Opinions from Columbia University's alumniSee all schools and universities
Rosa DeLauro, American politician
agrees Soda taxesThere is a clear relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and a host of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay. We are at a crucial tipping point. The SWEET Act would help correct the path we are currently on.
Barack Obama, Former President of United States of America
agrees FrackingAfter years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. … The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that.
disagrees FrackingNatural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don’t be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy.
Barack Obama, Former President of United States of America
agrees Universal Health CareI think it [health care] should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills -- for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a pre-existing condition ... See More
Judith Rodin, Philanthropist
agrees Universal Health CareWhen The Rockefeller Foundation first began its work to advance universal health coverage, it seemed to many to be a pipedream. Today, we are truly inspired to see how rapidly support for universal health coverage has grown, including its recent recognition in the Sustainable Development Goals. Universal health coverage is key to building resilient health systems that make both people and planet h... See More
Michael Pettis, Professor of financePut differently, surpluses don’t arise because surplus countries can produce goods more productively or efficiently. They arise from the need to export domestic savings caused by the low household income share of GDP. Because surplus countries direct their excess savings mainly to the US, the only economy deep, flexible and open enough to absorb them, it is the US that must inevitably run capital ... See More
Smoot and Hawley ginned up The Tariff Act of 1930 to get America back to work after the Stock Market Crash of '29. Instead, it destroyed trade so effectively that by 1932, American exports to Europe were just a third of what they had been in 1929. World trade fell two-thirds as other nations retaliated. Jobs evaporated.
George Borjas, EconomistThe presence of all immigrant workers (legal and illegal) in the labor market makes the U.S. economy (GDP) an estimated 11 percent larger ($1.6 trillion) each year.
disagrees Electronic votingWhile technology may someday allow us to replicate these essential features online, many of them are currently absent from Internet voting, which is subject to any number of possible disruptions. These include denial of service attacks that shut down the election process, counterfeit websites, phishing attacks, hacks into the election system, or the insertion of computer viruses that tamper with e... See More
There is a general concern that the robots are taking over. I disagree that our emerging technologies will permanently displace most of the workforce, though I’d argue that jobs will shift into other sectors. Now more than ever, an army of talented coders is needed to help our technology advance. But we will still need folks to do packaging, assembly, sales, and outreach. The collar of the future ... See More
Barack Obama, Former President of United States of AmericaInternet providers have a legal obligation not to block or limit your access to a website. Cable companies can't decide which online stores you should shop at or which streaming services you can use. And they can't let any company pay for priority over its competitors.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, AstrophysicistIf all you think about are the jobs today and you project forward, there might be a day where robots take over every single job we have today. Is that the future that will come? No, because we have innovative people – well, I like to think we have innovative people in society – and we invent new things all the time, that require new jobs to manage them, to invent them, to conceive them, to enginee... See More
Barack Obama, Former President of United States of AmericaThe next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete.
Barack Obama, Former President of United States of AmericaFor too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a cha... See More
Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State (Bill Clinton)
disagrees Social media threaten democracyThere have always been new ways of communication to contend with (for example the cassette recordings of Polish solidarity leader Lech Walesa’s speeches that were spread from factory to factory). So technology can very much be democratizing. The question is how we can use technology to increase the democratizing governance aspect instead of dealing with the fact that people often have the wrong in... See More
Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
disagrees Basic IncomeAre the good, effective anti-poverty programs currently in place fully funded? I’m quite certain they’re not, and thus the question for progressives is what gets us the bigger inequality-and-poverty-reducing-bang-for-the-buck: a dollar to UBI, or a dollar to things like quality pre-school, the EITC and CTC (wage subsidies for low-income, working families), expanding Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), a... See More
Stephen Schneider, Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford UniversityYou can't adapt to melting the Greenland ice sheet. You can't adapt to species that have gone extinct
Michael D. Purugganan, Biologist and former journalistA lot of the criticism of G.M.O.’s in the Western world suffers from a lack of understanding of how really dire the situation is in developing countries
Martin Chalfie, Nobel Prize winner in ChemistryI’m not so sure we’re any more special than other scientists who have looked at the evidence involved, but we have considerably more visibility because of the prize. I think that this behooves us, that when we feel that science is not being listened to, that we speak out.
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