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Aspen Ideas to Go
46 minutes | Sep 21, 2022
Is It Time for New Economic Metrics?
Do we really understand what’s happening in the economic lives of regular Americans? How is inflation hitting people with middle and lower incomes, and what impact will higher interest rates have on them? What societally valuable assets are we ignoring because we don’t measure them? Some economists believe we’re not collecting the right data, and therefore, we’re not getting an accurate picture of what’s happening to individuals. Gene Ludwig founded the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity to create new economic indicators for unemployment, earnings, and cost of living. He discusses how and why changes could be made to economic metrics with Duke law professor and risk analyst Sarah Bloom Raskin, and Oren Cass, the director of the conservative think tank American Compass. New York Times writer David Leonhardt moderates the conversation, which took place at the end of June.
51 minutes | Sep 14, 2022
Bringing the Democratic Party Back to the People
Have Democrats become too identified with technocratic ways of speaking — about the economy, the pandemic, climate change? Has this deepened the political divide between those with and those without college degrees? Can Democrats reconnect with working-class voters who were drawn to Donald Trump? A few people inside the Democratic Party, including Colorado senator Michael Bennet, are speaking up to do just that, and figure out how to reorient the party to a compassionate and winning strategy. Harvard political philosophy professor Michael Sandel lays out a similar argument in his recent book “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” Bennet and Sandel hash out recent history and imagine a new direction — philosophical, social, economic and strategic — for the Democratic Party and the American people.
46 minutes | Sep 7, 2022
Managing Our Eco-Anxiety
Heat waves. Wildfires. Floods. This summer has served up some of the most extreme weather on record, and it’s clear many of us are overwhelmed by climate change news. We usually hear more about problems than solutions, and it’s often difficult to find helpful information about managing our fear and discomfort. Alaina Wood is a scientist and climate communicator, known for her TikTok videos about uplifting climate-related news. She believes that amplifying positive messages helps people lead healthy lives and stay engaged in activism. She’s joined on stage at this 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival event by clinical and environmental psychologist Thomas Doherty, who specializes in working with people on their concerns about environmental issues and climate change. He aims to help people improve their mental health and build capacity to take action on the issues they care about. NBC correspondent Gadi Schwartz moderates the conversation.
64 minutes | Aug 31, 2022
Time for a Friendship Reset?
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown became an unexpected opportunity to take stock of our relationships. Some friendships deepened and transformed, some slipped away, and many social circles shrank. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Our friendships have an enormous impact on our lives, but this type of relationship hardly gets any attention from social scientists and the media, and we have a lot of misconceptions about friendship. The writers and researchers in this panel from the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival, psychologist Marisa G. Franco, writer Eric Barker, and author and speaker Jen Hatmaker, are all working to change that. In a lively conversation, they pick apart the inner workings of these unique kinds of bonds and share some tips on making and keeping better friends. Writer Jennifer Senior, author of the viral story in The Atlantic, “It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart,” moderates the discussion.
62 minutes | Aug 24, 2022
Following Dirty Money Around the World
We are in a golden age for organized crime and corruption, according to watchdog groups. Technological innovations like cryptocurrency have given criminals new tools for covering their tracks, and allowed them to spread out around the globe. Bad actors have spent decades building tangled webs of enablers and tactics, and they now have more resources and capital than ever to invest in new crime enterprises. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project has reporters and editors on every continent who put their lives at risk to follow trails of laundered money and trace clues back to the guilty parties. Their reporting uncovers the ways corruption is chipping away at democracy, human rights, and quality of life for regular citizens. The co-founders of the OCCRP, Drew Sullivan and Paul Radu, along with Freezing Order author Bill Browder, joined NPR host and reporter Mary Louise Kelly on stage at the Aspen Ideas Festival, to explain their methods, share their read on the magnitude of the problem, and speculate about the future of organized, globalized crime.
40 minutes | Aug 17, 2022
When it Comes to Education, Do Parents Know Best?
Parents have always cared about what their kids are learning in school, but education debates have become particularly explosive in the U.S. in the last couple of years. All over the country, parent groups have introduced bills that try to control and restrict what children learn – especially around issues of race, history, and LGBTQ identity. What’s behind the recent push for parental power over education? And is it pitting parents against teachers? Parents who are also educators, researchers and writers join moderator and New York Times podcast host Jane Coaston to try and untangle this flood of activism and assess its impact. You’ll hear from writer and editor at The Dispatch, David French, Wheaton College theology professor Esau McCaulley, and Stanford internet researcher Renée DiResta.
47 minutes | Aug 10, 2022
Free Speech: Where Should We Go From Here?
In public forums and institutions all across America, people are arguing about what free speech means in the age of the internet. What are the rules, and are they the same in every context? What are the consequences of taking action against hate speech, and what are the consequences of not taking action? Is “cancel culture” real, and what is it? Are we in need of a fundamental reset of the bedrock principles and law regarding freedom of speech? In this rousing and passionate panel from the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival, New Yorker staff writer and professor Jelani Cobb and professor and former ACLU president Nadine Strossen debate the harms and merits of allowing and restricting speech in various environments. David Brooks, New York Times columnist and chair of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute, moderates the conversation.
