Saturday, February 11, 2012

Paul Krugman: Money and Morals + Book Signing & Converstion with Mr Fish and Robert Scheer. Tomorrow at W. Hwd Library

Money and Morals
Paul Krugman
NY Times: February 10, 2010
Lately inequality has re-entered the national conversation. Occupy Wall Street gave the issue visibility, while the Congressional Budget Office supplied hard data on the widening income gap. And the myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited.
So you knew what was going to happen next. Suddenly, conservatives are telling us that it's not really about money; it's about morals. Never mind wage stagnation and all that, the real problem is the collapse of working-class family values, which is somehow the fault of liberals.

But is it really all about morals? No, it's mainly about money.

To be fair, the new book at the heart of the conservative pushback, Charles Murray's "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010," does highlight some striking trends. Among white Americans with a high school education or less, marriage rates and male labor force participation are down, while births out of wedlock are up. Clearly, white working-class society has changed in ways that don't sound good.

But the first question one should ask is: Are things really that bad on the values front?

Mr. Murray and other conservatives often seem to assume that the decline of the traditional family has terrible implications for society as a whole. This is, of course, a longstanding position. Reading Mr. Murray, I found myself thinking about an earlier diatribe, Gertrude Himmelfarb's 1996 book, "The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values," which covered much of the same ground, claimed that our society was unraveling and predicted further unraveling as the Victorian virtues continued to erode.

Yet the truth is that some indicators of social dysfunction have improved dramatically even as traditional families continue to lose ground. As far as I can tell, Mr. Murray never mentions either the plunge in teenage pregnancies among all racial groups since 1990 or the 60 percent decline in violent crime since the mid-90s. Could it be that traditional families aren't as crucial to social cohesion as advertised?

Still, something is clearly happening to the traditional working-class family. The question is what. And it is, frankly, amazing how quickly and blithely conservatives dismiss the seemingly obvious answer: A drastic reduction in the work opportunities available to less-educated men.

Most of the numbers you see about income trends in America focus on households rather than individuals, which makes sense for some purposes. But when you see a modest rise in incomes for the lower tiers of the income distribution, you have to realize that all — yes, all — of this rise comes from the women, both because more women are in the paid labor force and because women's wages aren't as much below male wages as they used to be.

For lower-education working men, however, it has been all negative. Adjusted for inflation, entry-level wages of male high school graduates have fallen 23 percent since 1973. Meanwhile, employment benefits have collapsed. In 1980, 65 percent of recent high-school graduates working in the private sector had health benefits, but, by 2009, that was down to 29 percent.

So we have become a society in which less-educated men have great difficulty finding jobs with decent wages and good benefits. Yet somehow we're supposed to be surprised that such men have become less likely to participate in the work force or get married, and conclude that there must have been some mysterious moral collapse caused by snooty liberals. And Mr. Murray also tells us that working-class marriages, when they do happen, have become less happy; strange to say, money problems will do that.

One more thought: The real winner in this controversy is the distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson.

Back in 1996, the same year Ms. Himmelfarb was lamenting our moral collapse, Mr. Wilson published "When Work Disappears: The New World of the Urban Poor," in which he argued that much of the social disruption among African-Americans popularly attributed to collapsing values was actually caused by a lack of blue-collar jobs in urban areas. If he was right, you would expect something similar to happen if another social group — say, working-class whites — experienced a comparable loss of economic opportunity. And so it has.

So we should reject the attempt to divert the national conversation away from soaring inequality toward the alleged moral failings of those Americans being left behind. Traditional values aren't as crucial as social conservatives would have you believe — and, in any case, the social changes taking place in America's working class are overwhelmingly the consequence of sharply rising inequality, not its cause.  

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Center for the Study of Political Graphics

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Decade of Dissent:
Democracy in Action 1965-1975

Exhibition Premiere:
February 4 - April 28, 2012

West Hollywood Library
625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

1965-1975 was a watershed decade for California and the country as a whole. Democracy was advanced at the ballot box, in the classroom and in the streets. Democracy embraces free speech, yet California's students fought for the right to free speech. Democracy ensures freedom of assembly, yet the police often attacked peaceful demonstrations. Democracy protects civil liberties and civil rights regardless of ones race, gender, class or ethnicity, yet African Americans, Asians, Latinos, women, lesbians and gays and others were often denied equality. Artists were in the forefront of the struggles for greater democracy. This exhibition will document the importance of poster art for developing and promoting the ideas and ideals of democracy in California during this turbulent decade. It will also demonstrate the power of art to convey past experiences and views of the world, and create a broader context for understanding contemporary society.

