Category Archives: UCTV

Examining Neoliberalism’s Role in Modern Far-Right Politics

The world is seeing a rise in far-right politics, from Italy, to France, to Brexit, to President Trump. So, how did we get here? And, where exactly are we? Is this authoritarianism, fascism, populism, or something else? These are the questions political theorist Wendy Brown addresses in her talk, Neoliberalism’s Scorpion Tail: Markets and Morals Where Democracy Once Was.

Brown begins by outlining what she sees as the classical liberal thinking on the subject. The story goes like this: neoliberal economic policies devastated rural and suburban areas taking away decent jobs, pensions, schools, services and infrastructure as social spending dried up, and capital began to chase cheap labor and tax havens in the global south. At the same time, a cultural gap grew between those rural and suburban communities, and urban centers. Rural families were alienated, left behind, and felt like strangers in their own land. This feeling was coupled with enduring racism as immigrant communities transformed some suburban neighborhoods and the politics of equality appeared to the uneducated white male, to favor everyone but him.

Brown says that story is incomplete. She argues it fails to address a key component of neoliberalism: the idea that society and robust democracy disrupt the natural hierarchy of markets and traditional morals. Brown argues that classical neoliberalism seeks to disintegrate society and universal suffrage, leading to a world where those who were historically dominant – the white male in particular – feel that dominance fade. What is left, are feelings of rage and resentment. Brown imagines two possible futures for those feelings, one bleaker than the next. First, she describes world in which politics are based solely on spite and revenge. The second option? A reversal of values, where those who have lost the world they feel historically entitled to seek to destroy it. But, she leaves some room for hope if humanity can draw deeply from our imaginations, courage and grit.

Watch Neoliberalism’s Scorpion Tail: Markets and Morals Where Democracy Once Was

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Working with Artificial Intelligence to Keep Americans Employed

We have all heard the dire warnings. Artificial intelligence is predicted to decimate job sectors already hit hard by outsourcing. Some studies suggest up to half of all work could be automated by 2030. That means factory workers, drivers, even some accountants may find themselves without a job.

Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, knows the pain of job-loss all too well. She witnessed the closing of factories in towns like Greenville, where three thousand of the town’s eight thousand residents worked at the same plant. But, Granholm remains optimistic about the future of employment in the United States. She believes we can make artificial intelligence work for us, not against us.

Granholm uses the autonomous vehicle as one example. While the technology could put five million drivers out of work, it could also create millions of new jobs. We could see the rise of new industries such as mobile motels, or pop-up shops. Driverless cars could eliminate the need for massive parking lots, creating space for affordable housing. But, new industries require a workforce with new skills.

Granholm has five suggestions for creating that workforce. Three of those suggestions focus on investment in training, including apprenticeships and internships. She suggests diverting funds currently used to subsidize unemployment. She also says we need to come up with a way to create portable benefits for people with alternative jobs, such as Uber drivers and other app-based workers. The final suggestion: pay people for their data. Granholm says the tech sector is making billions off our personal information, and there may be a way to share that wealth.

Watch Shaping a 21st Century Workforce – Is AI Friend or Foe?

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Want to Build a Start Up? Advice to Students from Jarrod Russell

I like to think about the path to building successful startups as a journey–it’s really the entrepreneur’s journey. Each journey will be different, especially when it comes to the early stages of what sparks the idea for the startup. I simplify this journey by thinking of the entrepreneur is one of three stages: curious, committed, and crushing it.

Most students will be in the curious stage, where they are looking for inspiration, ideation, rapid prototyping and thinking about diving into incubation.

That said, assuming most students are curious about how to launch a startup, I have three general recommendations that might be helpful, and they are in three different areas of their life.

  1. Explore campus to make connections with talented peers / professors and find the programs and initiatives that will inspire and focus your ideation process.
    a.   Ideation — Be curious. Find problems to solve or new solutions to scale while doing your classwork and projects.
    b.   Programs / Relationships — see if your campus has an incubator, entrepreneurship program or certification, a business school, design or engineering programs; this is where you can build relationships with talented folks that can help you make an idea real, either as collaborators or mentors. If your school doesn’t have these resources, tell the campus leadership you want it.
  2. Have an idea? Build something, test it. Or work in a similar industry and help them test it. Embrace lab-to-market opportunities.
    a.   Don’t stay in the classroom. Push your professors to give you real-world, real-time problems and projects you can work on now. Can you do work study? Are there any competitions that will focus your efforts?
    b.   MVP, rapid prototyping, lean startup approach→ getting market feedback and data if and when possible.
    c.   If you can’t build an idea yourself, identify your needs and get a team together. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you don’t have an idea yet and want to boost your IQ, work at a startup part time or as an intern.
  3. Nurture community off campus. San Diego has a lot going on beyond your campus. Make an effort to attend a meaningful event off campus once a week.
    a.   There are lots of organizations in San Diego that are working to support aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. Learn who they are and check out their events. Subscribe to their newsletters to stay in the loop. Hop into meetups.
    b.   E.g. Startup San Diego has a lot of monthly and annual events coming up in 2019, including Convergence in late February, which is a must-attend event for college students. It’s essentially a Meetup for all Meetups crossed with an uncareer fair.

