Millions of U.S. families find themselves in precarious financial circumstances, living on the wrong side of the growing income and wealth divide. Despite the recent economic recovery, average wages buy about the same amount of goods and services as they did 40 years ago. The federal minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, buys less today than it did in 1968. Income increases have mostly gone to top income earners. Meanwhile, household wealth is even more concentrated. The top 20% of households own 90% of wealth, with an average net worth of nearly $3 million in 2016. Meanwhile, net worth for the bottom 40% of households is negative $8,900, that is, they owe more than they own.
B y now, much has been written about the Serena Williams-Naomi Osaka-Carlos Ramos fiasco at the 2018 US Open. During the women’s final, the umpire, Carlos Ramos, issued Williams a warning for suspected coaching from her player’s box. When Williams strongly denied she was being coached, which is strictly prohibited in tennis, Ramos levied another penalty against her, stripping her of a single point. However, during a critical juncture in the second set, Williams revisited the discussion and demanded an apology from Ramos for suggesting she cheated. Ramos ultimately took a game away from Williams making the score 3-5 and placing Williams at a deficit from which she could not recover. Taking a game away from a player in this manner has never happened in a Grand Slam final.
Have recent events – notably the election (and re-election) of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party following the Conservative victory in the 2015 general election, and the 2016 vote to leave the EU leading to a ‘hard Brexit’ strategy from the Conservative government – revitalised British politics by breaking from the centrist politics of the preceding period? Was ‘centrism’ a problem that needed to be solved or is the problem that the main parties have vacated the centre ground of politics, creating an urgent need for the centre to be renewed? Is centrism the problem or the solution?
Rebecca Roache expressed a common feeling when in 2015 she blogged, “I am tired of reasoned debate about politics.” Many people today find arguments unpleasant and useless. That attitude is both sad and dangerous because we cannot solve our social problems together if we know that we disagree but do not understand why.
For too long, presentations of science for the general public, and education in schools, has suggested that science wields a sort of hegemonic power, as if its terms and methods gradually replace and make redundant all other discourse; the only reason it has not yet completed its conquest is that the world is complicated—but it is only a matter of time…