July 11, 2012

America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, & Our Democracy

Gar Alperovitz, Ph.D., the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland

Host: David Inge

Back in 2005, economist Gar Alperovitz said the time was ripe for a popular movement focused on inequality. Today’s “occupy” movements have proven him right. And, he argues, this kind of activism happening at the local level has the potential to change the entire country in some very big ways. Gar Alperovitz talks about his book "America Beyond Capitalism." The book profiles citizen experiments now underway that go beyond traditional economic models to democratize wealth and empower communities.

This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, January 13, 2012, 11 am

July 06, 2012

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Why are some nations rich and others poor? Many explanations have been offered: culture, geography, even weather. But MIT economist Daron Acemoglu says what matters most are the political and economic institutions made by people. We’ll hear more about the root causes behind success and failure and talk about what might be done to build widespread prosperity.

This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, May 10, 2012, 10 am

July 04, 2012

BackStory with the American History Guys

Independence Daze: A History of July 4th

In the early days of our nation, July Fourth wasn’t an official holiday at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid day-off. So how did the Fourth become the holiest day on our secular calendar? Historian Pauline Maier offers some answers, and explains how radically the meaning of the Declaration has changed since 1776. James Heintze chronicles early Independence Day Bacchanalia. And historian David Blight reflects on Frederick Douglass arresting 1852 Independence Day speech.

July 03, 2012

Current Events in Burma/Myanmar

Burma is one of the poorest countries in Asia. A long period of military rule has kept the country from developing either politically or economically. But that may be starting to change. One sign of that change was the recent election to Parliament of the country’s leading opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi. Next time on Focus our morning talk show we will review recent events in Burma as we talk with Christina Fink, from the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10 am

July 02, 2012

Student Loan Debt and Default, a National Crisis?

More than 90 percent of today’s students earning a bachelor’s degree borrow money to pay for school. That can leave them with a huge burden of debt when they graduate. Why have so many students turned to borrowing to pay for college? And what happens to them and to the country if they can’t repay their loans? Our guest will be Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, and we’ll explore the growing problem of student debt.

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 10 am

June 15, 2012

The European Union

John McCormick, Ph.D., Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Politics, Department of Political Science; Director of Graduate Studies, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Host: David Inge

Proponents of unification in Europe have long argued that closer ties across national borders would lead to peace and prosperity. Certainly the first part has been achieved, but there are questions about the second.  We’ll talk about the ongoing economic crisis in the EU. Our guest will be John McCormick, professor of European Union Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. We’ll review the causes of the crisis, and talk about the future of the Euro.

June 13, 2012

Political Corruption in Illinois

David Morrison, Deputy Director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

Dick W. Simpson, Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, University of Illinois Chicago

Host: David Inge

According to a report released earlier this year by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the city of Chicago leads the nation in public corruption. In the state rankings Illinois takes third place.  Why does our state get such high ratings on corruption? How might Illinois politics be changed to enforce more ethical behavior on the part of politicians? We’ll talk about corruption min Illinois politics with two guests, David Morrison from the Illinois Campaign for Political reform and Dick Simpson, professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

May 30, 2012

Current Events in Egypt

Last week, people in Egypt went to the polls to cast votes in the country’s first free presidential elections. Of the 13 candidates competing in the first round, two will contend in a runoff next month. One is the candidate of the Muslim brotherhood; the other served as Prime Minister under the old regime of Hosni Mubarak. We welcome back Ken Cuno, associate professor of History at the University of Illinois for another conversation about Egyptian politics. We’ll talk about the recent elections and try to get a better understanding of those competing for power.

May 25, 2012

Unwarranted Influence: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military Industrial Complex

Dwight Eisenhower’s most famous speech was his last as president. We look back to that speech warning of the power of the military industrial complex.  The guest in this program from the archives is James Ledbetter, author of "Unwarranted Influence." His book charts the connections between the government, military contractors and the overall economy. While military spending may have brought some benefits, there are also questions. Does our massive military establishment really make us safer?

This is a repeat broadcast from Monday, January 24, 2011, 10 am

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