Saturday, June 9, 2007

New Paper on What Drives the Left and the Right

Allow me a gross over-simplification from a paper out of Germany.

Money makes conservatives happy.

Status makes liberals happy.

Is this generalization surprising? Modern liberals are more collectivist and tend to propose "systems" solutions to problems (hence the "big government" thing). Modern conservatives are often called greedy.

What fascinates me is how these generalizations may explain the ideological slant of some professions. College professors are more liberal than the national population, and the major currency of academia is status--it certainly isn't money! Journalists are another group that clusters left-of-center and is compensated more by awards and social standing than by dollars.

What are the parallel professions on the right?


Aunt Marty said...

Hmm, does one start with either an "a" or an "l," but mean the same thing?

Thomas said...

Actually, I would argue that lawyers (or attorneys, if you will) are too diverse of a group to allow for easy pegging. Government lawyers should tend liberal, whereas corporate guys should tend conservative.

We also profit so much from small changes in law that the political spectrum we adhere to gets skewed.

Usually, when I ask a question at the end of a post, I am trying to be witty. This time, I was simply asking.

Joel said...

Well, as one of those bleeding-heart-artistic-academic-hopeful types, I guess they've got my idealogical position pegged.

...if you ask me, medical doctors pose a real conundrum: on the one hand, they're paid handsomely for their contributions to the community. On the other hand, there is a lot of jockying for status going on behind the scenes.

Doesn't that make them totalitarian dictators or something?