When the three richest Americans have more wealth than the lowest 50%, shareholder capitalism is not working. In EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE: The Radical Tradition that is Shaping the Next Economy, NATHAN SCHNEIDER reminds us of a hopeful alternative – cooperatives – jointly owned, democratically controlled enterprises that advance the economic, social, and cultural interests of their members. Schneider previously wrote a book on the Occupy movement. You can learn more at nathanschneider.info
I’m always interested in what the US can learn from other countries. So I was immediately attracted to JOSHUA GOLDSTEIN’s new book A BRIGHT FUTURE: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow. When Goldstein (and co-author Staffan Qvist) did the research and the math on what it was going to take to reduce carbon emissions enough to avoid the worst of climate change, they concluded that rapid development of renewables would need a large and fast buildout of nuclear power to replace fossil fuels as backup for wind and solar. You may not agree with them, but I think this conversation is worth a listen.
The idea of the frontier has been central to American identity. Its image of endless promise fostered our belief in the US as exceptional. Today America has a new symbol: the border wall. As GREG GRANDIN sees it, America’s constant expansion helped deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But the 2008 financial crash and unwinnable wars in the Middle East turned Americans inward, leading to the rise of reactionary populism, racist nationalism, extreme anger, polarization – and Trump.
The Republican party games the political system with gerrymandering, voter suppression, and election manipulation. In VOTE FOR US, JOSHUA DOUGLAS writes about the many positive initiatives through which Americans are taking back their democracy, one community at a time – expanding voter eligibility, easing voter registration rules, making voting more convenient, giving redistricting back to the voters, improving civics education, and more. This interview offers warnings, good news, and action steps for 2020.
How is that humans can be both the nicest and the nastiest of species? Biological anthropologist RICHARD WRANGHAM wrestles with that question in The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution. Though our capacity for coolly planned and devastating violence remains unrivaled, Wrangham offers a strikingly original theory that capital punishment has been instrumental in humans becoming extremely peaceful in our daily interactions. Can this understanding help us to confront the growing hostility in society?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
“Change the Story to Change the World.”
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