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.
- Watch a Cornell roundtable on the book
- Watch Senator Elizabeth Warren and author Thomas Picketty discuss inequality via MoveOn
- Read a critique of the book in the Wall Street Journal
- Read a related book on the topic
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!
Now you’ll be able to stream movies, tv episodes, audiobooks, and music for FREE using your PPL library card. HOOPLA is a division of Midwest Tape, a trusted name in the library world of audiotapes, movies and music. We selected their product for ease of use and the breadth of their content.
To begin you’ll need a Portland Public Library card. Go to hoopladigital.com and:
#1 Follow their fast, easy, four-step sign-in process.
#2 If you want hoopla on the go, you can also install their free mobile app on your iOS or Android device.
That’s it! Once you sign in, you are set to begin borrowing. You can borrow up to 6 items per month and borrowing times are 21 days for an audiobook, 7 days for music, 3 days for video.
From “Guns, Germs, and Steel” to “Heidi,” from “The Big Lebowski” to “The Nuremberg Trials,” hoopla has something for everyone. Try it and let us know what you think!
It happened this day : August 1, 1939. At the brink of World War II, the battleship U.S.S. New York stopped in Portland Harbor, preparing to patrol the North Atlantic.
On August 1, 1939, the U.S.S. New York anchored in Portland Harbor to give the men on board a week’s liberty, apparently much to the delight of the local girls, or, as an effusive reporter called them, “Portland’s pulchritudinous lassies.” The battleship carried 371 Naval Academy midshipmen, 755 enlisted men, and 57 officers who had been engaged in training exercises at sea.
The photo above was taken near the Grand Trunk Railroad pier, along eastern Commercial Street.
While the midshipmen enjoyed a tea dance at the Portland Country Club, readers of the Evening Express and the Portland Press Herald learned that the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, had a “dark but still hopeful view of the international picture” (see story in the far right column). Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement would end with Hitler’s invasion of Poland, exactly one month after these photographs were taken. Britain and France declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
During the war, the U.S.S. New York participated in convoy operations. Once the war had ended, she served as a target during atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands in July of 1946, after which she was too radioactive for further service and was decommissioned.
Here are the original camera images which were used in the Portland Evening Express article, showing crew members of the U.S.S. New York plying their musical talents, and baking in the large ship’s kitchen.
Above: Exercising on rowing machines on deck.
Below: Writing letters home, and catching up on reading, aboard the U.S.S. New York
For a hint of what life was like for our midshipmen in 1860, stop by the Portland Room and take a look at the Regulations of the United States Naval Academy (call number 359.0071 U58 1860)