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Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from[…]

Alison Gopnik worries about children growing up poor.

Question: What keeps you up at night?

Alison Gopnik: What worries me about the world? Well, 20 percent of American children growing up in poverty. Yeah, that's pretty worrying. The fact that we invest nothing in children between the ages of zero and five. Our public University at Berkeley is crumbling but at least we have some investment in it. We do nothing for children between the ages of zero and five. And we seem to be quite happy to have children growing up in not just poverty, which wouldn't be so bad, but isolation, lack of people around them, lack of support, lack of ability to go out and play in the dirt. Those kinds of things. Yeah, that definitely has me worried late at night. Babies are very resilient. People are very resilient. We've managed to think of lots and lots of different ways of solving this fundamental human problem of raising children, but the fact that babies can't vote and mothers are too damn busy to vote, or at least be involved in politics, means that the thing that is an important literal senses the most important thing for human beings which is raising our next generation. I think this is literally true, is something that is just out there on the margins of politics. And I think that's really problematic.

Recorded on: October 8, 2009