Tag Archives: Social Policy

Charles Murray, Author of Coming Apart, Examines Demographic Shifts In This New Decade

Coming Apart TRby Charles Murray, author of Coming Apart (Crown Forum, January 2012).

Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart offers a thought-provoking commentary on class in contemporary America. Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, the book demonstrates that a new upper class, who live in hyper-wealthy zip codes called SuperZIPS, and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship—divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad.  In the below essay, Murray discusses trends that have occurred since 2010. 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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Your Brain on Swine Flu

The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley

by Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why and a contributor to TIME Magazine.

One of the strange things about influenza pandemics is that they happen in slow motion, giving us time to reflect.
Looking back, it’s clear that one major challenge was (and will be) striking the elusive balance between reasonable mobilization and overreaction. We want people to wash their hands and stay home when they are sick; we don’t want people to stone buses carrying a sick passenger from another country.

How do we dial up—or down—our response to a pandemic in real time? It might help to shape public warnings and communication according to how the brain actually works. Continue reading

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