The last thing I would add is that the entrepreneurial journey can be a paradox. It requires both patience and impatience, a plan and the ability to pivot, investment to grow and fear of not having enough. However, three things that I have found hold constant are integrity, authenticity, and discipline. Basically, folks have to trust you, so be real with where you are at in your entrepreneurial journey and remember that you can’t build your idea alone, it requires collaboration.

On that note, something I heard from the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, comes to mind — it was his mantra when he was mayor of Denver.

Collaboration moves at the speed of trust.

Jarrod’s Bio
Jarrod is a local San Diegan, born and raised in Oceanside. He studied at Mira Costa Community College, then transferred to UCSD, where he was both an undergrad and grad student. For his undergraduate degree, Jarrod studied international political science and physics at Warren College. In graduate school, he went to the School of Global Policy and Strategy, where he focused on environmental policy and economic development. Jarrod has worked throughout Latin America, especially Bolivia, Brazil, and Mexico. He speaks both Spanish and Portuguese. He is also on the board of the Museum of Man in Balboa Park. He’s also taught in the hospitality and tourism program at San Diego State University.

Jarrod currently lives in Ocean Beach, where you’ll occasionally find him working from coffee shops, surfing, playing volleyball, and doing acro yoga.

Jarrod started working in the local innovation economy in 2013 when he became the Director of Public Affairs of a fast-growing internet marketing company. He has been a strong advocate of the startup community ever since, including his past community service as co-chair of the tech-startup committee for the Downtown San Diego Partnership for 2 years.

Watch Starting Up in San Diego: The Entrepreneur’s Journey with Jarrod Russell – Job Won

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Beyond 2018: What’s Next for Congress and Country as a Whole

The results of the 2018 midterm elections are in, but what’s next? Will a Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate be able to work together? What do the results mean for 2020? And, what should Democrats do to capitalize on midterm gains? Professor Emeritus Sanford A. Lakoff shared his thoughts on those questions and more at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC San Diego Extension. He begins by looking at midterm turnout, changing demographics, and increasing political polarization. He notes that many point to the Gingrich Revolution as the beginning of modern-day polarization, and suggests President Trump has only added to the trend.

But, there is also division within the Democratic Party. Several newly-elected representatives have pledged not to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. Lakoff argues that would be a mistake. He cautions that the coalition risks becoming a “Tea Party of the Left” if they are unwilling to compromise, especially without holding either the Senate or the Presidency. He suggests Pelosi should pledge to only serve as Speaker until 2020, and prepare new Democratic representatives to take on leadership positions in the future.

Lakoff then lays out what he believes should be the top priorities for Democrats over the next two years. His list includes healthcare, immigration reform, climate change, and gun control. While he admits it’s unlikely Democrats will make significant progress on the issues, Lakoff says the effort would show voters what they can expect should Democrats take the Senate and White House in 2020. Lakoff also suggests lawmakers go beyond legislation, and set up think tanks and non-partisan commissions on the major issues of our time. Those include electoral reform, medical coverage, gun violence, the national debt, and ensuring employment with the development of artificial intelligence. But, the ability to make any progress on any of these issues may rest on an unpredictable variable: the Robert Mueller investigation.

Watch Breaking Down the 2018 Midterm Election Results with Professor Emeritus Sanford Lakoff — Osher UC San Diego

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Young People’s Concert

“My music is best understood by children and animals.”
– Igor Stravinsky

Each year the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus inaugurates its new season with a presentation for San Diego-area students. The Young People’s Concert, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla and hosted by Music Director/Conductor Steven Schick, aims to introduce students to the symphony and encourage an active interest in music. Schick guides the audience through the intricacies of the orchestra by means of excerpts from two works appearing on the full concert program, Tan Dun’s “Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra” (also known simply as the “Water Concerto”) and Igor Stravinsky’s “Petrushka.”

Though very different in form and style, these pieces are each reflective of the overall theme Schick has chosen for the 2018/19 season: Lineage. Tan Dun drew inspiration for the “Water Concerto” from his childhood in rural China, noting the paramount importance of water in everyday life and, indeed, as the source of life itself. In that sense water becomes a truly universal instrument, one instantly familiar to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Set half a world away, Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” evokes childhood memories of Russian Shrovetide fairs, and in particular the puppet theater that was a popular feature of those festivals. Originally written as a ballet for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, “Petrushka” went on to become a concert staple and one of Stravinsky’s most beloved scores.

Between excerpts Schick and orchestra musicians answer questions from the audience, such as “Why does the harp have different color strings?” (an excellent question) and “How long have the violinists been playing?” This interactivity, sadly uncommon in orchestral music circles, de-mystifies symphonic practice for the uninitiated and helps the students to gain an appreciation for the process of rehearsing and performing as a unified ensemble. Throughout, Steven Schick emphasizes the joy to be found both in collaboration and in active listening.

Watch Young People’s Concert 2018 – La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

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