JONATHAN SCHELL was a writer and editor at the New Yorker between 1967 and 1988. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant for writing on Peace and Security, Schell now teaches at Wesleyan University and the New School and is the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of several books, including The Fate of the Earth; The Gift of TIme: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now; and A Hole in the World.
Also MARC IAN BARASCH, Author
My transition seems mild compared with that of today's guest, TOM SHADYAC. A onetime actor/comedian and the youngest writer to work for Bob Hope, Shadyac achieved huge Hollyood success -- writing, directing, and producing hits like ACE VENTURA, LIAR, LIAR, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, earning four People's Choice awards and a ton of money.
His new documentary, I AM recounts what happened after a cycling accident left him incapacitated for months. Though he recovered, the possibility that he might never be able to work or create again had changed him. He sold his estate, moved to a mobile home community (in Malibu), and set out to make a very different kind of movie.
With a four-person crew, Shadyac documented his journey to find answers to two questions. What's wrong with humans? What can we do to fix it?
Shadyac questions scientists, scholars, activists, poets -- David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson -- and Marc Ian Barasch, who joins the conversation in progress.
MARC IAN BARASCH is a writer, editor, television producer and environmental activist. In his book, The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness, Barasch asks, "What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually "survival of the kindest?"
Are humans basically kind or basically cutthroat? Is compassion our birthright, or a hard won creation of culture? What exactly is compassion - that x-factor that every faith (or its founders, at least) exalts as a supreme virtue?
All proceeds derived from the release of I AM, in all media, will go to THE FOUNDATION FOR I AM, a not-for-profit established by Shadyac to fund various causes and to educate the next generation about the very issues and problems explored in the film.
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.“
MICHAEL LEWIS is one of my favorite popular writers. He writes about sports, business, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, political campaigns, now fatherhood - in bestselling books and for the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, among others. He's smart and he has a sense of humor. Malcolm Gladwell says he's one of our best storytellers.
LEWIS was a trader at Salomon Brothers before he wrote his first best-seller, LIAR'S POKER about the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s. He continues to write about that world with a couple of books in 2008 -- Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity and The Real Price of Everything (editor) -- and a column for Bloomberg. His newest book, Home Game, is about fatherhood, so we'll talk about that, but even more we'll talk about Wall Street, madness, greed, the crash, and how we're dealing with it.
MICHAEL LEWIS received a BA in art history from Princeton University and an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics. He worked as an investment banker for Salomon Brothers before leaving to write LIAR'S POKER. Other books include MONEYBALL, on the Oakland A's, Billy Beane, and baseball's new wave of Ivy League general managers; PANIC: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity; and his newest, HOME GAME: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood.
AZADEH MOAVENI is a contributing writer on Iran and the Middle East for TIME magazine. She spent two years in Iran, from 2005 to 2007, and just returned from three weeks there at the first of the year. As one of the few American correspondents allowed to work continuously in Iran since 1999, she has reported widely on youth culture, women's rights, and Islamic reform for Time, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. She is author of LIPSTICK JIHAD and co-author, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, of IRAN AWAKENING. Her newest book is HONEYMOON IN TEHRAN: TWO YEARS OF LOVE AND DANGER IN IRAN
In his 2002 State of the Union address George W. Bush coined the term "axis of evil" to describe his vision of North Korea, Iraq, and Iran. The US has a new president who has made a fairly big and controversial deal about his willingness to meet with Iran's leaders without preconditions. Iran's last presidential election in 2005 brought the world Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Another presidential election is coming soon to Iran.
AZADEH MOAVENI has spent a good deal of time in Iran since the year 2000 and written two books about Iranian society. I'll talk with her about life and politics behind the caricatures and rhetoric that so often clouds US perceptions of Iran.