WGBH Forum Network Lectures

WGBH Forum Network Lectures

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Party and Ideology

Anyone who has watched the bitter competition between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress in recent years, or the fight to win the Republican nomination for President this year, might be wondering how to explain the current political party system in the United States. It looks like a period of deep ideological cleavages between the parties, and strict enforcement of some form of ideological correctness at least in one of them. Yet for decades or even centuries, scholars of politics have argued that ideological divisions were relatively weak in U.S. elections and legislative process. What is happening, and what has happened? Professor John Zaller of UCLA is one of the leading scholars of both political parties and public opinion in the country and here he explores these questions central to understanding the current state of American politics.

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Jodi Kantor: The Obamas

Jodi Kantor, New York Times correspondent, discusses The Obamas, her portrait of the first couple, and addresses the recent media attention and controversy around the book. In The Obamas, Jodi Kantor takes the reader inside the White House as the Obamas try to grapple with their new roles, change the country, raise children, maintain friendships, and figure out what it means to be the first black President and First Lady.

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Party and Ideology

Anyone who has watched the bitter competition between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress in recent years, or the fight to win the Republican nomination for President this year, might be wondering how to explain the current political party system in the United States. It looks like a period of deep ideological cleavages between the parties, and strict enforcement of some form of ideological correctness at least in one of them. Yet for decades or even centuries, scholars of politics have argued that ideological divisions were relatively weak in U.S. elections and legislative process. What is happening, and what has happened? Professor John Zaller of UCLA is one of the leading scholars of both political parties and public opinion in the country and here he explores these questions central to understanding the current state of American politics.

Paul Krugman: End This Depression Now!

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize–winning economist and New York Times columnist discusses his latest book, "End This Depression Now!" The Great Recession is more than four years old—and counting. Yet, as Paul Krugman points out, "Nations rich in resources, talent, and knowledge—all the ingredients for prosperity and a decent standard of living for all—remain in a state of intense pain." How bad have things gotten? How did the U.S. get stuck in what Krugman argues can only be called a depression? And above all, how do we free ourselves? Krugman pursues these questions, and declares that a strong recovery is just one step away, if our leaders can find the "intellectual clarity and political will" to end this depression now.

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Globalization of Labor: Is a Race to the Bottom Inevitable?

Out-sourcing. Off-shoring. Even before the Great Recession of 2008 pushed unemployment rates into double digits, Americans worried that traditional jobs were disappearing. Economist Robert Pollin addresses questions for American workers raised by the globalization of labor. How has globalization of the labor market affected American employment patterns? Is globalization responsible for the loss of domestic jobs that pay middle class wages? How can the United States respond to the challenges created by the “globalization of labor?” What can individual workers do to ensure their own employment security? Is a race to the bottom inevitable?

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