Book Signing & Conversation with
Mr. Fish & Robert Scheer
February 13, 2012
7:30 - 9:30 pm

Artist's Panel
March 31, 2012
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Dissent 451: Art & Activism Now
April 21, 2012
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Artists/Activists Discuss the Role of Art in Contemporary Movements for Social Change

Library Hours: Monday - Thursdays 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Closed Sundays

Decade of Dissent is made possible, in part, by The City of West Hollywood and the California Council for the Humanities and is proud to be a part of The City of West Hollywood's PST It All Started Here.

Artists and graphic collectives represented in Decade of Dissent include:

Carlos Almaraz, Jay Belloli, Black Light, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Armando Cabrera, Carlos Callejo, Christopher Street West, Manuel Gomez Cruz, Derosa, Vic Dinnerstein, Emory Douglas, Bob Fitch, Rupert García, Gilbert, Group Graphics, Dave "Buffalo" Greene, Helck, Gerta Katz, Corita Kent, Richard Mackson, William McNally, Méchicano Art Center, Malaquías Montoya, David Mosley, Earl Newman, Ramses Noriega, Tracy Okida, Jerry Palmer, Peace Press, Lorraine Schneider, J. Sellery, Susan Shapiro, George Stowe Jr., Philip Swartz, Trager, Xavier Viramontes, Weisser, Bob Zaugh, Andy Zermeño

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG) is an educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents, and circulates posters relating to historical and contemporary movements for peace and social justice. CSPG demonstrates the power and significance of these artistic expressions of social change through traveling and online exhibitions, lectures, publications, and workshops. Through our diverse programs, CSPG is reclaiming the power of art to educate and inspire people to action.

PST It All Started Here

PST It All Started Here - West Hollywood Celebrates Pacific Standard Time

In 1945-1980, the years that Pacific Standard Time covers, the urban parcel that is now the City of West Hollywood was the modern-day wild west, physically and metaphorically. An unincorporated territory smack in the middle of Los Angeles, it was-and is-a hotbed of creativity and progressivism representing the rebellious heart of Southern California's artistic and cultural identity. True to form, West Hollywood presents its own provocative take on Pacific Standard Time with "PST It All Started Here," a collection of events and exhibits that take art out of the museum and onto the streets-and celebrate the art world icons, rock music stars, visionary conceptualists, and revolutionary thinkers that made the city a world renowned cultural destination.

Brash, bold, and brainy, offerings for PST It All Started Here include Perpetual Conceptual, an exploration of gallerist Eugenia Butler, part of the seminal art movement on La Cienega Boulevard that was anchored by the legendary Ferus Gallery. Decade of Dissent mines the archives of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, whose collection of post-WWII political art is the largest of its kind in the U.S. At the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum, Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, Wink Wink examines the relationship between artistic practices and LGBTQ histories. Other activities will tie in storied locations-including Barney's Beanery, the Troubadour and the Whisky-that were the hang-outs of the artists and musicians that shaped our world.

Incorporated in 1984, West Hollywood was the first in the U.S. to call itself "The Creative City." Encompassing vibrant districts including The Avenues and the Sunset Strip, "WeHo" has been voted the second most walkable community in California, and, at 1.9-square miles total, arguably has more arts per square mile than any other city in the country. PST It All Started Here celebrates Pacific Standard Time, and West Hollywood's role in shaping the cultural history of Southern California.

Book Signing & Converstion with Mr Fish and Robert Scheer

Monday, February 13, 2012
7:30 pm
West Hollywood City Council Chambers
(on the ground floor of the West Hollywood Library)
625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG ) presents a conversation about art and politics with award winning political cartoonist Mr. Fish (Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Truthdig, The Advocate, etc) and Robert Scheer, the editor-in-chief of TruthDig and the host of the National Public Radio talk show "Left, Right, and Center."

Mr. Fish-aka Dwayne Booth-will present art from his debut volume of political cartoons and essays, spanning politics, popular culture, the economic crisis, the Obama presidency, and much more. Robert Scheer has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His books, include, The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street, and The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America. "Behold the cartoons in Go Fish: there is no more savage yet brilliant wit than that possessed by Mr. Fish, who will never compromise on his deep artistic insight or the outrageous honesty of his social commentary. In a sellout culture he is that rare witness for unfettered truth." -
-Robert Scheer, Editor in Chief, Truthdig and author of The Great American Stickup.

phone: 323-653-4662 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 323-653-4662 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


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