Past Present Podcast: Universal Basic Income, Scientific Racism, and Malls


In this week’s episode of Past Present, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate the push for universal basic income, the rising visibility of scientific racism, and the disappearance of shopping malls.

 Universal Basic Income

The call for a Universal Basic Income has become popular again, thanks in part to attention Andy Stern has received for his recent book Raising the Floor. We discussed the unusual history of political support for guaranteed incomes, including from conservatives like Richard Nixon. Niki recommended Dissent magazine’s recent article on why liberals should be cautious about supporting a UBI. We made reference to prior Past Present episodes on healthcare and on Sweden.

Scientific Racism

Scientific racism has reemerged in American public life, including the increased visibility of Charles Murray, author of the controversial book The Bell Curve from 1994. Writing for New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan also recently made scientific racist arguments regarding Asian overachievement. Niki has written about the history and reemergence of scientific racism for Vox and U.S. News & World Report. Natalia commented on Gizmodo’s list of the “9 Most Influential Works of Scientific Racism,” including the appearance of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011).

Shopping Malls

We discussed the decline of the indoor shopping mall.

What’s Making History

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