Q&A: TOM FRANK – What’s the Matter with Kansas? / EDGAR CAHN – founder of Legal Services & Time DollarsWritten on January 10th, 2012
This will be a conversation about the state of things as we embark on 2012. I will be joined by TOM FRANK (What’s the Matter with Kansas?) and EDGAR CAHN (founder of Legal Services and Time Dollars). We will talk about their passions and projects.
In his new book, PITY THE BILLIONAIRE, Frank examines how the crash that has hurt so many millions of Americans has delivered wildly perverse political results. He gives us a diagnosis of the cultural malady that has transformed collapse into profit, reconceived the Founding Fathers as heroes from an Ayn Rand novel, and enlisted the powerless in a fan club for the prosperous.
Edgar Cahn was a serial social entrepreneur before the term was invented. In 1974, he and his wife co-founded the Legal Services Program to deliver legal services to the poor, then co-founded Antioch School of Law, where students learned through providing legal services to the poor. Two decades later Cahn created TIme Dollars, a system to bank and exchange services rather than currency.
In the larger conversation, I want to take a fairly big picture, historical, and forward-looking perspective. While I assume we will talk about global economics and international conflicts, the emphasis would be on the US. Though I assume we will talk about the fall election, I want to look more broadly.
Questions like: Where are we as a society – socially, culturally, economically, and politically? What’s working and why is it working? What are your fears and hopes for the year ahead? What stories and narratives will you be paying attention to in the next year?
Maybe something about the battle over the narrative of America’s founding and the American dream. Is there a story in which humanity turns things around?
THOMAS FRANK, a former opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, is the founding editor of The Baffler and a monthly columnist for Harper’s. He is the author of The Conquest of Cool; What’s the Matter with Kansas? One Market Under God; and his newest, PITY THE BILLIONAIRE.
EDGAR CAHN teaches Law and Justice, and directs the Community Service Program at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law. A co-founder with his late wife Jean Camper Cahn of the Antioch School of Law, UDC-DCSL’s predecessor; the first law school in the United States to educate law students primarily through clinical training in legal services to the poor. In the late 1980s, Professor Cahn began the Time Dollars project, a service credit program that now has more than 70 communities in the US, UK and Japan with registered programs (www.timebanks.org). He’s the author of several books, including Hunger USA, Time Dollars and No More Throw-Away People.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecologist, activist, editor, and author of many books. In India she has established Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity conservation and farmers` rights. She directs the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy. Her books include Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply, and her newest, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. Shiva has been awarded several awards for her efforts including the Right Livelihood Award and the United Nations Environment Program [UNEP] Global 500 Award in 1993, and most recently the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize.
Q&A: RICHARD WILKINSON & KATE PICKETT, Authors – The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do BetterWritten on February 5th, 2010
RICHARD WILKINSON & KATE PICKETT authors of an important new book: The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
In the UK, the Guardian says The Spirit Level "might be the most important book of the year, and The New Statesman named it one of the top ten books of the past decade.
Based on thirty years' research, The Spirit Level shows that unequal societies are bad for the well-off as well as the poor, when it comes to health and social problems, child well being, life expectancy, infant mortality, obesity, educational scores, drop out rates, illegal drug use, mental illness, homicide, incarceration, CO2 emissions, recycling, social mobility, innovation, and levels of trust.
The good news: If all these ills are related to one measure - income inequality, then, decreasing inequality should be the central goal of our politics because we can be confident that it works.
RICHARD WILKINSON has played a leading role in international research on inequality. He studied economic history at the London School of Economics before training in epidemiology, and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School and Honorary Professor at University College London.
KATE PICKETT is a senior lecturer at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. She studied physical anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at Berkeley before spending four years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago.
In 2006, THOMAS HOMER DIXON, author of Canada's #1 bestseller, THE UPSIDE OF DOWN, wrote, "September 11th and Katrina won't be the last time we walk out of our cities."
Whether from economic collapse, terrorism, climate change, pandemic, energy scarcity, or the widening gap between rich and poor, he believes breakdown is inevitable. And if we won't change our ways till we crash, it's up to us to make sure breakdown doesn't spiral into total collapse.
Check out the book title. Today "down" is everywhere we look. Okay, there's the "Catastrophe." I'll talk with HOMER DIXON in search of the "Creativity, and The Renewal..."