Tag Archives: Economics

From Manhattan to Mumbai: Wrestling with the Issues of Our Time

BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by Katherine Boo

by Katherine Boo, author of the forthcoming Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity (Random House, February 2012).

As jobs and capital whip around the planet, college students will graduate into a world where economic instability and social inequality are increasing and geographic boundaries matter less and less. Unfortunately, globalization and social inequality remain two of the most over-theorized, under-reported issues of our age. My book is an intimate investigative account of how this volatile new reality affects the young people of an Indian slum called Annawadi. Like young people elsewhere, the Annawadians are trying to figure out their place in a world where temp jobs are becoming the norm, adaptability is everything, and bewildering change is the one abiding constant.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers took me three hard years to report, and one thought that sustained me was that I had a unique opportunity to show American readers that the distance between themselves and, say, a teenaged boy in Mumbai who finds an entrepreneurial niche in other people’s garbage, is not nearly as great as they might think. In the two decades I’ve spent writing about poverty and how people get out of it, I’ve come to believe, viscerally, Continue reading

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A Debt Crisis…5,000 Years in the Making

 

DEBT by David Graeber

by David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Melville House, 2011)

Debt is all around us. Modern economies run on consumer debt; modern nation-states, on deficit financing; international relations turn on debt.  What’s more, for the last three years, we’ve faced a global debt crisis that’s hobbled the world economy and still threatens to send it crashing into ruins.  Yet no one ever stops to ask: how did this happen? What is debt, anyway? What does it even mean to say we “owe” someone something? How did it happen that, in almost all times and places in human history, “paying your debts” has been a synonym for morality, but money-lenders have been seen as the embodiment of evil? I first began asking myself these questions as an activist, during the “drop the debt” campaigns in the early 2000s. But it was only after the financial meltdown of September 2008

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Third World America

As a young girl growing up in Greece, I remember walking to school in the city of Athens past a statue of President Truman. The statue was a daily reminder of the magnificent nation responsible for, among other things, the Marshall Plan. Everyone in Greece either had a family member, or, like my family, a friend who’d left to find a better life in America. That was the phrase everyone associated with America: “a better life.” America was a place you could go to work really hard, make a good living. When I came to America in 1980, I knew that there was no other place I’d rather live. Thirty years later, I still feel that way.

But there is no denying that decisions we have made as a country have put us on a very dangerous road, one that threatens to turn America into a Third World nation. It’s a jarring concept, I know, but the evidence is all around us. Continue reading

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Obama, Madoff and American Self-Esteem

WHY WE HATE US by Dick Meyer

by Dick Meyer, author of Why We Hate Us: American Discontent and the New Millennium  (Three Rivers Press, 2009).

Since publishing Why We Hate Us: American Discontent and the New Millennium, the single question I have been asked the most is, “Will Barack Obama lead Americans to hate us less?”

The answer, I am sorry to report, is “no.”

The basic argument of my book is that Americans have developed a broad, enduring distaste and suspicion toward the main institutions and directions of our public culture. This holds true for politics, government, journalism, business, entertainment, marketing, law and even the clergy. Increasingly, Americans feel alienated from their culture and susceptible to its coarseness and toxicity. Continue reading

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Do We Live in a Borderless World?

The Second World by Parag Khanna

The Second World by Parag Khanna

Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century, delivered a fascinating talk at this past summer’s TED Conference. 

At the crux of his speech, and the book, is a rejection of the notion of a borderless world ruled only by First World powers, and a re-examination of other growing hot spots and spheres of influence that we ignore at our peril.

Do we live in a borderless world?  If not, is creating a borderless world a noble goal, for that matter, even attainable?

You may view the video by clicking here, and then share your thoughts with us by posting a comment. 

To the visit the author’s website, click here.  You may also follow Parag via Twitter @paragkhanna.

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