Glenn Loury invites guests from the worlds of academia, journalism and public affairs to share insights on economic, political and social issues.
Glenn and Gershom discuss Israel and the US election. Gershom finds the controversy over Jerusalem in the Democratic platform to be disconnected from reality. Glenn suggests that this only illustrates the power of symbols in political communication. Do Israelis prefer Romney over Obama? Glenn thinks that pro-Israel pandering in US politics is more about evangelical Christians than Jewish voters. Gershom and Glenn have different ideas about why some Americans still view Obama as foreign. Gershom suggests that American Jews will vote Democratic, but not based on Israel. Gershom argues that the segregated economic situation of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel is unsustainable, and he and Glenn explore how it might change.
Glenn and Larry discuss the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal. Larry gets into the details about how LIBOR works, lamenting a lack of transparency in the gigantic global financial derivatives market. Larry tells how his visit to the Goldman Sachs trading floor made him sick to his stomach. They use the Tylenol drug tampering crisis to explicate our banking woes. Larry explains why leverage plus opacity plus limited liability is a formula for perpetual financial crisis, and recommends creating a financial version of the FDA to certify the “health” of financial instruments. Glenn and Larry outline why banking is different than any other kind of business.
Under discussion on The Glenn Show is Brink’s new book, Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter and More Unequal. Glenn asks Brink how his argument differs from that of Murray and Herrnstein in The Bell Curve. Brink explains how the human capital divergence contributes to growing inequality, and how the complexity of the modern world exacerbates class differences. Can education overcome the class gap? Brink describes the problems with “working class culture.” Brink closes with proposals for educational and economic reform to improve the lives of the lower class.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and John discuss affirmative action and the racial achievement gap. Glenn notes the energetic debate over affirmative action that he witnessed recently in Nepal, in contrast to the exhausted and formulaic arguments over that issue in the US. John says affirmative action should be a time-limited policy in the US. Glenn and John debate whether affirmative action has a place within urban police forces that use test-based hiring. The two discuss the existence and sources of racial differences in intelligence. Is standardized testing necessary? Finally, they both reflect on having achieved high test scores in their youth.
On The Glenn Show, Josh and Glenn talk about their respective battles with prostate cancer. Glenn discusses his own travails after the death of his wife, Linda. Josh pivots to a description of the work he was doing in Kenya this summer. Glenn reports on his own excursion to Nepal. They compare Nepali and American political discourse. Finally, Josh and Glenn complain about the lack of seriousness in Obama and Romney’s campaign ads.
Glenn and Mark debate whether intellectuals should be partisans in an election year. They argue about whether voter ID laws amount to voter disenfranchisement. Glenn complains about the political influence of unions. Mark accuses the Republican Party of climate change denial. Glenn reveals that he has been unimpressed by Obama’s performance, and reveals who he will vote for. Mark recalls an old essay of Glenn’s about political correctness, but gives it a new twist. Finally, they criticize the tactics of both presidential campaigns.
Looking back on their last diavlog, Glenn apologizes for having been rude and Harold apologizes for calling Barry Goldwater bigoted. Glenn reports on his recent trip to Nepal and the intense debate there over affirmative action. They discuss the difficulty in moving from a caste-based system towards equality and national reconciliation, and recall when whites were the sole recipients of political patronage and racial preferences in America. Harold criticizes Romney’s remarks in Israel about Palestinian backwardness. If the Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action, how will elite liberal universities respond? Harold closes by talking about the policy implications of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
On The Glenn Show, Glenn and Harold discuss Romney’s speech to the NAACP. They debate whether Romney should have acknowledged past Republican racism. Was Obama’s race a help or a hindrance in his march to the White House in 2008? Harold and Glenn disagree about whether opposition to the civil rights laws of the 1960s was primarily motivated by racism. Glenn declares that the “black community” does not have a common political mind, and Harold and Glenn lament that there is not more competition from both parties for the black vote. They debate whether the current push for voter ID laws is anti-black. They close by connecting affirmative action in Nepal to reducing violence in Chicago.
Louis Putterman joins Glenn to discuss his new book, The Good, the Bad, and the Economy. Louis explains what China’s experience of Maoism and capitalism tells us about human nature. He describes recent experimental work that shows the limits of the selfish-rational-actor model, noting that human beings are social animals with motivations that are more complicated, and more interesting, than the rational pursuit of self-interest. Glenn and Louis explain the irrational side of reciprocity. Louis reviews his research linking the strength of a nation’s institutions with how much its citizens trust each other. They draw some surprising conclusions from South Korea’s “cram schools.” They conclude by speculating that the emergence of the norm favoring gender equality may be an instance where egalitarian human values are winning out over human nature.
Glenn and John discuss their weariness with being spokesmen on the “race” issue in America. John anticipates more demand for such “race talk” in the coming year, with affirmative action and voting rights cases coming before the Supreme Court. John invites Glenn to reminisce about “race talk” in the 1990s, and Glenn laments that this was when neoconservatives became just plain conservatives. They discuss being the only black person in a room full of conservatives, and Glenn recalls why he once apologized to Jesse Jackson. John explains why he’s tired of speaking about race before largely white audiences. Glenn and John discuss stop-and-frisk policing and voting rights from their “weary with race” perspectives. Glenn declares his solution to being trapped in the ghetto of racial commentary: he’s going global.
Glenn and Harold discuss the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. Harold objects to viewing it in terms of the political horse race, but Glenn disagrees. They debate the extent to which Obamacare is a triumph for social justice. Harold the liberal praises Justice Roberts’s “conservative ruling.” Regarding the law’s Medicaid expansion, Glenn and Harold discuss the latitude that states should be allowed under our system of federalism. They debate whether the judicial vetting of the law was a waste of valuable time. Harold wonders why the Tea Party has been so much more effective than Occupy Wall Street. Casting consistency aside, Glenn defends Bain Capital while objecting to the financial bailout of 2009.
Glenn and Joshua talk about President Obama’s new immigration policy, and Joshua suggests that the real political opportunists are the opponents of the mini-DREAM Act. Glenn reports on anti-Obama sentiment on Wall Street, and says the president should borrow a page from Nixon’s playbook. Josh and Glenn agree that Obama missed an opportunity for progressive political mobilization after the financial crisis. Josh describes his work fostering social development in Nairobi, Kenya and wonders why similar work isn’t much done in the US. Glenn hypothesizes about why it’s so hard to solve problems close to home.