Have Americans lost the ability to talk politics? Recent studies show the country is more divided than ever before, and it’s only getting worse. In a lively talk at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, professor Robert Reich outlines what he sees as the main causes of the problem, and how we might be able to address them.
Political fights are a staple of American history. From the Civil Rights Movement to Vietnam, we haven’t always agreed. But, we used to agree on how to disagree, Reich says. He believes we have lost our respect, tolerance, and openness to the ideas of others. And making matters worse, we no longer trust government institutions to handle our disagreements.
Reich lays out three key factors he believes led to the current climate: geographic tribalism, stagnant incomes, and the media. Our opinions are most influenced by those around us, he says. And over time, we have separated ourselves into ‘red states’ and ‘blue states,’ becoming entrenched in political identities with little tolerance for outside opinions. Incomes have stopped growing with the economy, leading many to feel the system is rigged. Reich says politicians have latched on to that feeling to gain support. At the same time, a proliferation of media outlets has left each fighting for attention. One way to catch a viewer’s eye he says, is to stoke anger.
But, Reich says all is not lost. He lays out how each of us can do our part to bring civility back to political discourse. It all starts he says, with one conversation.
Watch Robert Reich: Why the Common Good Disappeared and How We Get It Back
Six new programs on the UC Public Policy Channel wrap up a productive year of smart talk from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. From economist Alan Auerbach, a deep dive into the impact of Trump’s tax cuts. From faculty members Elizabeth Linos and Amy Lerman, ideas on how governments can rebuild public trust. From Goldman graduate Annie Campbell Washington, a reflection on her rise to elected office in Oakland. From Jesús Guzmán, life as an undocumented student growing up in California. And finally, from Dean Henry E. Brady, inspiring words to his graduates on being true to their convictions, even when challenged by their institutions, in this stirring 2018 Commencement address. All essential summer viewing for informed citizens preparing to vote in the November midterms.
From Individual to the Nation: The New Tax Plan’s Impact with Alan Auerbach
Making Governments Work with Elizabeth Linos — In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady
The Government’s Reputation Crisis with Amy Lerman — In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady
Serving Oakland with Annie Campbell Washington — In the Living Room with Henry E. Brady
Jesús Guzmán — Featured Student Speaker at the Goldman School of Public Policy Board of Advisors Dinner Spring 2018
Goldman School of Public Policy Commencement 2018
Browse more programs in The UC Public Policy Channel.
Imagine a not-too-distant future where gasoline-powered engines disappear and we all travel in electric, driverless cars that don’t pollute the air. And, a future where the actual number of cars on the road decreases because we’ll all participate in a transportation sharing service rather than owning our own vehicles. That’s the vision presented by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in this energetic talk to the Goldman School of Public Policy as she describes its financial and environmental advantages but also outlines the new policy challenges. Among them, how to retrain professional drivers? What to do with empty parking lots? And how to replace the tax revenue generated by gas sales? Granholm’s eye-opening peek into the next decade will give you lots to think about next time you’re stuck in traffic.
Watch now: Are Robots Going to Hurt or Help? Let’s Talk Driverless Cars with Jennifer Granholm
Rapidly melting arctic ice, catastrophic hurricanes, devastating wildfires, and record-breaking drought; scientists agree that the climate is changing, that it’s human caused, and that it will undeniably be one of the most serious problems facing the world’s citizens for generations to come. They acknowledge that technologies to combat climate change do exist. How can we come together to address this challenge which has become a partisan political issue in the United States in a way it has not elsewhere in the world? In a lively and timely conversation, internationally recognized energy policy expert UC Berkeley Professor Dan Kammen, joins business leader and investor Tom Steyer, to discuss the pressing issue of the ever-changing environment. Climate Change, Politics and the Economy: Rhetoric v. Reality looks at where we are now, the solutions at hand, the barriers we face, and what must happen to “overcome the partisan divide” to speed the transition to a sustainable planet. For more programs, visit UC Berekley’s Goldman School of Public Policy series.
From the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB, get the highlights of recent findings from the 2013 U.S. National Climate Assessment. Severe Weather in the U.S. Under a Changing Climate follows University of Illinois Professor of Atmospheric Science, Don Wuebbles, as he explains the international 50-year rise in extreme weather, especially in heat waves and large precipitation events (i.e. hail, rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow). Research indicates that there will continue to be an increase in both droughts and floods in various parts of the U.S in the next century.
For more programs, visit UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy series page.
Join the conversation: @UCTelevision, #climatechange
Conversations with History welcomes UC Berkeley’s Professor Mary Ann Mason to discuss her career as a university official, historian, and lawyer, as well as the changing role of women in academia and society.
Mason says moving to Berkeley at the end of the 60’s raised her awareness of issues, particularly the women’s rights movement, which was just beginning to gain momentum.
She was teaching history at a small college in Oakland when she joined the women’s consciousness raising movement. They held a gathering of women teaching history at four year colleges and they realized what a small group they were. There were only eight of them, in all of California. As for the UCs at the time, Mason reports that there were only 1.3 women historians for each campus.
Throughout her time in Berkeley, Mason watched the equality of women improve. When she got hired as a professor by UC Berkeley in 1989, about 15 percent of the faculty were women, which she reports is a huge improvement from just 2 percent in 1972.
Hear how these cultural and structural changes came about in “Achieving Equality for Women with Mary Ann Mason.”
Be sure to see what other programs are available in the Conversations with History series!