Author Topic: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?  (Read 1014 times)

MoneyGoatee

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Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« on: June 16, 2019, 10:24:59 AM »
I wonder which kind of illiteracy would doom humankind faster?  Financial illiteracy may have a more immediate effect to an individual, while scientific illiteracy hurts humanity on a macro scale.

When you are financially illiterate, you stand to lose money, and that is easy to quantify.  But the "cost" of being scientifically illiterate is hard to quantify, for most people at least.

A market crash that wipes out savings outright will spur people into action immediately.  But climate changes that occur slowly over multiple generations won't.

Ann

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Re: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2019, 01:32:24 PM »
Well, it seems to me on a macro level that scientific knowledge would be more beneficial.  On a micro level (an individual), financial savvy would.

MoneyGoatee

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Re: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2019, 05:34:21 PM »
Neil deGrasse Tyson has said that the thing that would make us immediately take action regarding science is war.  E.g. the US went to the moon because of the cold war with the Soviet.  Natural disasters like forest fires and hurricanes could potentially take a lot of lives like war would.  But sadly many people don't connect that to the need for better science (e.g. better construction and engineering for levees, better understanding of climate changes). 

nereo

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Re: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2019, 05:40:38 PM »
Neil deGrasse Tyson has said that the thing that would make us immediately take action regarding science is war.  E.g. the US went to the moon because of the cold war with the Soviet.  Natural disasters like forest fires and hurricanes could potentially take a lot of lives like war would.  But sadly many people don't connect that to the need for better science (e.g. better construction and engineering for levees, better understanding of climate changes).

Better science would help, but we don't need any new breakthroughs to better manage our planet.  Put another way, we aren't using the technology we already have; for example, we have the technological know-how right now to effectively eliminate our need to burn fossil fuels for electricity, but we lack the the will on multiple fronts (financial, political, social, regulatory) to make it happen rapidly (i.e. over the span of ~5 years). 

caleb

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Re: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019, 06:29:33 PM »
Scientific literacy is a common pool resource, and we should promote it because we all benefit from it.

Financial literacy has greater consequences for the individual (although there are public consequences) and so we usually expend fewer public resources on subsidizing financial literacy.

In the aggregate, financial illiteracy has limited consequences (and arguably the great financial calamities have been generated by financial firms).  Scientific illiteracy, when combined with democratic processes, has the potential to doom humanity.

MoneyGoatee

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Re: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2019, 07:51:19 PM »
In the aggregate, financial illiteracy has limited consequences (and arguably the great financial calamities have been generated by financial firms).  Scientific illiteracy, when combined with democratic processes, has the potential to doom humanity.

But does the lack of understanding of financial matters (i.e. financial illiteracy) have much to do with the calamities, though?  If the public had been more educated about financial matters, I believe the housing crisis wouldn't have occurred, at least not to such extent.  I consider the culture of consumerism, overspending, etc., to be a part of that lack of understanding.

caleb

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Re: Financial literacy vs. scientific literacy?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2019, 08:13:18 PM »
In the aggregate, financial illiteracy has limited consequences (and arguably the great financial calamities have been generated by financial firms).  Scientific illiteracy, when combined with democratic processes, has the potential to doom humanity.

But does the lack of understanding of financial matters (i.e. financial illiteracy) have much to do with the calamities, though?  If the public had been more educated about financial matters, I believe the housing crisis wouldn't have occurred, at least not to such extent.  I consider the culture of consumerism, overspending, etc., to be a part of that lack of understanding.

Structures (broadly conceived) or agents?  That's the eternal question.

Personally, if we include access to credit in the "structures" category, I'll pick structures as the driver of events every time.  Individual action, aggregated at a social level, is just a predictable response to structures.

Individually there might be free will, but collectively it's somewhere between limited and "forget about it."