[extropy-chat] When Did (or Do) People Start Locking Doors?

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Dec 19 22:09:44 UTC 2006

"Anders Sandberg" <asa at nada.kth.se>

(sorry for the extended quote, but I think it is all relevant to what
I want to say)

>Yes, trash as a social marker. I think it has to do with signalling, a bit
>like middle class values are so much about demonstrating that one is
>investing in one's human capital - health, education and similar signals
>tell a story about being successful in a meritocracy beyond just showing
>off wealth and status (I might not be rich, but look at my *prospects*!).

>Not caring about one's environment seems to signal that either it can't
>get worse, or that it is not *my* environment. By throwing out the trash
>they might also mark the territory to some extent by placing a symbolic
trace. There are of course other factors too: young litter more than old,
>alone people litter more, and there is a correlation to eating fast food,
>smoking and going to bars (class markers, class markers).

>The deeper, an IMHO more worrisome thing, is that littering might be a
>sign of short-term thinking. If there is something that is part of the
>upper middle class perspective it is to have a long future perspective.
>And faster future discounting seem to correlate with lower class. I think
>there is a messy feedback here, including a bit of learned culture and
>imitation of others, a bit of success being affected by short- vs
>long-term planning, and adaptation to a more risky and uncertain

When I visited Turkey earlier this year for my second time, I noticed
(rather: 'shocked') again about how clean is Turkey. Now, you must remember
that I've been living in southern Italy for almost four years; that's my
baseline comparison, so such an observation is relative.

my observation is the following, in units of Trash :

the wealthiest parts of Rome = the poorest parts of Istanbul

Does such data follow your theory above, Anders? I'm not sure. We have
an interesting data set.

Turkey demographics


35% of the population is under 18 years old.
Life expectancy at birth (2005) = 69

Italy demographics


17% of the population is under 18 years old.
Life expectancy at birth (2005) = 80


Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI), Roma, ITALIA
Associate Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute (PSI), Tucson

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