Breaking down the global financial crisis
UCI economist Stergios Skaperdas says it's time for Greece to drop the euro
As uncertainty simmers in Greece over how best to handle widespread financial crisis in the Eurozone, UC Irvine economist Stergios Skaperdas offers sobering advice: "Greece needs to default on its public debt and exit the Eurozone," he told attendees late last year at an Athens conference hosted by The Economist. The strategy may prove prudent for others in the financially strapped 17-member-state union, he added. "Simply said, it is very difficult - if not impossible - for so many heterogeneous countries to have a common currency." An authoritative voice on how governance and conflict impact the economy, the Greek native turned his attention to the Eurozone in 2010. Here, Skaperdas explains what's happening in the Eurozone, how a departure from the collective euro currency could affect international markets, and what lessons decision makers worldwide can learn about the relationship between economic policy and politics.
Joint UCI philosophy graduate program earns high marks for faculty expertise
Specialty in decision, rational choice and game theory ranks first in the English-speaking world
Faculty reputation and quality have once again propelled the UCI philosophy graduate program, administered jointly by the Department of Logic & Philosophy of Science and Department of Philosophy, to top-level rankings in the Philosophical Gourmet Report, released in December. The program's specialty in decision, rational choice and game theory tied for first in the English-speaking world, an honor shared with Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Overall, the graduate program ranked 29th in the U.S. and 34th in the English-speaking world in the reputation-based rankings.
Book of the year
Collective Killings by sociologist Yang Su is named a book of the year by The Spectator
In Collective Killing in Rural China During the Cultural Revolution, UCI sociologist Yang Su presents a sobering reminder of the bloodshed that enveloped China more than four decades ago under the rule of the communist country's first leader, Mao Zedong. Drawing upon local archives, personal interviews and witness accounts, the book provides detailed reports on extreme violence which pitted neighbors against one another as categorical executions of "class enemies" were carried out. Since its release in February 2011, the book has received strong reviews in international publications, including its recent listing as a book of the year in The Spectator (UK). According to reviewer Jonathan Mirsky: "Collective Killings in Rural China During the Cultural Revolution is one of the best books I've read on China in recent years and the most horrible and frightening."
The death of Kim, Jong-il: Grounds for apprehension
Op-ed by Patrick Morgan, political science professor, as featured in the American Prospect December 20, 2011:
While anticipated, Kim, Jong-il's death could turn out to be quite problematic. Efforts at contingency planning have been underway in various places for some time because numerous actors have a strong interest in what happens. But those actors disagree sharply on what they want to happen, and have therefore done much of their planning without closely consulting each other and in some secrecy. The ones in North Korea have been particularly restricted in this regard, but those in Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Washington, and even Moscow are certainly not ready to say what is to come next and not ready to say for certain how they will react to whatever comes.
Morgan receives grant to study how craftspeople make and price items
Funding provided by a University of North Carolina Ashville Fellowship Award
Paul James Morgan, sociology graduate student, has received a $5,000 University of North Carolina Ashville Fellowship Award to study how labor, aesthetic and use values influence how craftspeople make and price their items for sale. The research, which will contribute to his dissertation, will include interviews and observations conducted in person at local craft fairs and in the online marketplace of Etsy.com via forums and live video chat. Funding for this study began in October and will run through April 2013.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: The Way Out of this Economic Mess: Politics, Policies, and Markets
January 25, 6:00 p.m., UCI Student Center, Pacific Ballroom C
Join the School of Social Sciences at the inaugural Social Sciences Dean's Distinguished Lecture, featuring Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO of the Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), a Newport Beach-based investment firm which manages the world's largest bond fund. A frequent commentator on the post-2008 financial crisis, the sovereign debt and Eurozone crisis, and political upheavals in the Middle East, El-Erian will offer insight on the roles politics, policies and markets must play in turning around the global economy. Photo courtesy of Bloomberg.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: The Evolution of Religious and Social Norms
January 27-28, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112
How do social norms arise? What role does religion play in the origin and persistence of social norms? How does this role emerge in a dynamic religious market? How can the ideas and methodological tools of evolutionary game theory and biology help answer these and other questions about the complex role of social norms and religion in our evolutionary past and today? The Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences presents a conference that will bring together leading researchers from biology, sociology, economics and philosophy to address these questions.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: American Anthropology: A Conference Honoring Tom Boellstorff
January 27, 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517
As editor-in-chief of American Anthropologist since 2007, UCI anthropologist Tom Boellstorff has contributed to the journal's 36 percent increase in 5-year impact factor, 61 percent immediacy index (how quickly articles are cited) increase, and 50.9 percent increase in article influence. In 2011, the publication became the number one most downloaded journal in Wiley-Blackwell's 490 social sciences and humanities repertoire. With Boellstorff at the helm, the editorial board was expanded to include an associate editor for public anthropology, and the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association now contains a new a public anthropology review section. He internationalized the editorial board, began publishing non-English abstracts, facilitated transnational collaboration, and added "Year in Review" articles, a "Vital Topics Forum" and virtual issues. He also engaged in a series of innovations - such as the new online submissions system - which have reduced the typical time for review to one-three months. Join the Department of Anthropology in celebrating Boellstorff's contributions at the up-coming American Anthropology conference where a series of speakers will present papers and engage in discussions on topics that speak to the state of anthropology today. The conference also provides an opportunity for graduate students to be published in the premiere journal.
SPOTLIGHT EVENT: UCI Homecoming 2012
January 28, 2:00 p.m., Mesa Road, UC Irvine
Join the tradition! Bring the whole family and join 'Eater Nation for a fun-filled afternoon on Mesa Road at the Bren Events Center for the 2012 UCI Homecoming Street Festival. Come at 2:00 p.m. for live music, UCI giveaways, performances, a beer garden, food trucks, carnival games and more. Don't forget to visit the school booths and Greek Village! There will be a special reunion luncheon from noon to 2 p.m. Then, at 5:00 p.m., watch UCI men's basketball take-on UC Riverside. Alumni: Register early. Reserve up to four free tickets online (limited to first 1,500 ticket requests). UCIAA members: Show your UCIAA card and receive $2 off campus parking. R.S.V.P. online at www.alumni.uci.edu.