Did you think that once 2020 ended the virus would disappear, the economy would rebound, and peace and prosperity would return to the land? I hope that by November we will have some clarity about how the US and the world are coping with all of the current chaos. In this five-week course we will examine what has happened in five different areas:
- The economy and jobs: Did the stimulus work? How is the stock market? Robots taking jobs? Self-driving cars and trucks?
- Technology, Big Tech, and communications: Any limits on the power of Big Tech? What are the regulations? Break up Facebook? Pervasiveness of Artificial Intelligence, Facial recognition software?
- Science and medicine: The vaccine; herd immunity? MRNA in other areas. CRISP-R? Mars? Climate change; alternative energies,
- International relations: Has the US regained any credibility? NATO? What is the situation in the Middle East? Is the US still at war in Afghanistan? How are we dealing with China? North Korea? Russia?
- Politics and legal issues: Is the country any less divided? Are people feeling better? What happened after the George Floyd trail? Did Joe Biden and Joe Manchin manage to get any bi-partisan cooperation? The filibuster? Significant Supreme Court decisions? Voting rights? Who leads the Republican Party? What happened to Trump?
Each week’s topic will be illustrated with slides, and the class will discuss their reactions to the events described: what is good, bad, hopeful, or frightening. We will discuss what people are trying to do, and why. Is this what we expected? Is it better or worse, or just different?
Class members will receive two or three short readings a week. They should take one hour to read. It is expected that the class will have their own news sources about these issues, which I hope will lead to more diversity of opinions.