46 minutes | Aug 3, 2022
Will Inflation Come Down Anytime Soon?
Inflation is dominating the financial news headlines, and millions of Americans are really hurting from high prices for gas and food. The unemployment rate is still low, but some companies are announcing layoffs and hiring freezes, and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the economic tunnel. There are more questions than answers: What caused the highest inflation rate in 40 years, and how do we get out of it? What can the Biden Administration and the Federal Reserve do to help? Are we facing a recession? And who is inflation affecting the most? Ellen McGirt, senior editor at Fortune magazine, moderated a panel of economic experts at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival as they explored all of these questions, picking apart what happened in hindsight, and looking ahead to predict where the economy might go from here. You’ll hear from Karin Kimbrough, the chief economist for LinkedIn Corporation, Gregory Daco, the chief economist at EY-Parthenon, and Steven Rattner, CEO of Willett Advisors.
44 minutes | Jul 20, 2022
A Firsthand Report of Ukrainian Suffering and Resolve
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, reporters bring us more and more heart-wrenching stories and images of suffering caused by the conflict. The scale of the damage can feel overwhelming, but a firsthand account can sometimes help us process the impact and ground us in what’s happening in the region. Yuliya Tychkivska is a longtime activist and the executive director of Aspen Institute Kyiv. She recently fled the war in Ukraine with her three children, traveling through at least six countries before finding temporary stability. Her husband is still back home, fighting in the war as a soldier. Tychkivska spoke with Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute, at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival about her harrowing experience during the war, hardships experienced by friends and family, and her hopes for Ukraine’s future.
48 minutes | Jul 15, 2022
Is the Supreme Court Still the Weakest Branch?
Alexander Hamilton called the U.S. Supreme Court the “weakest” branch of government, because it has no direct control over the military or budget. But the court’s recent cluster of decisions on hot-button issues has demonstrated that it can have an enormous impact on the American people and life in this country. Is the judiciary becoming more powerful, and therefore more dangerous? And what will be the consequences if the Court’s power is undermined by ongoing questions about its legitimacy? The 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival asked a panel of legal experts to address these questions and shed some light on the Court’s recent decisions. Law professor and writer Jeffrey Rosen, of the National Constitution Center, moderates the conversation between Melissa Murray of NYU School of Law, Sherif Girgis of Notre Dame Law School and Neal Katyal of Georgetown Law. This is the final episode of three about SCOTUS decisions and the future of the Court.
74 minutes | Jul 14, 2022
Beyond Roe and Dobbs: the Future of Reproductive Rights
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, 2022, has clear consequences: abortion is no longer a protected federal right in the U.S, and many clinics are shutting down. But the legal arguments the decision relies upon are much more complex, and those details often get lost in the headlines. The 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival brought together a conservative and a liberal constitutional scholar to break down the ruling, explain the nuances and speculate about how Dobbs might impact the legal future of other federal rights, such as contraception access and same-sex marriage. Law professor and writer Jeffrey Rosen, of the National Constitution Center and Yamiche Alcindor, the Washington correspondent for NBC News, moderate the conversation between Sherif Girgis of Notre Dame Law School and Melissa Murray of NYU School of Law. This is the second of three episodes about SCOTUS decisions and the future of the Court.
39 minutes | Jul 13, 2022
SCOTUS: Roe v. Wade is Overturned
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, revoking the federal right to an abortion. The Aspen Ideas Festival kicked off the next day, so we quickly shifted gears for the Opening Session and pulled together a stellar panel discussion that centered this groundbreaking legal decision. Laws banning abortion have already gone effect in several states as a result of this decision, and some clinics have reduced services or shut down entirely. Questions remain about what other kinds of legislation this ruling has opened the door for, including criminalization of travel or assistance for abortion, prosecution of miscarriages, or the banning of contraception. Atlantic writer Jennifer Senior moderated a discussion between legal experts Steve Vladeck from the University of Texas School of Law and Katie Keith from Georgetown University Law Center, and writers Jane Coaston, host of “The Argument” podcast and an opinion writer at the New York Times, and David French, senior editor at The Dispatch and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. This is the first of three episodes about SCOTUS decisions and the future of the Court.
60 minutes | May 17, 2022
Digital Surveillance and the Fight for Reproductive Rights
The reversal of Roe v. Wade would make it difficult or impossible for millions of people to obtain abortions, but would also open the doors to criminally prosecute people who seek or obtain an abortion. And in our technological age, that criminalization brings new, frightening opportunities for digital surveillance by law enforcement agencies or anti-abortion vigilantes. In this panel from Aspen Digital, “Digital Surveillance and the Fight for Reproductive Rights,” three experts in digital privacy and civil rights walk us through the risks and existing practices, and share what can be done: Wafa Ben-Hassine from the Omidyar Network, Tiffany Li from University of New Hampshire School of Law and Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, and Cynthia Conti-Cook from the Ford Foundation. The panelists are also joined by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a longtime advocate for digital privacy, and Vivian Schiller, the Executive Director of Aspen Digital, moderates.
