Browsing All Posts filed under »Blogs«

Murals versus Flags: A Symbolically Dense Landscape, continued

July 21, 2014 by


As I said in my previous blog, the Catholic areas in Belfast tend to be symbolically demarcated primarily with murals, while the Protestant ones are festooned with flags. The distinction is not absolute, and you can see the Irish Tricolor (green-white-orange) in two photographs in the previous blog. Still, they are mostly found in the […]

Belfast: A Symbolically Dense Landscape

July 18, 2014 by


Two weeks ago, after we were done with various Cliodynamics activities in Dublin, we went on a field trip to study the post-conflict landscape in Belfast. Our guide on this trip was Kevin Feeney. Exploring Belfast is best done with someone who knows which neighborhoods are safe, and which are not. Even though it has […]

Blogging again after all these years

July 14, 2014 by


I’m pleased to be blogging again after an interruption of several years. I started blogging at the Huffington Post in 2007 and moved to ScienceBlogs in 2009. Those sites still exist but my blogging activity waned when I became involved in the creation of the online evolution magazine This View of Life.  Now my hands were full writing articles […]

Is Social Trust a Cultural Trait?

July 12, 2014 by


Yesterday’s blog proposed that the most useful approach to understanding the evolution of large-scale complex societies is to view them through the lens of Cultural Evolution. To make this discussion more concrete, let’s look at a particular cultural trait: social trust (more specifically, ‘generalized trust’). Trust is highly important for explaining the ability of people, […]

Progress, Memes, and Cultural Evolution

July 10, 2014 by


As the readers of this blog know, one of the central directions in my research has been understanding the evolution of large-scale, complex societies. Actually, it is the main question motivating this Forum. Now that I am back from my travels, I have shifted gears and started working on my long-neglected popular book that will […]

The Pazyryk Kurgans: a Glimpse into the Amazing World of Central Asia in the Iron Age (I millennium BCE)

July 6, 2014 by


I am back from my last travels within the fair island of Ireland. A lot of impressions, ideas, and topics to blog about. Unfortunately, experience shows that while I travel I simply don’t have the leisure to post. As a result, this blog has been sadly neglected. Now that I am back home, however, I […]

A Tour of Sacred Places in Moscow

June 19, 2014 by


As I more-or-less expected, my trip to Toulouse, Moscow, and St. Petersburg was too intense (and the internet connection too iffy) for me to be able to blog. Lots of new ideas, impressions, and topics to blog about, however. One of these is a walk I took in Moscow last week, next day after the […]

War! What Is It Good For?

June 2, 2014 by


I’ve just returned from California, where I spent last two weeks. I dislike long-distance air travel, and when I do it, I try to hit as many birds with the same stone, so to speak. This means bunching up as many talks and visits as possible. On this trip I started at Stanford, then went […]

Employing Hunter-Gatherer Psychology to Reduce Inequality

April 28, 2014 by


Yesterday we published a guest blog by Joe Brewer, A World without Poverty. It triggered quite an intense discussion, which is a good thing (this is what this Forum is about). However, and somewhat disappointingly to me, most critique focused on ‘poverty,’ instead of ‘a world without.’ To me, Joe’s blog is really about inequality, […]

Yet Another Sleazy Corporation

April 19, 2014 by


Yesterday I wasted several hours, thanks to Oracle Corporation. When I turned my computer on, there was a message from Java bugging me to install a security update. These updates are a pain, and usually I try to ignore them and hope they go away after repeatedly telling them ‘no.’ The reason is that a […]

Russia’s Sacred Landscape, and the Place of Eastern Ukraine within It

April 13, 2014 by


The confrontation in eastern Ukraine (or Novorossia, as southern and eastern Ukraine were called during the days of the Russian Empire) between pro-Russia activists and the central government in Kiev has escalated dramatically over the weekend. The hottest point is the Donbass region. The government buildings in its capital Donetsk have been occupied by activists […]

States without Sacred Lands

April 7, 2014 by


At one point last week, as I was developing the Aeon article, a process that required multiple ‘back-and-forths’ between me and the editor Ed Lake, Ed asked me whether I could provide an example of a state without Sacred Lands, to illustrate the idea that such states are at a competitive disadvantage in the “ruthless […]

My Article on Aeon: To understand Crimea, we need an evolutionary theory of national honour

April 3, 2014 by


When Russia annexed Crimea in March, American policymakers were taken by surprise. They shouldn’t have been, argued the political theorist John J Mearsheimer in a New York Times op-ed. After all: ‘Mr Putin’s behaviour is motivated by the same geopolitical considerations that influence all great powers, including the United States.’ Mearsheimer is one of the […]

Battle of the Ukrainian Oligarchs: the Chocolate King versus the Gas Princess

March 31, 2014 by


At the end of my second blog on democracy and oligarchy in Ukraine, I came to a gloomy conclusion that there would be no real effort to curb the power of the oligarchs, and that it will be the common Ukrainians who will have to bear the costs of reforms. All this came to pass […]

Coevolution of Geopolitical Calculus and Sacred Values

March 20, 2014 by


In a previous blog, I have already commented on the poor quality of coverage of the Crimean crisis in the Western press. Most news articles about the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula show no understanding of the real motives of Putin or Russia. This is scary. Folks, Russia has the second largest nuclear arsenal […]

Wealth and Democracy in Ukraine II

March 18, 2014 by


In my previous blog I came to the conclusion that during its post-Soviet history Ukraine has become a Kevin Philips nightmare. No matter who gets elected there, they are either oligarchs, or oligarch stooges. It appears that the oligarchs not only control the parties that compete against each other during the elections, the Ukrainian billionaires […]

Wealth and Democracy in Ukraine

March 11, 2014 by


The title of today’s blog echoes the influential book, Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, published by the American political commentator Kevin Phillips in 2002. It’s a great book. Among other things, Philips came up with a way to quantify the dynamics of economic inequality for historical eras for which we […]

Economic Inequality, Elite Overproduction, and the Unraveling of Cooperation

March 9, 2014 by

Comments Off

I just gave a live interview about my research to Left Jab Radio. For those listeners who are interested in the background of what I was discussing, I am reposting here the list of blogs that are most relevant to the issues of elite overproduction, inequality, and political instability. Elite Overproduction, Inequality, and Discord The […]

Economic Sanctions against “Sacred Values”: Why Sanctions Will Not Deter Russia

March 7, 2014 by


The news are dominated by the confrontation between Russia and the West over Ukraine. Unfortunately, there is quite a lot of nonsense repeated in the American newspapers over and over again. It’s just another reminder about the care we, social scientists, must take when we use media as empirical sources. Read Distorting Russia: How the […]

Good Hierarchy, Bad Hierarchy

February 15, 2014 by


In the previous blog I came out very strongly against anarchism. It’s simply wishful thinking to believe that anything good can be achieved by abolishing the state. Yes, people can leave in stateless and elite-less societies (and have done so for tens of thousands of years). But they suffered from warfare in a really bad […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 437 other followers