1. According to the political scientist Robert Putnam, what has happened to social and community engagement in the United States since the 1950s? What explanations does Putnam believe might explain these changes?


  1. What are the most important factors that affect the size of a society’s population? What are the potential problems with forecasting a society’s population size?
  2. What are the main claims made by Vernor Vinge in his essay on the technological singularity? In your essay, critically evaluate the arguments for and against the possibility of a singularity in the 21stcentury.
  3. How have the religious values and beliefs of people living in Canada and the United States changed over time? Do you think the observed changes support “secularization theory”? Why or why not?
  4. According to the political scientist Ronald Inglehart, what is “Neo-Modernization Theory”? How might Inglehart’s theory explain changes in people’s political beliefs and religious views? In answering this question, make sure to define the difference between “materialist” and “post-materialist” values.
  5. What are Albert Einstein’s main arguments in his 1949 essay “Why Socialism”? Do you disagree or agree with his claims? Why or why not?
  6. Crime rates have declined in many societies around the world. Why have crime rates been dropping? In your answer critically evaluate various explanations that have been put forth to explain the decline.