February 21, 2010: Joseph Heath and Economics for People Who Hate Capitalism - MediaPhiles on Crime - Ayn Rand : The Tale of an Unlikely Intellectual Hero
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Hour 2: Media Column: Crime Column - In a recent Angus Reid poll, almost half of the Canadians surveyed said that violent crime in this country is on the rise. That perception is even stronger in the United States, where Gallop's yearly crime poll shows that three-quarters of Americans believe that crime in the U.S. got worse last year.
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Hour 3: Ayn Rand : The Tale of an Unlikely Intellectual Hero - Alisa Rosenbaum may be the most unlikely Ameircan Public Intellectual of all time. Born in St. Petersburg in 1905 the daughter of Zinovy and Anna Rosenbaum, she was a wilful and truly intelligent child who endured in anguish her family being crushed by the Russian Revolution of 1917.
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Elsewhere on the show - Michael reflected on the sentencing of Leonard Peltier in this week's essay; We took a look at pre-trial custody in Canada; and we also heard an essay from Shula Klinger called, Mothering and Othering: or How to fail as an Academic.
Song: Blues for Gene
Artist: The Gene Harris/Scott Hamilton Quintet
Album: At Last
In this week's essay Michael reflects on the sentencing of Leonard Peltier - a case that has been disputed and appealed for over thirty years.
Song: Go West
Artist: Ted Quinlan
Joseph Heath and Economics for People Who Hate Capitalism
When we last paid attention to this story, the world's financial system was on the verge of total collapse, governments around the world were scrambling to prevent a huge depression and the Big Banks of the world, responsible for the mess in the first place, were paying out billions in bonuses.
Fourteen months later, world economies are anemic at best, the stock market is in turmoil, governments around the world are flailing about for a strategy that might insure that the fall of 2008 was a one shot near disaster and the Big Banks are paying out billions, in bonuses. And we are slowly learning that the debt crisis threatening the Eurozone may have been partly the fault of Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions based on Wall Street.
It is no exaggeration to suggest that ordinary citizens and the body politic world wide are confused, angry, perplexed and bewildered by what happened, why and more importantly what needs to be done next. At the U.N., at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, in Parliaments, Legislatures and Cabinet rooms around the Globe, people are shouting at each other, beating breasts and calling for metaphorical lynchings all the while lost amid numerous conflicting approaches to both understanding the problem and coming up with prescriptions for change.
And citizens in Greece and Iceland, the front line of bank induced national ruin are revolting against any plan that makes them pay for fixing a problem caused by the banks. These institutions may be too big to fail but ordinary people seem unconvinced.
It is a dilemma worthy of contemplation, reflection and perhaps a dollop of dark humour. So who better to consult that Joseph Heath, a philosopher at the University of Toronto, a lecturer at the School of Public Policy and Governance and the author most recently of Filthy Lucre: Economics for People Who Hate Capitalism?
This week Joseph Heath was in our studio in Toronto.
Song: Empty Page
Artist: Yael Wand
Album: Good Stitch Gone
Mail Pack #1
Time now for some of your mail...
From Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca to Tommy Lee Jones in Lonsome Dove, Michael has always appreciated a good hat. Last week, Michael tipped his fedora to all of the many movies that have inspired hat wearers like himself over the years.
Two weeks ago we had Oscar Brand on the show. We're still getting mail about this wonderful interview, and we shared some of that.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to our website and visit our Contact Us page. You can also write a letter to us at The Sunday Edition, P. O. Box 500, Station 'A', Toronto, Ontario, M5W 1E6.
Song: When I first Came to This Land
Artist: Oscar Brand
Album: Live On Campus
Song: True Blue
Artist: Joe Sealy & Paul Novotny
Listen to Hour One:
Song: Harlem Nocturne
Artist: PJ Perry With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Album: PJ Perry With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Media Column: Crime Column
In a recent Angus Reid poll, almost half of the Canadians surveyed said that violent crime in this country is on the rise. That perception is even stronger in the United States, where Gallop's yearly crime poll shows that three-quarters of Americans believe that crime in the U.S. got worse last year.
When it comes to our notions of law-breaking, Canadians and Americans may be on the same page. The problem is that that page was ripped from a pulp fiction novel. The not-so-lurid truth is that on both sides of the border, violent crime is actually declining - despite all the recent economic turmoil.
In Canada last year, Angus Reid notwithstanding, both the volume and severity of crime dropped by 5 % - as it has every year for the past few years. And FBI statistics show that in the United States, the crime rate also fell in 2009 - part of a steep decline that began in the 90s and that's now reached a level Americans haven't experienced since the 60s.
So why are public perceptions so out of line with reality? Might it have something to do with what we the public hear about crime and how we in the media report it? This season on the Sunday Edition, we're looking at how the media covers some of the more complex stories of our day. So this week, we've assembled a panel of MediaPhiles to talk about how we talk about crime.
Media Philes -The Panel
Joining Michael in in our Toronto studio was Jeffrey Dvorkin. Jeff holds the Rogers Communications Distinguished Visiting Chair in Journalism at Ryerson University. He was vice president of news for National Public Radio in the US and the first obmudsman for NPR. And he is also a former Managing Editor and Chief Journalist for CBC Radio News.
