Scott E Page, The Difference: Review by Henry H.
Scott E. Page: The Diversity Bonus - Book Review by Brenda Jubin
The Difference: Reviewed by Bruce Edmonds
Schools and Societies by Steven Brint
Description: Schools and Societies provides a synthesis of key issues in the sociology of education, focusing on American schools while offering a global, comparative context. Already a standard text in its first edition, this fully revised and updated second edition offers a broader sweep and stronger theoretical foundation, and takes into consideration key developments in education policy and scholarship since the late 1990s. The book is distinguished from others in the field by its breadth of coverage, compelling institutional history, and lively prose style. It opens with a chapter on schooling as a social institution. Subsequent chapters examine and compare schooling in industrialized and developing countries, and discuss the major purposes of schooling: transmitting culture, socializing young people, and sorting youth for class and occupations. Materials from different educational systems are interwoven throughout the book. The concluding chapter looks at school reform efforts and the future possibilities of schooling.
Diversity and Complexity: Primers in Complex Systems by Scott E Page
Description: This book provides an introduction to the role of diversity in complex adaptive systems. A complex system--such as an economy or a tropical ecosystem--consists of interacting adaptive entities that produce dynamic patterns and structures. Diversity plays a different role in a complex system than it does in an equilibrium system, where it often merely produces variation around the mean for performance measures. In complex adaptive systems, diversity makes fundamental contributions to system performance.
Scott Page gives a concise primer on how diversity happens, how it is maintained, and how it affects complex systems. He explains how diversity underpins system level robustness, allowing for multiple responses to external shocks and internal adaptations; how it provides the seeds for large events by creating outliers that fuel tipping points; and how it drives novelty and innovation. Page looks at the different kinds of diversity--variations within and across types, and distinct community compositions and interaction structures--and covers the evolution of diversity within complex systems and the factors that determine the amount of maintained diversity within a system.
Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective intelligence, and the Rule of Many by Helene Landemore
Description: Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart.Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the "wisdom of crowds" channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.