67 minutes | Apr 14, 2022
Reckoning with America’s History of Slavery
History is taught with textbooks and lectures, but it’s also passed down in more informal ways, within families from generation to generation. Different groups of people can become attached to varying stories of the same past, and some narratives are erased or distorted. Writer and scholar Clint Smith takes a close look at the mechanisms and consequences of those distortions in his new book, “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America.” He visited historical sites around the U.S., such as Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Monticello, and a Confederate cemetery, and talked with docents and descendents about how they explain and make sense of what happened in those places. Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic, and a poet and education scholar. As part of the Winter Words series from Aspen Words, he is interviewed by James Merle Thomas, a curator and art history professor, and the director of the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies at the Aspen Institute.
55 minutes | Mar 29, 2022
Remembering Madeleine Albright
The Aspen Institute remembers and mourns Secretary Madeleine K. Albright, who passed away on March 23, 2022. She was a diplomat, professor, author, business leader, and the first woman to be the U.S. Secretary of State. In 2018, she raised the alarm on dangerous world leadership with her book “Fascism: A Warning,” calling out the regimes of Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, among others. In July of that year, Aspen Institute President and CEO, Dan Porterfield, interviewed her about the book in front of a live audience as part of the McCloskey Speaker Series. Among her many achievements and accomplishments, Secretary Albright served on the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees starting in 2002, and founded the Aspen Ministers Forum that same year, to strengthen diplomatic ties between the US and Europe. In 2012, she helped establish Aspen Central Europe based in Prague, and was recognized in 2011 as the recipient of the Institute’s Henry Crown Leadership Award. Secretary Albright leaves an enormous legacy as a longtime champion of freedom, justice, and equity around the world.
49 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
A New and Improved Social Contract
The industrial revolution and consequent terrible labor conditions sparked a wave of revolutions in Europe, and then a string of laws and protections for workers. As author and innovation expert Alec Ross describes it, we “rewrote the social contract.” But, Ross says, we may be due for another rewrite, as we transition from an industrial economy to one based on information and knowledge. He writes in his book, “The Raging 2020s: Companies, Countries, People – And the Fight For Our Future,” that some corporations have as much power as nations, government regulation is out of date, and workers have lost staggering amounts of wealth and agency. In this talk from the Society of Fellows at the Aspen Institute, Stephanie Mehta, editor in chief of Fast Company magazine, interviews Ross, a board partner at the venture capital firm Amplo and former innovation advisor for the State Department, about what went wrong and how we get back to equilibrium.
43 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
The Russian Cyber Threats Facing Ukraine
Any organization, public or private, with any connection to Ukraine, should be exercising extreme technological vigilance, says cybersecurity expert Sandra Joyce, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Intelligence at Mandiant. In addition to the attacks on the ground, Russia could come at Ukraine virtually, with a wide range of targets and tactics and varying levels of sophistication. On February 18th, 2022, a few days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chris Krebs, the Senior Newmark Fellow in Cybersecurity Policy at Aspen Digital and former director of the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, interviewed Joyce and Dr. Herb Lin, Senior Research Scholar for Cyber Policy and Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and the Hank J. Holland Fellow in Cyber Policy and Security at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University. The panelists explore the potential outcomes of cyber attacks, and discuss how the U.S. government’s ability to detect and respond to such threats has evolved over the last few years.
40 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
How to Build Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that Sticks
We may have moved from a time of reckoning on racial equity to a time of transformation, says business leader Dr. Rohini Anand, and that gives her hope. The author of “Leading Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Guide for Systemic Change in Multinational Organizations,” Anand advises leaders all over the world on how to get to work and make DEI improvements that stick. Each situation is unique, but the principles Anand has come up with help leaders adapt her expertise to their own organization. Miecha Ranea Forbes, the Aspen Institute’s Vice President of People and Culture, interviews Dr. Anand and shares some of her own expertise in this work. The talk is hosted by Ascend at the Aspen Institute; Ascend is a catalyst and convener for systems, policy, and social impact leaders working to create a society where every family passes a legacy of prosperity and well-being from one generation to the next.
29 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
How Can Activism Repair Our Democracy?
The cornerstone of democracy is the principle that all citizens have the right and ability to participate in their own governance, either directly or via representation. While many Americans today may believe that we’ve lost sight of that inclusive ideal, Rashad Robinson, racial justice activist and the president of Color of Change, points out that for some, the system has never worked as well as it was supposed to. He wants us to come together and look ahead to build a new, more inclusive, more functional version of democracy than what we had before, and be honest about what that requires. In this panel from the State of Democracy Summit, co-presented by the 92nd Street Y and Aspen Digital, Robinson is interviewed by Vivian Schiller, the Executive Director of Aspen Digital.
54 minutes | Jan 20, 2022
A Conversation with Author Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr is probably best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. Just like that book, his latest work, Cloud Cuckoo Land, features protagonists who are dreamers and outsiders who find hope in the midst of danger. He talks with Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes, about the inspiration for his latest book and its focus on technology, destruction, preservation, and humanity’s vast interconnectedness. Doerr and Keane spoke as part of the Winter Words conversation series held by Aspen Words.
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