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Bourdieu's Demon: Strategies of the Upper Middle Class in the Information Age

Overview

The authors present extensive primary research regarding an irreversible process occuring within the upper middle class. The income and discretionary expenditures of 1500 affluent people, and their related motives, are analyzed in a series of steps. First is the identification of statistically different "styles of living" based on differences in motives. This analysis confirms Weber's hypothesis. Second is the identification of differences in the rate, risk level and content of information acquired through the ...
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Overview

The authors present extensive primary research regarding an irreversible process occuring within the upper middle class. The income and discretionary expenditures of 1500 affluent people, and their related motives, are analyzed in a series of steps. First is the identification of statistically different "styles of living" based on differences in motives. This analysis confirms Weber's hypothesis. Second is the identification of differences in the rate, risk level and content of information acquired through the discretionary expenditures. A clear relationship between three different information strategies and three different levels of economic performance over several decades emerges. The analogy between Bourdieu's habitus and Maxwell's demon is used to convey the premise that variances in information-seeking behavior have the same impact in the socio-economic space as differences in energy have in physical space. The upper middle class divides into three different structures with divergent trajectories relevant to economic equilibrium. The structure (and process) which is most oriented to acquiring and applying a mix of functional and symbolic information is consistently the most highly rewarded over time (i.e., earned income) by the environment. The multi-faceted analysis of this unified set of data provides confirmation of theories in economics (e.g., Kahneman), sociology ( e.g., Bourdieu), evolution (e.g., Deacon, Dennett, Kauffman) and psychology (e.g., Cooley, Goffman, Rose, Kolb). Anyone interested in the "consilience" of art and science, and the demonstration of "near chaos" phenomena in society, should consider the information in this study. The collaboration of the authors, one a mathematician and the other a liberal arts major, is a reflection of the theme (as is the title, which links a socioligist and a physicist). In addition to the basic findings the study provides clear and practical considerations for individuals seeking to stay relevant and compete in an world of accelerating change. The implications for executives, degreed professionals and the self-employed are demonstrated in the longitudinal analysis of information strategy and income by occupation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781478269748
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/16/2013
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Baron is Professor of Statistics at the Department of
Mathematics at the University of Texas at Dallas.
His research areas include sequential analysis and sequential design,
change-point detection, multiple comparisons, and applications of
Statistics in clinical trials, epidemiology, semiconductor manufacturing, and energy finance. In 2003-04, he joined the IBM
T. J. Watson Research Center as an Academic Visitor. M. Baron has a University Diploma in Mathematics from St. Petersburg State University,
Russia (1992) and a Ph.D. degree in Statistics from the University of
Maryland (1995). In his turn, he graduated nine doctoral students and is currently working on two more.

Richard Baker is the founder of Premium Knowledge Group, a firm that specializes in analyzing the life styles of the affluent. He developed a process for getting truly affluent people to share extensive information about their discretionary consumption and their related motives. In this capacity he had the good fortune to meet Dr. Baron and develop a working relationship that extended to the creation of this study. Prior to founding Premium Knowledge Group, Mr. Baker founded Baker & Company, a management consulting firm which he sold to J.D. Power and Associates. Mr. Baker holds a B.A. in English from the University of Dallas and graduated valedictorian of his class.

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