Humans are not alone in being creatures of habit, but can we do anything about it?
Brain science has learned a lot about habits over the last few years. On the one hand, that gives corporations new power with which to manipulate us, but it also gives us greater power over our own behavior.
What is a habit? Are habits positive – a sign of cultivation and industry, or negative, a sign of weakness and mindlessness? Or are they neutral, their value up to us?
Today’s guest, CHARLES DUHIGG an award-winning reporter for the New York Times, has written the best-selling THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. He tells us that at its most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (I should brush my teeth), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh!). Backing out of the driveway, replying to emails, running before work – many of our most basic daily actions are not, in fact, the products of well considered decision-making, but outgrowths of habits we often don’t even realize exist.
We’ll talk about what a habit is, how they are formed, and how we can put what we’ve learned about habits into practice, so that we are at least somewhat their masters rather than their slaves.
We will also discuss Duhigg’s investigative New York Times series on Apple, including their labor practices and why they don’t manufacture in the U.S.
Q&A: MICHAEL LIND, Co-founder of the New America Foundation; Author of LAND OF PROMISE: An Economic History of the United StatesWritten on March 17th, 2013
This week’s guest, MICHAEL LIND, has written an economic history of the United States. In his new book, LAND OF PROMISE, he lays out a pattern in which the US has reinvented itself economically and politically a number of times based on the emergence of new technologies. From wind and water, to steam, to electricity and internal combustion, and finally the computer.
Each new dominant technology overwhelms the existing political and regulatory system and American government lags a generation or two behind technology-induced economic change. It takes a crisis or a war or both to overthrow the old regime and usher in the new.
When the U.S. economy has flourished, Lind argues, government, business, labor and universities have worked together as partners in a project of economic nation building. Today, as the United States struggles to emerge from the Great Recession, Land of Promise says that Americans, since the earliest days of the republic, have repeatedly reinvented the American economy-and have the power to do so again.
Live from USC - The Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
ERWIN CHEMERINSKY, founding dean of the UC Irvine Law School, has also taught at DePaul and Duek. An expert on constitutional law, he has frequently argued cases before the US Court of Appeals and occasionally before Suprem Court. His latest book is THE CONSERVATIVE ASSAULT ON THE CONSTITUTION.
BILL BOYARSKY is a columnist for LA Observed and the online magazine Truthdig. He is the author of six books, including Calfornia's Big Daddy, and his most recent, Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times. Boyarsky lectures in journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communications.
HENRY WEINSTEIN, a reporter for the LA Times for 30 years, covering law, labor and politics, now teaches law and journalism at UC Irvine's School of Law.
PHILLIPE DIAZ is writer director of a new documentary THE END OF POVERTY that exposes the roots of the south’s poverty first in colonialism and then in the policies of the World Bank, IMF and the WTO.
The film features: Nobel prize winners in economics Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; expert authors Susan George, Eric Toussaint, John Perkins, Chalmers Johnson, government ministers such as Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, and leaders of social movements in Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya and Tanzania.
THE END OF POVERTY’s opening line by narrator Martin Sheen: “Why, in a world of so much wealth, do we still have so much poverty, where billions of people live on less than one dollar a day?” According to writer-director PHILLIPE DIAZ, the ultimate goal of the film is to change the dialogue around the poverty debate from "poverty is a shame," to "poverty exists for a reason."
Born in Paris France, PHILIPPE DIAZ studied Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris, and began his film career as a director in 1980. He produced a number of features both in France and the US, and in 2003, with a consortium of partners he created Cinema Libre Studio, to provide an alternative structure for intelligent, independent films. His directorial debut, THE EMPIRE IN AFRICA won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at Slamdance 2006.
According to Diaz, “The end of greed on Wall Street will not end poverty in the world. The problem is much deeper than that; it is centuries old. Our economic system since colonial times requires cheap labor and cheap resources from the global South to succeed and to finance our lifestyle in the North. Without changing that we will never alleviate poverty.“