James Dubro, an award-winning crime writer, author of five books on crime including Mob Rule and Dragons of Crime. He was also a producer of the CBC TV series Connections. He's also the past president of Crime Writers of Canada.
Anthony Doob is a criminologist at the University of Toronto.
Christine Silverberg had a decades-long career in law enforcement that culminated with her appointment as Chief of Police in Calgary in 1995. After leaving the force in 2000, she went back to school, earned a law degree and she now manages a private civil - not criminal - law practice in Calgary.
Song: Porgy and Bess Opera: It Ain't Necessarily So
Artist: Laurent Korcia
Freedom from Conviction - A look at Pre-trial Custody in Canada
In 2006, Amin Mohamed Durrani, was arrested along with 17 others in connection to a plot to commit a series of terrorist acts. For his part Durrani, plead guilty to knowingly participating in a terrorist group. His actual sentence was 7 and a half years. But he had been already been in jail for nearly four years. Since the day of his arrest.
The judge in the case gave him two for one credit for the time he had already spent in custody a common procedure in Canada. However that is something that is going to change starting this week.
Bill C-25 aims to cut the practice in half. From now on, the rule is judges are to give one day of credit for every day spent in pre-trial custody.
This is something that is going to affect a lot of people in this country. It is a fact, that on any given day, there are more people in Canada's jails who have not been convicted of a crime than there are convicts serving a sentence.
It is even higher in some provinces. In Manitoba for example, 70 percent of the people in custody have not been convicted of any crime. In Ontario, it is 65%.
These are not the sort of numbers that sit comfortably with the Constitutional right in this country to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. And while the government is getting tougher on the people who spend time in pre-trial custody. It is not clear how this new law will affect the growing problem of remand.
It is a problem that my next guests have been following closely.
Alan Mason is a professor of Law at Queen's university. He was in Kingston. Cheryl Webster is a professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa. She was in our Ottawa studio. All of our guests testified before at the senate committee looking into Bill C-25.
Song: Super Snoop
Artist: Joe Sealy & Paul Novotny
Album: Blue Jade
Listen to Hour Two:
Song: Falling in Love with Love
Artist: Chase Sanborn
Album: Perking Up
Ayn Rand : The Tale of an Unlikely Intellectual Hero
Alisa Rosenbaum may be the most unlikely Ameircan Public Intellectual of all time. Born in St. Petersburg in 1905 the daughter of Zinovy and Anna Rosenbaum, she was a wilful and truly intelligent child who endured in anguish her family being crushed by the Russian Revolution of 1917. The experience of watching her entreprenurial father lose all he had built up over the years eventually turned her into one of the 20th centuries fiercest critics of communisim. But before that happened there was emigration to the U.S., a name change to Ayn Rand, a successful career in Hollywood as a screenwriter and the publication of two novels that changed American Politics, Economics and Philosophy.
Her fans adored her, her critics were driven apoplectic. Depending on where you fit, fan or foe, her novels and essays were unreadable drivel or the most compelling inspiring life changing writing imaginable. At the peak of her fame, in the mid sixties she appeared on the Johnny Carson show 3 times in 5 months and university campuses were a fire with young men and women treating her with the type of respect their classmates were directing at the Beatles.
Ayn Rand was surrounded for much of her later life by a small circle of intimates, sycophants and acolytes who worked dilligently to promote Rand and her view of life. To outsiders, Rand, her supporters and the Objectivism movement had all the hallmarks of a cult. To believers, they were the vanguard of a true capitalist revolution. When Ayn Rand died in 1981, most believed her philosophy would die with her. But the sceptics are being proven wrong.
In 2008, the novel, Atlas Shrugged, a 1,088 page novel celebrating the virtues of Capitalism sold 200,000 copies in the United States alone. In 2009, sales were triple that and it briefly eclipsed Barack Obama on the best seller list. Not bad for a book that's been in print since 1957. In 1991 a survey by the Library of Congress concluded Atlas Shrugged was the second most influential book in the U.S. next to the bible. An irony that might well have sent the fiercely atheistic author Ayn Rand on a tirade of, well let's say, biblical proportions. Today, a world beset by economic turmoil, Ayn Rand is enjoying even more of a resurgence. There's talk of a new movie based on Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged staring Angelina Jolie, her books continue to flow out of stores and there are at least two new biographies.
Jennifer Burns is an assistant professor of History at the University of Virgina and author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.
Song: Lush Life
Artist: Sophie Berkal-Sarbit
Album: Young and Foolish
Mail Pack #2
We have time now for some more of your mail...
Last week, Dr. Paul Farmer or "Doctaire Paul" as he's known in some Haitian communities, was my guest. He is beloved in Haiti for his work in health care and social justice.
You can write to us about anything you hear on the program. Our email address is email@example.com or you can go to our website and visit our Contact Us page. You can also write a letter to us at The Sunday Edition, P. O. Box 500, Station 'A', Toronto, Ontario, M5W 1E6.
Essay from Shula Klinger
The world is full of scribblers. Some people write for themselves. Some for a public. And some write for marks and acclaim in the rarified world of academe.
Shula Klinger has done it all. Her essay is called: Mothering and Othering: or How to fail as an Academic
Song: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Musical)
Artist: Gene Harris Quartet
Album: Brotherhood: Gene Harris Quartet
Listen to Hour Three: