Over the course of the past one hundred years, we humans have grown in population at a rate rarely seen outside of a petri dish. Alan Weisman, author of the best-selling The World Without Us, spent two years traveling to twenty nations to investigate what this population explosion means for our species as well as those we share the planet with—and, most importantly, what we can do about it. His book Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? will be released later this month. Orion managing editor Andrew D. Blechman met with Alan at his home in rural Massachusetts, amid birdsong and the patter of rainfall, to discuss some of the most serious issues ever to face the human species.
Tagged with “poverty” (17)
China’s economy depends on a system regulating workers from around China and beyond. In Guangzhou, the migrant metropolis, Mukul Devichand hears stories of anger and reform.
For Broadcasting House, Emma Jane Kirby retraces George Orwell’s classic journey into poverty. She meets a woman crammed into a boarding house room with her two adult children; a kitchen hand who grabs only a few hours sleep each night; a homeless Pole who has forgotten what it was to be sober; and the teen couple who sleep hidden in the long grass of a park for fear of attackers.
The Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz got everybody’s attention, and a Pulitzer Prize, with his fierce, funny, tragic first novel “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” Now, in a big new essay, Diaz has moved on to bigger themes — like apocalypse and the fate of the human race.
Junot Diaz looks at our recent headlines of earthquakes, tsunamis, meltdown fears, and floods and sees revelation. Not of the hand of God, exactly. But of human realities running amok.
We avert our eyes, he says. But these disasters must be read.
This hour, On Point: Junot Diaz, on revelation and apocalypse.
Brazil’s musical group AfroReggae was born of the streets of Rio de Janiero’s hard-life shanytowns, or favelas.
Now, AfroReggae is trying to give back — to give inspiration, hope, pride and a path to youth surrounded by too much violence, drugs, and poverty.
It’s culture versus violence in the tough streets of Rio. We hear AfroReggae and explore Rio’s favelas.
"How does a guy whose mom is a heroin addict — a guy who drops out of high school, has a kid, and starts working a minimum-wage job at a fast-food restaurant — climb out of poverty?
On today’s Planet Money, we hear the answer from Katherine Newman.
Newman, a sociologist, found 300 people who were working at fast-food restaurants in Harlem in the early ’90s. She followed them for the next eight years and told the story in a book called Chutes and Ladders.
About a third of the people she followed managed to rise out of poverty during that time. A lot, of course, had to do with individual initiative — taking the civil service exam, landing union jobs, that sort of thing."
There’s a consensus that Earth doesn’t have enough resources to support the world’s growing population — but there’s disagreement about the root of the problem. Some think the problem lies with the growing third world, others that it is the consumption habits of the developed nations that cause the problem.
Nils Gilman describes deviant globalization as "the unpleasant underside of transnational integration."
There’s nice tourism, and then sex tourism, such as in Thailand and Switzerland. The vast pharmacology industry is matched by a vast traffic in illegal drugs. The underside of waste disposal is the criminal dumping in the developing world of toxic wastes from the developed world. Military activities worldwide are fed by a huge gray market in weapons. Internet communications are undermined by floods of malware doubling every year. Among the commodities shipped around the world are exotic hardwoods, endangered species, blood diamonds, and stolen art worth billions in ransom. Illegitimate health care includes the provision of human organs from poor people — you can get a new kidney with no waiting for $150,000 in places like Brazil, the Philippines, Istanbul, and South Africa. Far overwhelming legal immigration are torrents of illegal immigrants who pay large sums to get across borders. And money laundering accounts for 4-12% of world GDP — $1.5 to 5 trillion dollars a year.
These are not marginal, "informal" activities. These are enormous, complex businesses straight out of the Harvard Business Review. The drug business in Mexico, for example, employs 400,000 people. A thousand-dollar kilo of cocaine grows in value by 1400-percent when it crosses into the U.S. — nice profit margin there.
Sometimes the way you conduct science has profound impacts on society as a whole. Malcolm Gladwell says the way we look at who is and who isn’t successful is crucial. He says it’s dangerous to think East Africans are good runners because they have an innate gene that makes them fast. Instead, you have to look at cultural attitudes. More people run in Kenya and Ethiopia than in the U.S. Therefore, those countries produce more successful runners. If you were to think if it in terms of genes, well, that’s the same philosophy that gets people thinking African–Americans aren’t as smart as whites. The real reasons behind success rates in professions like medicine and law have to do with class, not genius. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book is "Outliers: The Story of Success." He also writes for The New Yorker magazine. Gladwell spoke at Town Hall Seattle on January 17, 2009.
Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs & Steel (and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed), offers some timely thoughts on why Haiti, once a fairly prosperous country, has sunk into enduring poverty — a condition not comparatively shared by its neighbor on the same island, the Dominican Republic. According to Diamond, Haiti’s environmental conditions offer a partial explanation. But you will also find clues in the country’s language, and in the legacy of slavery that has shaped Haiti’s economic relationship with Europe and the US. This interview — quite a good one — aired this morning in San Francisco.
Page 1 of 2Older