On Tuesday, June 24th, Portland Public Library’s Choose Civility Initiative and City of Reader’s Team hosted Dr. Susan Feiner, USM professor of economics and gender and women studies and Garrett Martin, executive director of Maine Center for Economic Policy to help us better understand the work of Thomas Piketty and the book Capital in the 21st Century.
More than 40 people attended the event, out of curiosity about the ideas in the book and also curiosity about why this particular book became such a bestseller at this time. Those who couldn’t make it can find some tidbits and links at our dedicated Twitter hastag #pplpiketty.
Anyone who would like to sink teeth into text, please contact Jason who would like to organize a reading group around the book (this is NOT a library sponsored call but a private one).
If you’d like further information or an opportunity to explore the ideas more, please let us know in the comments section or by email. Similarly, if you have ideas for other programs based on current nonfiction, we’d love to know what you’re curious about!
According to the Pew Research Center, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” Not only are there partisan differences, but 27% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans report thinking that the other party represents a “threat to the nation’s well being.” And, it is those who hold the strongest positions that are most likely to participate in politics.
Both Senator Snowe and Representative Allen have books on this topic, as do many others — explore titles (many from our Choose Civility collection) here.
Also, explore the Opposing Viewpoints Database (click “research” and then “research databases” and then search for “Opposing Viewpoint” to learn more about multiple angles on these issues — a search of the term “partisanship” yields great results.
Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital In the 21st Century” has surprised some by becoming a NYT Bestseller and a Longfellow Books top seller, too! It is surprising only because the book is long and long on data and we’ve become accustomed to assuming that our public conversations are fueled on tweets rather than tomes. However, the exploration of wealth and income inequality in society –and in particular, in modern Western societies including the United States — intersects with a lived reality that is sobering, perplexing and requires complex responses.
The Portland Public Library’s “Choose Civility” Initiative and City of Readers’ Team are thrilled to invite economists Susan Feiner and Garrett Martin to help us better understand the data and the arguments made in Picketty’s book and to answer questions about the text. Our evening will also include ample opportunity for discussion about the book and the ideas raised in it.
If you do not have the book (or time to read the whole thing) there are some great guides and reviews online that provide an overview and some critique:
The Financial Times posted an in-depth blog post leveraging critiques about Piketty’s data and data analysis; an interesting back and forth has followed.
Bill Moyers posts lots of related links here and provides more resources and analysis regarding the importance of addressing economic inequality here.
The New York Times maintains an income inequality topics page.
Use comments to submit questions for Professor Susan Feiner and economist Garrett Martin ahead of time or come participate in what should be a lively civil conversation regarding our shared economy — June 24th at 6:30pm in Meeting Room 5!