For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Peter Buffett, an Emmy Award winning musician, New York Times best-selling author, activist, philanthropist and, oh yes, also the youngest son of legendary investor Warren Buffett.
Now, everyone has heard of Warren Buffett because he’s one of the richest persons in the world. He may also be one of the most socially conscious of the mega-billionaires – donating his wealth to assist in the humanitarian missions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, on occasion, taking progressive political stands, like during the last election or years earlier on taxes, that may surprise folks who want to put the super-rich all in one bucket.
Peter Buffett, Warren’s youngest son, is more low-profile and at the same time more outspoken, when he chooses to speak out. For example, here’s an op-ed Peter wrote for Yes! magazine in which he contends President Trump’s behavior threatens the core of our democracy. He’s author of the book Life is What You Make It, in which he that takes on materialism, among other things. Peter has worked for decades with Native Americans to advance their causes. And despite his father’s contributions, and his own work in philanthropy, Buffett has warned here in this recent interview for Alternet and over the years that philanthropy is more a symptom of inequality than it is a long-term solution for reducing poverty and inequity.
We could go on. The point is Peter Buffett is a pretty interesting guy with some important perspectives, especially given his proximity to one of the financial masters of our current plutocratic universe.
We talk with Peter about his famous dad, of course, but mostly about what he is trying to convey with a new album entitled Songs in the Current. It’s a beautiful collection of, dare we say, healing songs that Buffett released in the hope of providing an antidote and alternative to “the soul-destroying nature of our systems of finance and government, education and agriculture.” We close our chat with Peter with a clip from the album, Room Enough, squarely aimed at encouraging us to stop building walls, thinking in terms of us-vs-them and figure out how better to live together on one planet.
As always, before we talk with our podcast guest, Paulson and I talk about some news highlights in the Humanosphere beginning with the disturbing, increasing trend of military attacks on aid and health workers in conflict zones, as reported by lead correspondent Tom Murphy, including a recent attack on a Save the Children hospital in Syria.
In the dubious honors category, our Europe-based correspondent Lisa Nikolau reported on the World Wildlife Fund given this year’s Greenwashing Award by Survival International for working in partnership with logging companies that are destroying forests in the Congo. Congrats WWF!
Finally, we were interested in two stories by our Asia specialist (among other things) Joanne Lu, on China’s increasing inequality in wealth and a new movement defending Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, the father of microfinance, who has been under political barrage in his home country Bangladesh.