (2) Fall. Information taken from: http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/06_politic.html

Morgan, John J. B. (1940). Child psychology. Revised. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. p. 178 Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/morgan.htm

Rosenthal, D. A., Ranieri, N., & Klimidis, S. (1996). Vietnamese adolescents in Australia: Relationships between perceptions of self and parental values, intergenerational conflict, and gender dissatisfaction. International Journal of Psychology, 31, 81–91.

Rummell, Rudolph J. (1998). Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900. Munster: Lit.

Sigsgaard, Erik & Silver, Dorte Herholdt (Translator) (2005). Scolding: why it hurts more than it helps.

Sorkhabi, N. (2005). Applicability of Baumrind’s parent typology to collective cultures: Analysis of cultural explanations of parent socialization effects. International Journal of Behavioral Development, Vol 29(6), Nov. pp. 552-563.

Stewart, S. M., Bond, M. H., Ho, L. M., Zaman, R. M., Dar, R., & Anwar, M. (2000). Perceptions of parents’ and adolescents’ outcomes in Pakistan. British Journal of Developmental Pshcology, 18, 335–352.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Education, Politics, Psychology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Best of Freedomain Radio

The following is a list of my favorite podcasts from Stefan Molyneux’s Freedomain Radio, for those in search of his best material or a condensed stream:

The Best of Freedomain Radio

Note: “The Best of Freedomain Radio” has been changed from a POST to a PAGE. The new page can be accessed by clicking the link above, or by clicking here.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Debating, Economics, Education, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Madoff Made Off?

For every catastrophe, someone has to take the fall. This time the fall guy is Bernard Madoff.

That’s not to say that he isn’t guilty—he did after all admit to defrauding investors of as much as $65 billion. According to reports, Madoff misled investigators, stole from investors, and probably ruined a lot of people’s lives. It has been called the largest ponzi scheme in American history, and its collapse severely damaged the portfolios of major banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and charitable foundations. People across the nation are morally outraged. One commentator claims the scandal is even to blame for falling investor confidence that “could keep Baby Boomers away from equities.”

It’s all a very effective distraction, isn’t it? Everybody gets to show a little outrage and feel like the bad guys are being taken care of. But as long as we focus only on Madoff and his crimes, we will fail to recognize the magnitude of the crime that is happening all around us.

The largest ever ponzi scheme did collapse last year, but it wasn’t Bernard Madoff’s investment fund. It was the stock market.

A ponzi scheme is “a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned.”

For years real estate prices have been pushed artificially higher by fraudulent government policies. As time passed the fraud grew and became more lucrative, and people invested in it—both financially and psychologically. Just like other ponzi schemes, the bigger the fraud got the more people had to be involved in order to sustain it. Investment houses opened new funds and sold the promise of easy money, while ratings agencies used models which assumed housing prices would rise forever. As long as new money poured in, existing investors continued to get paid—a characteristic of any ponzi scheme. By the time investors acted on all the distorted economic signals and bad information, the value of investments was completely detached from reality. When new money stopped coming in and prices stopped going up, the collapse was both swift and brutal.

Losses from the Madoff scheme pale in comparison to the losses suffered as a result of last year’s financial collapse. It was but a miniscule parasitical offspring of a much bigger global ponzi scheme. The “never-ending boom” rippling outward from the housing market created the illusion of prosperity for its victims, but it eventually collapsed as all ponzi schemes must.

Global financial losses from the collapse have been estimated as high as $50 trillion, exceeding losses from the Madoff scheme by almost 1000 times. The reason people focus so much on the Madoff case is that he can be easily punished, while the government is legally invincible.

It is irresponsible to focus so much on relatively minor crimes that we fail to see the larger crimes happening all around us. Yes, Madoff made off with a lot of money, but he’s a little fish in a big pond. Let’s stop pretending that he’s the biggest criminal in town and start focusing our moral outrage where it belongs.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | Economics, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments



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