Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues



Jan 24: Demise of Local Newspapers

After taking a week off (the Library is closed for the MLK Federal holiday), we’ll discuss the implications of the declining number of local news outlets (newspapers, etc.) on our society.

Here’s an Atlantic article that brought the topic to the top of our “to do” list: A Secretive Hedge Fund is Gutting Newspapers. (It’s long! Don’t hit “print” unless you really mean to.)

We have almost two weeks to flesh out the topic.

Also: Here’s a link to the transcript/podcast that Marion promised us earlier this week. (She had encouraged us to listen to Ian Bremmer’s “Top Risks” report for 2020.)

Living wage

During our 3 January meeting, we agreed to discuss a living wage at our 10 January meeting. There are lots of ways to approach that topic, but here are some suggested questions for discussion:

What is a living wage? I suggest that we not spend much time on how much a living wage should be in Dollars, but instead focus on the economic, social, and political concepts behind the idea of a living wage, and whether and how those concepts might differ from those behind the ideas of a minimum wage or a guaranteed minimum income.

Who would support a mandated living wage? Why? Who would oppose such a mandate? Why?

Who would/should bear the economic burden of paying for a living wage? Employers? Consumers? Taxpayers in general?

Most, if not all, living wage mandates in the US so far have been at the municipal level. What are the economic and political implications of a locally-mandated living wage?

What might be the economic, social, and political implications of mandating a living wage at the state or federal level?

Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen.” Karl Marx (and many others)

The Wikipedia entry for a living wage ( is long, but pretty thorough for our purposes. The following are a few articles I found that might be of interest:

Romeo living wage

Jan 3: Small Modular Reactors

At Steven K’s suggestion, we’ll discuss small modular reactors (SMRs) and their role in combatting climate change. He provided a YouTube link with a brief description of how these systems work and, if I recall correctly, some pros and cons. This particular link isn’t my favorite (I found the presenter distracting) but, through the magic of YouTube’s recommendation technology, there are lots of other SMR video choices available nearby. Here’s another possibility.

I assume we’ll also spend some time more broadly discussing the relative merits of nuclear vs. wind vs. solar power (and, maybe, hydro, etc.).

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