• Basic income: Could cash handouts revitalize the economy? | Chris Hughes | Big Think
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    Basic income: Could cash handouts revitalize the economy? | Chris Hughes | Big Think

    Universal basic income and guaranteed income are really inspired by the same values, that idea that everybody should have the dignity and freedom to pursue their dreams, to figure out what they want to do with their time. Oftentimes the UBI is talked about these days at least in the context of the rise of the robots and pending technical unemployment as a lot of people call it. And my view is that very well may happen, there’s also a good argument by a lot of economists and other folks that this time is not different. What we know is that the future is already here and work and jobs…

  • Could genomics solve the climate change crisis? | Daniel C. Esty | Big Think
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    Could genomics solve the climate change crisis? | Daniel C. Esty | Big Think

    So genomics, the idea that we can intervene with the genome of not just humans but any species in a way that might harden that species, improve it’s resilience to threats like climate change or make it more amenable to various medical approaches so as to ensure there’s a reduction of harm. And it can also be used in plants, for example, to speed up the growth pace and otherwise to provide ways to help harden the species or improve a species contribution to the response to climate change. So many aspects of society have been transformed by technology breakthroughs in the last couple of decades. And I would argue…

  • Tyranny comes home: How the ‘boomerang effect’ impacts civilian life in the U.S. | Abigail Blanco
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    Tyranny comes home: How the ‘boomerang effect’ impacts civilian life in the U.S. | Abigail Blanco

    So what a lot of people don’t think about with respect to foreign intervention is the idea that the tools and processes that are developed as a part of foreign intervention can come to be used domestically. So people might not associate, for example, things like the use of drones domestically within the United States or unmanned aerial vehicles, torture in U.S. prisons or things like the militarization of domestic police as consequences of foreign intervention. But these are the exact types of tools developed as a part of intervention abroad that then wind up being used back home. My coauthor, Chris Coyne, and I term this phenomenon the boomerang…

  • Lincoln’s law: How did the Civil War change the Constitution? | James Stoner | Big Think
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    Lincoln’s law: How did the Civil War change the Constitution? | James Stoner | Big Think

    The United States Constitution is certainly dedicated to the rule of law. John Adams famously said, quoting Harrington who himself is quoting Aristotle or alluding to Aristotle, that the United States aims to establish the rule of law not the rule of men. And the Constitution lays out a number of rules about how governments should act. Some of that is involved in creating new institutions and defining those institutions in a way summoning them into being and some of it is about putting restrictions on institutions that are already there or practices that are unavoidable. So, when does the rule of law and the rule of men or something…

  • Judith Butler: Your Behavior Creates Your Gender | Big Think
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    Judith Butler: Your Behavior Creates Your Gender | Big Think

    It’s one thing to say that gender is performed and that is a little different from saying gender is performative.  When we say gender is performed we usually mean that we’ve taken on a role or we’re acting in some way and that our acting or our role playing is crucial to the gender that we are and the gender that we present to the world.  To say that gender is performative is a little different because for something to be performative means that it produces a series of effects. We act and walk and speak and talk in ways that consolidate an impression of being a man or being…

  • Bill Nye: Can We Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies? | Big Think
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    Bill Nye: Can We Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies? | Big Think

    Many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized and by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova a lot. But that’s not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb, a woman’s womb. But if you’re going to hold that as a standard, that is to say if you’re going to say when an egg is fertilized it’s therefore has the same rights as an individual, then whom are you going to sue? Whom are you going to imprison? Every woman who’s had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy who’s sperm…

  • Universal basic income: The plan to give $12,000 to every American adult | Andrew Yang
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    Universal basic income: The plan to give $12,000 to every American adult | Andrew Yang

    Universal basic income is an idea that’s older than America, where Thomas Paine was for it at the founding of the country, he called it the citizen’s dividend. Decades later Martin Luther King, Jr. was for it. He championed it before he was assassinated in 1968. And Milton Friedman and 1,000 economists signed a study in the late ’60s saying this would be tremendous for both the economy and society. It received so much support that it passed the House of Representatives twice under Richard Nixon in 1971. And the only reason it didn’t become law was that Democrats in the Senate wanted an even higher income threshold. So a…

  • Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy  Fix America’s Inequality? | Jeffrey Sachs
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    Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy Fix America’s Inequality? | Jeffrey Sachs

    There’s a proposal around that’s got a lot of interest called universal basic income where everybody is guaranteed at least a certain level of income in the society. Some free market economists like Milton Friedman talked about a negative income tax which in effect had the same features of guaranteeing a certain level of income for everybody as a base. I think from a human rights and decency standard there’s a lot of sense to the idea that everybody in a society should be able to meet their basic needs. There’s on the other hand this sense if you give someone a check whether they’re trying, not trying, working, not…

  • The 13th Amendment: Slavery is still legal under one condition
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    The 13th Amendment: Slavery is still legal under one condition

    So prisons in America specifically are some of the biggest, most dysfunctional businesses we have in our society, and they are a business because of the cheap and free labor. When you read the 13th Amendment—that basically was the amendment that broke through slavery and freed the men and women who were enslaved at the time—there is a clause in there that allows for the re-enslavement of people in the event that they’re convicted of a crime. And so in prisons throughout our country, you have people who are working for basically free, and if they’re not working for free they’re working for wages that, if we saw that happening…