Karen E. Fields
What is race? In this book, the scholars Barbara J. Fields and Karen E. Fields argue that it is not the cause of racism, but the product of racism. The book draws on works of history, sociology, economics, and biology—acting as a corrective to common arguments and assumptions made in all of those fields—to show how and why that is true, and to argue against the notion that we are in anything like a post-racial society.
Microaggressions, political correctness, white nationalism, immigration restrictions, neoliberalism, “democracy promotion,” counter-terrorism. Yale law scholar Amy Chua connects all of these phenomena, and many more, by looking at political tribalism in the United States. She examines how our identities have become stronger predictors of our political beliefs, and questions whether there might be a national cause to knit our disparate tribes back together.
Give People Money
Just give everyone money.
That’s the big idea that animates my first book, titled—well—Give People Money. It examines the idea of a universal basic income, wherein the government would write a check to every living citizen, no strings attached. It looks at UBI as a historical artifact, a global intellectual trend, and a technocratic policy proposal, and uses it to examine what we have, why we have it, and how we could do better.
In reporting and writing it, I often turned for inspiration to other big-ideas books, ones that tackle the impossible, the invisible, the ineffable, and the complicated—and changed how I understood our world. Here are seven recommendations. Click on the book covers to read my thoughts about each one.
Featured image: Decorwithme/Shutterstock.com; Author Photo: © Annie Lowrey