Paul Pierson

Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley

Guest

Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

Paul Pierson on KCRW

In 1915, the top 1% of Americans had 18% of the nation's wealth.

Does the Growing Income Gap Threaten the Middle Class?

In 1915, the top 1% of Americans had 18% of the nation's wealth.

from Which Way, L.A.?

One hundred years ago, in the era of Robber Barons, the richest 1% of Americans had 18% of the nation's income.

Is Income Inequality a Threat to the Middle Class?

One hundred years ago, in the era of Robber Barons, the richest 1% of Americans had 18% of the nation's income.

from To the Point

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Climate change is an existential crisis. If Americans cut just one hamburger from their diet every week, it would be like taking 10 million cars off the road every year. After cutting energy use, less meat and more plant-based food add up to the easiest--and healthiest--way to reduce your carbon footprint. From the land and water needed to raise feed and the methane produced at the end of digestion, “Cattle are actually mini fossil-fuel, greenhouse gas producers.” So says Sujatha Bergen, head of health campaigns at the NRDC. As her title suggests, eliminating beef from your diet--in addition to pork and lamb-- is also better for you. She explains the trade-offs for helping to reduce climate change and says, “Starting with your fork is much less daunting for many people.”

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66 million years ago, an asteroid caused Earth’s Fifth Extinction, destroying the dinosaurs and most other life forms. Now Earth is facing another extinction, as fish, plants and animals vanish forever. But this time, it’s not the asteroid, it’s us. This week, hundreds of people, both young and old, took to the streets in cities all over the world to begin weeks of protest called the Extinction Rebellion. In the natural course of evolution, the decline and disappearance of a life form takes thousands of years. In the course of a human lifetime, not even one species might disappear. But now, some 28,000 species are vanishing all of a sudden. Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker magazine has written a book called “The Sixth Extinction.” She says, “Extinction rates are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times higher than what is known as the background extinction rate that has pertained over most of geological history.” In her words, “You should not be able to see all sorts of mammals -- to name just one group -- either going extinct or on the verge of extinction. And that is a tipoff that something very, very unusual, and I would add, very dangerous, is going on.” “We’re running geological history backwards. Fossil fuels that were created over the course of hundreds of millions of years buried a lot of carbon underground. We’re now combusting it, putting that carbon back into the atmosphere over a matter of centuries. So we’re taking a process that hundreds of millions of years to run in one direction and then, in a matter of centuries, running it in another direction.” We’ll hear what that means now and for the future of life as we know it.

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Starting October 29, LAX won’t allow curbside pickup from companies like Uber and Lyft.

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