For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with John Nichols and Robert McChesney about their new book People Get Ready. What they say we need to get ready for, to further riff off the 1960s’ song of the same name, is a citizen-less democracy fueling an increasingly jobless economy.
That’s a mouthful we will unpack. Put simply, what Nichols and McChesney do in their latest book is focus attention on a worrying convergence of political, economic and technological trends that they contend threaten to exacerbate wealth and political inequality – here in the US and worldwide.
But we are not doomed to dystopia. After diagnosing the problem, Nichols and McChesney suggest a prescription that resonates, to a great extent, with much of what appears to be driving what the mainstream media – which seems as confused as anyone – describes as a wild, unpredictable and ‘populist’ presidential campaign. We need to ‘get ready’ for the change that’s coming, the authors say, and get on board with what it will take to reform our political institutions, businesses, technologies and the media so that it serves people rather than mostly the powerful. The book starts off examining the peril of technological change in terms of future jobs and wealth distribution, moves to how we have ended up with the oxymoronic situation of a citizen-less democracy – and concludes with what we need to do about it. Listen in, it’s a fascinating discussion!
John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital Times. Robert W McChesney, an Evergreen State College grad and founding publisher of a now-departed Seattle-based music industry news magazine, The Rocket, is professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As always, KPLU’s Gabe Spitzer and Humanosphere publisher Tom Paulson open with highlighting some of the top stories recently, including Lisa Nikolau’s story on how the Zika crisis has revealed another crisis in Latin America – lack of access to contraception and reproductive health services. Tom and Gabe also discuss a guest post by David J. Olson on how low-tech projects often do better than high-tech interventions and, finally, a story by Tom Murphy on the perhaps not so surprising discovery by experts that giving money to poor people may be an anti-poverty solution.