What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

The Oppressive Psychology of Poverty

October 21, 2012, 5:06 PM

What's the Latest Development?

How will the nation's psychological character change as the middle class loses the financial comfort it was once able to take for granted? The changes will not be pleasant, warns Harvard economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan. "When faced with financial scarcity, people’s minds keep coming back to concerns such ashow will I pay rent this month," Mullainathan said. The essential psychological difference among the poor is that, when it comes to worrying about finances, there is no relief from the magnitude and intensity of the problem. 

What's the Big Idea?

Unlike the stress that results from an overbooked schedule, poor families cannot take a vacation from being poor. "You and I can be busy and we take a vacation from work. You can’t take a break from being poor. You can't say, 'Hey I've had enough of worrying about money, I'm just going to be rich for a couple of weeks until I've recovered,'" Mullainathan said. Poor people also have a smaller margin of error when it comes to making financial mistakes. "He said we all make mistakes, the only difference is that some people have the slack to make them and not suffer the consequences."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



The Oppressive Psychology ...

Newsletter: Share: