As we near the end of 2013, here’s a look back at some of Bill’s discussions and essays that were particularly popular with visitors to BillMoyers.com this year.
1. Bill Moyers Essay: On the Sabotage of Democracy
The 2013 government shutdown had consequences for all of us, costing an estimated $300 million each day that the government was closed for business. Many Americans voiced their frustrations with the fallout from the shutdown on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #DearCongress. Here, Bill Moyers shares his own thoughts on the shutdown, and the resulting sabotage of democracy.
2. Wendell Berry on His Hopes for Humanity
Wendell Berry, a quiet and humble man, has become an outspoken advocate for revolution. He urges immediate action as he mourns how America has turned its back on the land and rejected Jeffersonian principles of respect for the environment and sustainable agriculture. Berry warns, “People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped; by influence, by power, by us.” In a rare television interview, this visionary, author and farmer discusses a sensible but no-compromise plan to save the Earth.
3. Bill Moyers Essay: The End Game for Democracy
Bill Moyers says the parody and satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pay Washington the disrespect it deserves, but in the end it’s the city’s predatory mercenaries who have the last laugh.
4. Bill Moyers Essay: The United States of Inequality
The unprecedented level of economic inequality in America is undeniable. In an extended essay, Bill shares examples of the striking extremes of wealth and poverty across the country, including a video report on California’s Silicon Valley. There, Facebook, Google and Apple are minting millionaires, while the area’s homeless population — which has grown 20 percent in the last two years — is living in tent cities at their virtual doorsteps.
5. Sherman Alexie on Living Outside Cultural Borders
Born on a Native American reservation, Sherman Alexie has been navigating the cultural boundaries of American culture in lauded poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays and even stand-up comedy for over two decades. Alexie joins Bill to share his irreverent perspective on contemporary American life and discuss the challenges of living in two different cultures at the same time, especially when one is dominant over the other.
6. Paul Krugman Explains the Keys to Our Recovery
Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that austerity is not the path to economic recovery. Instead, he tells Bill, we should put aside our excessive focus on the deficit, try to overcome political recalcitrance and spend money to put America back to work. Krugman offers specific solutions to not only end what he calls a “vast, unnecessary catastrophe,” but to do it more quickly than some imagine possible.
7. Richard Wolff on Fighting for Economic Justice and Fair Wages
Economist Richard Wolff joins Bill to shine light on the disaster left behind in capitalism’s wake and to discuss the fight for economic justice, including a fair minimum wage. A professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, and currently a visiting professor in the graduate program in International Affairs at the New School, Wolff has written many books on the effects of rampant capitalism, including Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.
8. Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics
In his book, Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, author and scholar Henry Giroux connects the dots to prove his theory that our current system is informed by a “machinery of social and civil death” that chills “any vestige of a robust democracy.” Giroux explains that people “are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead – they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”
9. Sherry Turkle on Being Alone Together
If you think a lot of people are looking down these days, it’s because they literally are, posits MIT professor Sherry Turkle. We often see people focused so intensely on the latest text or tweet coming from their smartphone, that they seem virtually oblivious to the world around them. Bill talks with Turkle, who has studied our relationship with technology for over three decades, about what this constant engagement means for our culture and our society.
10. Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds
Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.