Calling for Change

TRANSITION

Muhammad Yunus on How to Change the World: Do the Reverse
by Ashoka
The Huffington Post, Impact Blog

Image credit: Huffington Post

Image credit: Huffington Post

Part of the "Thriving in a World of Change" series produced by The Huffington Post and Ashoka, in this interview Professor Muhammad Yunus talks about education, unemployment, and wealth concentration. He particularly emphasizes the need to “bring our society through a transition process to one of more evenly distributed wealth and power.” In order to achieve this change, Professor Yunus is focusing on three areas: zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions and calling for a more “selfless civilization.” Click here to read more about Professor Yunus’s inspiring and at times unconventional perspectives on how to create a more just and peaceful world. 

PROCESS

How Change Happens
by Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Image credit: Forbes.com

Image credit: Forbes.com

“Sorry, but there’s nothing noble about seeing your values defeated because you preferred happy dreams to hard thinking about means and ends. Don’t let idealism veer into destructive self-indulgence.” So writes Paul Krugman in this recent op-ed piece for The New York Times. Krugman opens with a brief commentary on the fact that while it is nonsensical (and incorrect) to describe the two major political parties of the United States as having symmetric agendas, “there are some currents in our political life that do run through both parties.” One of them, Krugman argues, is the idea that if the “right” person were elected, a hidden majority of Americans would be persuaded to support that candidate’s radical policies. While the piece is seemingly about politics, the heart of his discussion is actually about pragmatism and idealism and what we are willing to compromise for the sake of creating real change. “The point is that while idealism is fine and essential — you have to dream of a better world — it’s not a virtue unless it goes along with hardheaded realism about the means that might achieve your ends.” What do you think? Is Krugman giving up too easily or being realistic in his understanding of how progress is achieved? 

ACTIVISM 

Longtime White House Protester Dies, After Vigil That Started In 1981
by Bill Chappel
NPR, the two-way

Image credit: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Image credit: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

"Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause." –Psalm 35:19

Concepcion “Connie” Picciotto spent more than 30 years of her life outside the White House calling for peace and an end to nuclear proliferation, “to stop the world from being destroyed.” The long-time peace activist died this past Monday according to the Peace House, the group that organizes the protest installation at the White House. Picciotto protested outside the White House for more than 30 years making the peace vigil the longest-running act of political protest in the U.S. As was reported by The Washington Post in her obituary: "Through her presence, she said she hoped to remind others to take whatever action they could, however small, to help end wars and stop violence, particularly against children.” To what cause would you be willing to dedicate 30 years of your life?

SPEAKING OF CHANGE...

Obama's Executive Actions on Solitary Confinement
by Marina Koren
The Atlantic Magazine

Image credit: The Atlantic Magazine

Image credit: The Atlantic Magazine

Yesterday, The Washington Post ran an op-ed penned by President Obama on his issuing of executive actions to ban the use of solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in federal prisons across the U.S. Expressing his opinion that solitary confinement is overused and can lead to dangerous psychological consequences, he writes: "As president, my most important job is to keep the American people safe. And since I took office, overall crime rates have decreased by more than 15 percent. In our criminal justice system, the punishment should fit the crime — and those who have served their time should leave prison ready to become productive members of society. How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people? It doesn’t make us safer. It’s an affront to our common humanity." Read more here about his executive actions and his op-ed here.