What's Possible? Government and the Economy

April 28, 2011

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From left to right: Tom Geoghegan, Kathy Ryg, N. Don Wycliff, Dan Proft, and Laura S. Washington

The Illinois Humanities Council presents its second (Un)Common Good Series event. This talk focuses on the following questions: What is the role of government in promoting a strong economy? How much can government actually do? How much should it do? Can it spur economic activity and create jobs? If so, how? By being smaller? By spending more?

The (Un)Common Good series seeks to re-imagine new ways to discuss issues across ideologies, to model civil debate and dialogue between people who come down on different sides of an issue, and to share information that strives to be unbiased, fact-based, and even-handed. The humanities are a vehicle through which we can talk, listen, and disagree, bringing fresh and unique perspectives to complex and controversial issues. Both ethics and literature, for example, can help us understand why choices about health care reform are so difficult to make. For centuries, philosophers and writers have grappled with ideas about freedom and its limits that can help us understand why we disagree on some civil liberties issues. With their focus on reflection, meaning, and perspective, the humanities might help us get to the root of our disagreements.

To that end, we're bringing together scholars, artists, writers, journalists, and audience members across political perspectives to discuss contemporary issues in ways that are passionate, thoughtful, and respectful. We'd like to get at what's behind a lot of our disagreements--the big questions we don't often get to talk about. Join us as we ask, What should be the role of government? Should there be any limits to freedom? What do we owe each other?

Recorded Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at Skokie Public Library.