Thursday, January 30

Compassion and contamination. Cultural differences in vegetarianism

I don't get Vegetarians. :P

that said, here’s a fascinating study

A growing body of research has shown that Western vegetarians report more concern for animal welfare and environmental sustainability, and endorse more liberal values than do Western omnivores. However, despite the prevalence of Indian vegetarianism, its psychological associations and underpinnings remain largely unexamined. In Study 1, we find that Euro-American vegetarians are more concerned than omnivores with the impact of their daily food choices on the environment and animal welfare, show more concern for general animal welfare, and endorse universalistic values more, yet among Indian participants, these differences are not significant. In Study 2, we show that Indian vegetarians more strongly endorse the belief that eating meat is polluting, and show a heightened concern for the conservative ethics of Purity, Authority, and Ingroup relative to their omnivorous peers, whereas these differences are largely absent among Euro-Canadians and Euro-Americans.

In effect, if you are an Indian vegetarian, then you are conservative. If you are a western vegetarian, then you are liberal (to use the American sense of liberalism – bah). .

Means and standard deviations of omnivore and vegetarian concern for the impact of daily food choices on the environment, animal welfare, Animal Attitudes, and endorsement of Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Universalism.

Euro-American Indian
Omnivore Vegetarian Omnivore Vegetarian
Ecological Welfare 2.62 (.97) 3.56 (.62) 3.20 (.71) 3.21 (.85)
Animal Welfare 2.50 (1.03) 3.34 (1.08) 2.83 (.84) 3.07 (.88)
Animal Attitudes 64.26 (14.53) 80.32 (15.77) 61.92 (8.64) 65.06 (11.55)
Right-Wing Authoritarianism −4.79 (26.39) −26.86 (25.23) 6.14 (11.39) 5.29 (10.35)
Universalism 4.46 (.75) 5.07 (.86) 4.17 (.49) 4.29 (.56)


how about study 2?

Means and standard deviations of omnivore and vegetarian meat pollution beliefs, religiosity, and concern for the Five Moral Foundations.

Omnivore Vegetarian Omnivore Vegetarian Omnivore Vegetarian Omnivore Vegetarian
Meat Pollution −3.27 (1.11) −1.73 (2.22) −3.16 (1.46) −1.41 (2.03) −1.76 (1.96) 1.34 (2.28) −2.61 (2.24) 2.69 (1.73)
Religiosity 2.12 (1.51) 2.65 (1.69) 2.86 (1.94) 2.31 (1.58) 4.59 (1.84) 5.30 (1.46) 4.73 (1.62) 5.60 (1.01)
Purity 3.56 (1.19) 3.35 (1.69) 3.60 (1.34) 3.13 (.89) 3.85 (1.10) 4.38 (.95) 3.21 (1.29) 5.32 (1.03)
Authority 3.56 (.91) 3.32 (1.31) 3.45 (1.10) 3.00 (1.01) 3.82 (1.08) 4.24 (.88) 3.20 (1.42) 5.16 (1.15)
Ingroup 3.90 (1.03) 3.91 (1.36) 3.67 (1.27) 3.74 (.97) 3.88 (1.08) 4.39 (1.01) 3.50 (1.36) 5.23 (1.03)
Harm 4.94 (.83) 4.91 (1.12) 4.88 (.98) 5.29 (.88) 4.12 (1.28) 5.04 (.84) 3.44 (1.69) 5.39 (.83)
Fairness 4.55 (.88) 4.73 (.85) 4.47 (1.04) 4.98 (.65) 4.05 (1.21) 4.64 (.83) 3.92 (1.50) 5.22 (1.18)

Fascinating. While you would have considered this to be self evident if you were a desi who has experience of western cultural mores, this would come as a surprise…

Tuesday, January 28

Religion, social class, and entrepreneurial choice


While considerable concern has emerged about the links between religion and economic growth, little is actually known about how religion and social class impact the decision making of individuals. Using institutional theory and social dominance theory, this paper examines the influence of religion and social class on individuals' occupational choices. Based on a large-scale database from India, this paper finds that while some religions are relatively conducive to self-employment, some others have a negative impact on self-employment choices. Furthermore, individuals belonging to social classes that are lower in the social hierarchy are less likely to be self-employed. The role of both religion and social class in influencing the likelihood of choosing self-employment suggests an important link between religion, social class, and occupational decision-making.


• We examine the role of religion and social class on occupational choice.
• We find that religions like Islam and Jainism are more favorable for self-employment.
• We find that Hindus are less likely to be self-employed compared to others.
• Individuals belonging to social classes lower in the social hierarchy are least likely to be self-employed.

The following regression models are estimated to link occupational choice with religion and social class:





Let me quote the operative paragraph in here

While India is rich in diverse religions, some of them, such as Islam and Jainism, are more conducive to self-employment. The institutional profile associated with Islam strongly supports entrepreneurial activity. For example, Islamic banking models, based on the Koranic principles of risk sharing (Khan, 1996), may encourage even risk-averse Muslims to become self-employed. In Jainism, principles of self-reliance and benevolence to business (Caillat, 1987) give rise to an institutional profile that is conducive to self-employment. By contrast, Hinduism inhibits self-employment by shaping an institutional profile that is not conducive to self-employment choices. The normative pressures on Hindus to choose occupations based on the caste of their birth (Hutton, 1946), and the cognitive beliefs that do not support proactively changing thestatus quo ( Singer, 1966 and Tripathi, 1992) may discourage self-employment in Hinduism.

Although Christianity is associated with an institutional profile that is conducive to self-employment, it does not have a positive effect on self-employment in the Indian context. This result may be attributed to the large number of individuals from the Hindu backward classes converting to Christianity (Henderson, 2002). Thus, the estimated effect of the Christian religion in India shows the mixed effects of prior learning and new beliefs particularly with regard to the normative and cognitive dimensions of the two religions. The estimated effects of Buddhism and Sikhism show that the followers of these two religions are not different from Hindus when it comes to their self-employment choices. These results are attributable to the close relationship that Buddhism and Sikhism have with Hinduism. The founders of both the religions were Hindus and, Buddhism, in particular, shares many of the Hindu values and beliefs (

Maybe as public policy, the Indian government may want the Hindus to convert to Jainism. Or Islam. But as the example of Christianity shows, this will not work as despite conversions to another religion, they are still not being self employed.

Curious, eh?

Monday, January 27

Quite an interesting list – oldest banks in the world

this was quite an interesting list to see and read. HSBC appears on number 10. I quote:

HSBC Trinkaus originally known as HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG operates as a general financial company in Dusseldorf, Gremany.  It is also one of the members of HSBC Group and was established in 1785. HSBC Trinkaus has its operations in various sectors for instance private, commercial and asset management and investment banking. A majority stake in Trinkaus & Burkhardt was acquired by the UK-based Midland Bank in 1980, but five years later, Trinkaus & Burkhardt converted to a partnership limited by shares and was listed on the stock exchange. In 1992 HSBC acquired Midlanbank along with its stake.

HSBC also has its own museum and it is an amazing place to visit. You can see old ledgers. You can see World War 1 staff registers where, in fading ink, you can see bank workers and managers leave to join the armed forces and how their entries were closed off due to death on the front. You can see manifests of young men going off to man bank counters across the world, sea trunks full of clothes. You can see thin flimsy’s requesting instructions. Seeing photographs of workers sitting on bales of Chinese silk on the docks of San Francisco from early last century which we funded. Not a history of big men but of people like me and me.