Inequality and Well-Being

Against the Grain

It’s self-evident that unequal societies like ours are bad for the poor. However, as epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson argues, they’re also bad for everyone else, including the affluent, not only because inequality affects schools and healthcare, but because it also makes us anxious and unhappy. Wilkinson reflects on our psychological well-being in wealthy but unequal countries. …

Upcoming Episode

Against the Grain

Blue-Collar Cosmopolitanism

Intellectualism and cosmopolitanism aren’t things typically associated with working-class people and communities. But James Barrett has investigated, and unearthed, highly literate and often quite radical working-class cultures, cultures in which people read widely, engaged in group discussions, and in some cases traveled a great deal. James Barrett, History from the Bottom Up and the Inside … Continued


Against the Grain

Communal Joy

Happiness seems elusive in our society, despite the many industries attempting to sell it through a multitude of products and services.  What’s missing, according to feminist Lynne Segal, is the sense that our happiness is intertwined with the happiness of others.  She calls for reclaiming radical joy, through collective life and activism. (Encore presentation.) Resources: … Continued


Against the Grain

Radical Rupture in Paris

In March 1871, socialists, anarchists, workers, and others took control of the second most populous city in Europe. Before it was brutally suppressed two months later, the Paris Commune constituted a worker-controlled, radically democratic alternative to the capitalist status quo. David B. Downing discusses the Commune’s beginnings, its accomplishments, and its legacy. Socialism and Democracy … Continued