Opinions from Harvard University's alumniSee all schools and universities
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO at Facebook
agrees Basic IncomeAn entrepreneurial culture thrives when it’s easy to try lots of new ideas. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things. There is something wrong with our system when I can make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.
Al Gore, 45th vice president of the united states
agrees Climate change is realAs human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.
Maura Healey, American attorney, member of the democratic party and the attorney general of massachusettsStrong gun laws save lives, and we will not be intimidated by the gun lobby in our efforts to end the sale of assault weapons and protect our communities and schools.
Al Gore, 45th vice president of the united statesI think that we should ban so-called junk guns. I think we should ban assault weapons like the weapons used here [in Fort Worth], yes. I think that the kinds of weapons that have no legitimate use for hunting or the kind of weapon that a homeowner would use, I think they should be banned, yes, those kind of weapons.
[T]he assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea …. Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in [the direction of disarming the citizenry]. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation f... See More
disagrees Assault weapons should be bannedThe Assault Weapons Ban deals with a fictional distinction. You have guns that are exactly the same guns as are banned, in function, that were banned because of the way they look. And you know, that's the whole truth of this policy: it's to make politicians look as if they are doing something, when in point of fact, they are doing nothing.
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.
Barack Obama, Former President of United States of AmericaI 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
disagrees Universal Health CareMorally, you have no right to demand medical care of me. I may recognize your necessity and offer charity; my friends and I may choose to band together and fund your medical care. But your necessity does not change the basic math: Medical care is a service and a good provided by a third party... [M]edical care is a commodity, and treating it otherwise is foolhardy. To make a commodity cheaper a... 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.
Francine Blau, EconomistThe evidence does not suggest that current immigrant flows cost native-born taxpayers money over the long-run nor does it provide support for the notion that lowering immigration quotas or stepping up enforcement of existing immigration laws would generate savings to existing taxpayers.
Leon Kass, American physician
disagrees EuthanasiaThe prohibition against killing patients... stands as the first promise of self-restraint sworn to in the Hippocratic Oath, as medicine's primary taboo: 'I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect'... In forswearing the giving of poison when asked for it, the Hippocratic physician rejects the view that the patient's choice for death ca... See More
Sheryl Sandberg, American technology executive, activist, and author
agrees Net neutralityToday’s decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity – and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites. We’re ready to work with members of Congress and others to help make the internet free and open for eve... See More
Elliott Abrams, American lawyer, diplomatThe war on drugs is not being won, and it continues to threaten stability and democracy not only in the Andes but throughout the Caribbean as well, where tiny police and military forces are outclassed by the sophisticated equipment in the hands of traffickers passing through the region on the way to their market in this country.
Bill Gates, Philanthropist. Founder and former CEO of Microsoft.I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent...A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.
Lawrence Summers, Economist and Harvard University ProfessorIt is widely feared that half the jobs in the economy might be eliminated by innovations such as self-driving vehicles, automatic checkout machines and expert systems that trade securities more effectively than humans can.
There's 330,000 people that work for GE and none of them had a productive day yesterday, none of them had a completely productive day. So my own belief is that when it comes to digital tools and things like that, that first part of the revolution, is going to be to make your existing workforce productive.
Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial IntelligenceIn the past, much power and responsibility over life and death was concentrated in the hands of doctors. Now, this ethical burden is increasingly shared by the builders of AI software
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
Chris Hedges, American journalist, Presbyterian minister, and visiting Princeton University lecturer.
disagrees Basic IncomeThe oligarchs do not propose structural change. They do not want businesses and the marketplace regulated. They do not support labor unions. They will not pay a living wage to their bonded labor in the developing world or the American workers in their warehouses and shipping centers or driving their delivery vehicles. They have no intention of establishing free college education, universal governm... See More
Toby Young, British journalist
agrees State-funded faith schoolsWhat parents who complain about being excluded from faith schools don’t understand is that the reason they’re above average — which is why they want to send their children to them in the first place — is precisely because of their religious ethos. To a great extent, that ethos depends upon being able to reserve a majority of their places for children of a particular faith. It follows that if the s... See More
disagrees Creationism in schoolsBut it doesn’t matter what the definition of “science” is: the First Amendment prohibits pushing religion in the classroom, and creationism is religion. Scholars don’t have the right to “explore” the role of God in the history of life. As I said, I’d object to scholars lying to their students, but would try to take legal action only against lies that violate the Constitution. The courts have defin... See More
Bill Gates, Philanthropist. Founder and former CEO of Microsoft.
disagrees Social media threaten democracyI felt sure that allowing anyone to publish information and making it easy to find would enhance democracy and the overall quality of political debate. However, the partitioning you talk about which started on cable TV and might be even stronger in the digital world is a concern. We all need to think about how to avoid this problem. It would seem strange to have to force people to look at ideas th... See More
Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor at MITIf we're willing to send half a million fellow citizens into battle, to protect oil supplies and our economic way of life, we should be no less willing to make the small sacrifice of paying more for gasoline. A revenue-neutral plan that reduced Social Security taxes by $1 billion for every penny a gallon of gas tax would leave the working poor and middle class better off than before. In the long t... See More
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