Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
As part of my research to present this course, I encountered a number of websites created by students. Here's one put together by some in the Westphalia region of Germany. Take a look and see what you think.
The American Dream
Monday, March 1, 2010
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
© Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com from the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats
I've also seen another exhibit of Menzel's photographs relating to a comparison of international standards of living. It's entitled Hungry Planet. Here's how his website describes it:
|30 Families, 24 Countries, 600 Meals|
One Extraordinary Book
| In Hungry Planet, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio present a photographic study of families from around the world, revealing what people eat during the course of one week. Each family's profile includes a detailed description of their weekly food purchases; photographs of the family at home, at market, and in their community; and a portrait of the entire family surrounded by a week's worth of groceries.|
To assemble this remarkable comparison, Menzel and D'Aluisio traveled to twenty-four countries and visited thirty families from Bhutan and Bosnia to Mexico and Mongolia. Accompanied by an insightful foreword by Marion Nestle, and provocative essays from Alfred W. Crosby, Francine R. Kaufman, Corby Kummer, Charles C. Mann, Michael Pollan, and Carl Safina, the result of this journey is a 30-course documentary feast: captivating, infuriating, and altogether fascinating.
Michelle Norris of NPR's All Things Considered reports on it here.
Time Magazine offers a slideshow of some of the images. Part 1 is here; 2 is here.
Economist Scott Bailey mentioned an interesting exhibit of photographs taken of families around the world surrounded by all their earthly possessions. I'd seen it on display a while ago, and was intrigued by the concept.
It's called Material World: A Global Family Portrait.
There is a book available which has reproductions of all the photographs. One Amazon.com review describes it:
In honor of the United Nations-sponsored International Year of the Family in 1994, award-winning photojournalist Peter Menzel brought together 16 of the world's leading photographers to create a visual portrait of life in 30 nations. Material World tackles its wide subject by zooming in, allowing one household to represent an entire nation. Photographers spent one week living with a "statistically average" family in each country, learning about their work, their attitudes toward their possessions, and their hopes for the future. Then a "big picture" shot of the family was taken outside the dwelling, surrounded by all their (many or few) material goods.
The book provides sidebars offering statistics and a brief history for each country, as well as personal notes from the photographers about their experiences. But it is the "big pictures" that tell most of the story. In one, a British family pauses before a meal of tea and crumpets under a cloudy sky. In another, wary Bosnians sit beside mattresses used as sniper barricades. A Malian family composed of a husband, his two wives, and their children rests before a few cooking and washing implements in golden afternoon light. Material World is a lesson in economics and geography, reminding us of the world's inequities, but also of humanity's common threads. An engrossing, enlightening book. --Maria Dolan
I thought it would be fun to look at the difference between the two:
American Dreams by Casting Crown (2003) focuses on a man who pursues his career at the cost of spending time with his family.
That reminded me of this song by Harry Chapin, Cat's in the Cradle (1974). Here's a live version preceded by a short interview with his widow, Sandy (who wrote the lyrics) and his son, Josh, reflecting on the impact it made in people's lives.
In fact, Chapin's life reflected his attitude about the American Dream. In the mid-1970s, Chapin focused on his social activism, including raising money to combat hunger in the United States. His daughter Jen said: "He saw hunger and poverty as an insult to America." He co-founded the organization World Hunger Year. Many of Chapin's concerts were benefit performances, and sales of his concert merchandise were used to support World Hunger Year.
"The worst thing that happens to you may be the best thing for you if you don't let it get the best of you."
"The nation is prosperous on the whole, but how much prosperity is there in a hole?"
"An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's."
We'll be joined by Washington State Regional Labor Economist Scott Bailey today. I'd say his guess is much better than anyone else's about how our area has fared over the years and where it's likely to go in the future. Here's a link to some of the lively articles he's written over the years at Workforce Explorer.