The Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration

March 30th, 2012

As all the talk, misstatement and misrepresentation about Foxconn plays out in the media, it’s worthwhile to try and really understand how the Chinese economy works and how the macro issues of China's great migration helps explains so much that we don’t understand.

Every year more than 200 millions rural peasants pour into China's cities, fueling the country's staggering growth. The obstacles they face, the opportunities that lie before them and the contributions they make are all part of the future of modern China. How this all plays out is still an open question, as China moves faster than any other nation in history from a rural to an urban economy. Michelle Dammon Loyalka, in her book Eating Bitterness: takes us inside these stories from China’s great urban migration. My conversation with Michelle Dammon Loyalka:

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The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government.

March 29th, 2012

If any movement has defined our times, it is the movement towards power in both government and business and the balance between the two. In fact the occupy movement protesting against the rising power of business and the tea party movement protesting the rising power of government, are indeed two sides of the very same coin. In many way this could have been predicted, as globalization and multinationals first began their rise in the 1970’s.

David Rothkopf, acclaimed author, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the CEO and Editor-at-large of Foreign Policy Magazine, looks at this phenomenon in his new work Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government--and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead. My conversation with David Rothkopf:

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The Unfinished Revolutions

March 28th, 2012

A year ago it appeared as if the Arab world would be forever transformed. The Arab Spring would move like a tsunami, taking out dictators in its path. Yet as we are now beginning to see, the the removal of old regimes was just the beginning. The larger story is, as it usually is, about the morning after. What happens next and how does the Arab public gain real power, what do they do with it and will this be just a rerun of previous attempts at "revolution?"

Marc Lynch is a professor of political science at The George Washington University, where he also is the Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies. He lays out the whole contemporary crises in his new work The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East. My conversation with Marc Lynch:

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Why have we made so little progress?

March 27th, 2012

Sometimes it's reassuring, but often times very sad, that the strains of history repeat themselves in ways that show how little we've learned. From 1915 to 1970, the internal exodus of almost six million African Americans from the South changed the face of America. For her award winning book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great MigrationIsabel Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people to tell the dramatic story of how this American journey unfolded. What happens to one the three central characters in 1945 Florida, shockingly parallels the recent killing of Trayvon Martin. My conversation with Isabel Wilkerson:

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The modern plague

March 20th, 2012

We live in a country where obesity and diabetes is a bigger problem than poverty. Where a staggering one in two Americans suffers from "diabesity." We are now raising the first generation of Americans that will live sicker and die younger than their parents. It is far more than prosperity and abundance that has created this. It's the choices we make. Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, seeks to change those choices and take on this worldwide health epidemic. My conversation with Dr. Mark Hyman:

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Why do we hate White Bread today?

March 16th, 2012

In a culture in which everything is political, even the humble loaf of bread isn't spared. In fact going all the way back to the 19th century, bread said a lot about who you were, or who you wanted to be. Today, it's fair to say that old fashion, store bought white bread represents the lowest rung on the food chain. But why has this staple, that once symbolized the triumph of industrialization, become so contemptible. Aaron Bobrow-Strain, in his book White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, gives rise to many theories. My conversation with Aaron Bobrow-Strain:

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The Imperial Presidency 2.0

March 14th, 2012

As Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith states at the outset of his new book, “war and emergency invariably shift power to the Presidency. Permanent war and permanent emergency threaten to make the shift permanent.” Many believe that that 9/11 and the actions of the Bush administration, many of which were continued by the Obama administration, makes the idea of Presidential accountability impossible. But in his provocative new book Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11,Goldsmith makes the contrary argument. He says that post-9/11 American Presidents are more accountable for their national security decisions than ever before. My conversation with Jack Goldsmith:

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Old Habits Die Hard

March 12th, 2012

Why is it so hard to loose weight, to quit smoking, to go the gym regularly?Much of the answer lies in the power of habits. The same forces that allow us to back out our driveway without conscious thought and to brush our teeth each day without using mental energy, also often stands in the way of our progress. This is The Power of HabitCharles Duhigg, investigative reporter for The New York Times explains "why we do what we do in life in business." My conversation with Charles Duhigg:

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Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero

March 8th, 2012

The playwright Arthur Laurents, in his film The Way We Were, talks about his handsome hero, saying that “in a way he was like the country he lived in; everything came too easily to him." For decades we thought the same about Jack Kennedy. He had that cool, romantic, Gatsbyesque detachment and it somehow seemed to come easily to him, as to the manor born.

Today, as a result of a beautiful and insightful new biography Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews, we know a lot more about how that heroic Renaissance man detachment came to be. It came not from ease, but from pain, study and yes, even loneliness. The kind of pain that builds character and makes great leaders and great Presidents. In a way he was like the country we all used to live in, and less like the one we live in today. My conversation with Chris Matthews:

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First, do no harm!

March 5th, 2012

The first rule of medicine is always "do no harm." It should also be the first rule of trying to do good in the world. However, when billions were committed to fighting AIDS in Africa, perhaps that rule was broken? Just maybe mistakes were made and over the long run more harm than good was accomplished? This is the focus of a revealing new book by Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin,Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It My conversation with Craig Timberg:

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Valmpires and Angles and Werewolves, oh my!

March 2nd, 2012

Few writers  move as easily between genres as Anne Rice.  My last conversation with her was about religion, faith and then about Angels.  Now she moves into the realm of werewolves. A field already very crowded, but she still brings her own quite unique perspective. During a time of all to real dangers that face us each day, she gives us a reason to escape into another world in her new work The Wolf Gift. My conversation with Anne Rice:

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