Is Our Culture of Empathy Perpetuating Inequality?

Feeling Others’ Pain Lets Us Ignore the Power Structures That Really Divide Us

We desperately need more empathy. At least, that’s what we are told—in political rhetoric, in bestselling popular science books, in international development discourse, in feminist and anti-racist activism. Among current political antagonisms, especially the rise of Trumpism, many are worried about the deleterious effects of “empathy erosion.”

Empathy has been touted as a necessary quality in leadership, the solution to a wide range of social ills and a central component of social justice. If we see from another’s perspective, imaginatively experiencing her or his thoughts, feelings or predicaments, we will …

More In: inequality

Californians Want Much More From Our Neighborhoods

We Love Our Communities but Think They Should Make Us Healthier, and Even Find Us Jobs

California is a state of large things: A 1,100-mile coastline and giant mountain ranges and big roads, bigger cities, and the biggest vistas. In such a sprawling place, with so …

How Will Public Libraries Serve an Increasingly Unequal Society?

Let’s Focus on the People Affected by Libraries Rather Than the Collections Contained Within Them

Trying to predict the future of anything—let alone public libraries—is a tricky task. But unequivocally we can say this: Libraries are not about to become purely digital endeavors. The notion …

The Word of the Summer Is “Victoriotic”

Donald Trump Is the Epitome of Constant Bragging About Inflated Success, But We’re All Guilty, Especially in California

It’s the word of the summer: Victoriotic.

You won’t find it in the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster, at least not yet.

It began its life as an epithet, hurled by …

How Opening a Savings Account Can Close the Racial Wealth Gap

With Modest Public Investment, Low-Income Families Can Build a Financial Cushion Against a Recession or Medical Emergency

Like many economists who care about American families struggling to make ends meet, I spend a good amount of time thinking about how parents can earn more income to give …

Do You Take Your Coffee With Sugar, Milk, or Guns?

In My Search of the Origins of Our Daily Elixir, I Kept Encountering Armed Men

One morning a few years ago, I met a coffee grower in an upscale apartment complex at the edge of Guatemala City. He drove a Toyota Sequoia customized as a …