Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Nerdland!
This time last year, we found ourselves discussing Walmart. Specifically, the historic nationwide Black Friday protests and Walmart’s business model that allows for low prices and continuing low wages. One year later, organizers are still protesting against the super-store with 1,500 protests set to take place on this year’s Black Friday. On Saturday’s Melissa Harris-Perry, join us for a conversation on how Walmart is reacting in a big way to a story that its own communications office has been trying to claim is really no story at all.
Happiness. We all strive for it, our Declaration of Independence demands it, but the formula for actually having it remains elusive. Do people with more money live happier lives? Is happiness derived from human relationships and emotional satisfaction? Are the two at all related? In 1938, researches at Harvard commenced the Grant Study of Adult Development, which followed 268 men for more than 70 years in the hopes of figuring out the factors that make individuals prosper. In his new book, Triumphs of Experience, George Vaillant, who, for decades, directed the Harvard study concludes, “Happiness is love. Full stop.” In 2013, when our human interactions are more frequently experienced via technology and our happiness can peak or plummet depending on what we see on social media, maintaining happiness can feel even more difficult. This Saturday, join us when our host and panel will take on the question of how to be happy and what this emotion really means.
In Nerdland, we often focus on the cost of education as it relates to tuition fees and student loans. But there is another part of the story that has not garnered the same attention, adjunct professor salaries. Despite the rising cost of higher education, the salaries for adjunct professors have stagnated, encouraging many to join unions at unprecedented rates. Last month, professors at Tufts followed their colleagues from universities such as Georgetown and American in joining the Service Employees International Union, which now represents 18,000 members at 10 colleges and universities. Unlike full time or tenured professors, adjuncts receive little by way of benefits and job security and often only make a few thousand dollars per course. On Saturday’s MHP, Melissa and her panel will discuss the increasing salary disparity between levels of professors and why colleges and universities have allowed this to happen.