Mitchell Center Podcasts: Reverberations of Inequality

Posted by University of Pennsylvania on January 7, 2020

As we take a pause in the academic year, it is a great opportunity to view last semester’s Mitchell Center events on video, from Raj Chetty’s keynote address at the Reverberations of Inequality conference to Jeb Bush’s debate with the Penn Political Union on merit-based immigration, as well as listen to original interviews on the Mitchell Center Podcast:

Mitchell Center Podcast, Episode 1.7: The Criminal Justice System as a Predatory Revenue Racket – Joe Soss Interviewer:RAFAEL KHACHATURIAN. In March 2016, American learned from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the city of Ferguson, Missouri had been operating a “predatory system of government.” Police officers were acting as street-level enforcers for a program using fines and fees to extract resources from poor communities of color and deliver them to municipal coffers. JOE SOSS argues that what the DOJ discovered in Ferguson is not an anomaly in U.S. history or of contemporary American governance.

Mitchell Center Podcast, Episode 1.6: Partisan Gerrymandering and the Rise of Democracy Deserts Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. Since the days of Massachusetts Governor Eldridge Gerry (pronounced with a hard g), whose 1812 redistricting plan for the state senate produced the salamander-shaped district that made his name famous, American political parties have sought to draw electoral maps to their own advantage. What has changed recently, argues DAVID DALEY, is the sophistication of the technology available to achieve this end – and the slowness of laws and courts to keep up.

Mitchell Center Podcast, Episode 1.5: The Decline of American Labor and the Rise of Inequality
Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. Union membership in the United States has experienced a long decline. From a peak of over 30 percent of the labor force in 1945, it now hovers around 11 percent. Legal scholar BRISHEN ROGERS argues that, more than the ineluctable forces of automation and globalization, it is this decline that is responsible for the high levels of income inequality in the U.S.

Mitchell Center Podcast, Episode 1.4: The Mediated Cacophony of Facebook and Its Threat to Democracy
Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. The ways in which Facebook pollutes public discourse are inherent and inescapable features of its business model, argues SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN. He attributes the platform’s malign effects to its scale, which encompasses 2.2 billion users; the perverse logic of its algorithms, by which attempts to confront hateful messages only serves to amplify them; and its advertising system, which can target and segment audiences in unprecedented ways.

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