Naomi Klein: When did economics spark your interest?

Naomi Klein: I didn’t start interested in economics. And I see myself actually much more as a . . . as a cultural and political writer who was driven to understand economics because economics was shaping our culture so powerfully. And you know I . . . I became interested in the loss of the public sphere and the degradation of working conditions. Those were two of the themes that I was writing about early on as a journalist. I was writing as a young activist . . . as a young student activist about how we were losing our non-commercial spaces – like schools, right, which used to be . . . I was in school when the first ads arrived. I’m not one of these people who is interested in economics because I’m interested in mathematical modeling. You know I respect people who are, I suppose. But I was forced to teach myself economics because it was affecting culture. And that . . . And I really see myself primarily as somebody concerned with politics, human rights, culture. And I first started trying to understand economics because I was writing as a student about the loss of a public space within the school system. I was writing about the first contracts to allow advertisements in schools and corporate sponsorship of research in universities. Because it was really a transformation when I was a student in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s where there was a real push to get more corporate influence, whether in the form of advertisement or control of a research in the university system. So that’s what made me wanna understand marketing better and understand this expansionist phase of the market into previously protected spaces. Like spaces that we had said, “Okay, the market doesn’t extend to here.” There is a difference between a mall and a university, and there’s a reason why we have this public space. So I guess I came to it backwards. I came to it as somebody interested in culture, education, politics, and facing this very expansionist economic agenda that actually didn’t see a role for the public. And this is the economic phase that we’re in which is so expansionist that it’s creeping into all of these previously non-market spaces. So it was in the process of trying to defend those spaces and draw those lines that I became interested in economics. Recorded on: 11/29/07


Klein says she was forced to teach herself economics.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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