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Playlist: Coping with a Shaky Economy

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15965815@N00/416514144/">Marshall Astor</a>
Image by: Marshall Astor 
Curated Playlist

In this fragile economy, here are some pieces and programs that fit the times.

Also check out economy pieces by and about youth.

Bernanke on Main Street Kansas City

From KCUR | 02:25:10

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke opened himself up to a group of invited citizens in Kansas City this summer as part of a News Hour segment. Some of the questions are wonderfully basic -- 'What does the Fed do?' -- to incisive queries from bankers and business people. Great raw audio.

Default-piece-image-0 On July 26th, 2009, Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve did something that is said no other person in his position has ever done, took questions from regular citizens town-hall style, for a TV show.   The event, sponsored by NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, is part of Bernanke's effort to reassure people that the economy is stabilizing.   It may also be intended to help fend off congressional attacks on the Federal Reserve's independence.   

Getting Full For Free: Dumpster Diving in the D

From Zak Rosen | 05:07

Detroiter Jean Wilson takes us to one of her favorite organic markets. Well, actually, to a dumpster behind the market. From Zak Rosen.

Jean20005_small Detroiter Jean Wilson took WDET's Zak Rosen to one of her favorite organic markets the other night. Well, actually, she took him to dumpster behind the market to talk all about how she and a lot of other people are getting full for free in Metro Detroit. Jean Wilson has been diving for herself, friends, neighbors, and even her mother for more than five years. The 50-year old Wilson estimates she's spent $50 on food in the last five years!

Reinventing Stamford

From Smart City Radio | 59:00

Many cities are desperate for ways out of the current recession, but the city of Stamford, Connecticut says "crisis is the mother of invention." Find out what Stamford is doing to weather the economic storm and reinvent itself for the next generation.

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With the economy in crisis many cities are scrambling for solutions to their financial woes.  Stamford Connecticut has weathered many economic ups and downs by reinventing itself and is about to do it again with a series of civic conversations called:  Reinventing Stamford: Redefining the Recession. 

We'll speak with the Mayor of Stamford Dannel Malloy, and Kip Bergstrom, the executive director of the city's Urban Redevelopment Commission about bringing together civic, business, and governmental leaders to make a city stronger, greener, and more resilient.

My Plate Full, Yours Empty

From Curie Youth Radio | 02:05

Even when Abdel Mutan's family was going hungry, he didn't know it. Here he talks to his mother, remembering an evening when Abdel's mother put her family first and herself second.

Youth_radio_small Even when Abdel Mutan's family was going hungry, he didn't know it.  Here he talks to his mother, remembering an evening when Abdel's mother put her family first and herself second.

Curie Youth Radio is a writing and radio production class at Curie High School on Chicago's Southwest side.

Here, students create their own stories: fresh takes on everything from snowball fights to gang warfare. They see their stories as a way for teenagers in one Chicago high school to reach out to the rest of the world.

Debt

From Western Folklife Center Media | 03:00

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering participant Brenn Hill shares his song, "Debt," written after seeing friends dragged down by credit card debt.

Piggybank_small

It's rare these days to tune in to the news on the radio and not hear reports on the sputtering economy, rising fuel prices and people struggling to make ends meet; and if you decide you need a break from bad news, don't tune in to your country music station, because you may hear the same story all over again.

This week's What's in a Song is no different. In it, we hear from Utah cowboy singer Brenn Hill with his song, "Debt," written after seeing friends dragged down by debt. Brenn has been performing at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering since he was too young to even qualify for a credit card, and now he is one of the most innovative voices in contemporary cowboy music.

The song is featured on Brenn's new album, What a Man's Got To Do. Purchase the CD in our online store. 

Debt: Payback and the Shadow Side of Wealth- Margaret Atwood- Hour One

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | Part of the 2008 CBC Massey Lectures series | 54:00

This is the first of a powerful five-part series with Canadian novelist and essayist Margaret Atwood.

She reads and tells stories about money and families and her experiences and talk with incredible insight about debt. Totally engaging.

Margaretatwoodbookcover2_small Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air - something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it. Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. Margaret Atwood writes "These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they're about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense ? from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures." Margaret Atwood is one of the world's pre-eminent writers - winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. She is an International Vice President of PEN, which assists writers around the world in the peaceful expression of their ideas. Most recently, she is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

Debt: Payback and the Shadow Side of Wealth- Margaret Atwood- Hour Two

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | Part of the 2008 CBC Massey Lectures series | 54:00

This five part series is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies.

Margaretatwoodbookcover2_small Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air - something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it. Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. Margaret Atwood writes "These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they're about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense ? from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures." Margaret Atwood is one of the world's pre-eminent writers - winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. She is an International Vice President of PEN, which assists writers around the world in the peaceful expression of their ideas. Most recently, she is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

Debt: Payback and the Shadow Side of Wealth- Margaret Atwood- Hour Three

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | Part of the 2008 CBC Massey Lectures series | 54:00

This five part series is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies.

Margaretatwoodbookcover2_small Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air - something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it. Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. Margaret Atwood writes "These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they're about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense ? from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures." Margaret Atwood is one of the world's pre-eminent writers - winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. She is an International Vice President of PEN, which assists writers around the world in the peaceful expression of their ideas. Most recently, she is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

Debt: Payback and the Shadow Side of Wealth- Margaret Atwood- Hour Four

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | Part of the 2008 CBC Massey Lectures series | 54:00

This five part series is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies.

Margaretatwoodbookcover2_small Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air - something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it. Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. Margaret Atwood writes "These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they're about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense ? from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures." Margaret Atwood is one of the world's pre-eminent writers - winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. She is an International Vice President of PEN, which assists writers around the world in the peaceful expression of their ideas. Most recently, she is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

Debt: Payback and the Shadow Side of Wealth- Margaret Atwood- Hour Five

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | Part of the 2008 CBC Massey Lectures series | 54:00

This five part series is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies.

Margaretatwoodbookcover2_small Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air - something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it. Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. Margaret Atwood writes "These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they're about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense ? from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures." Margaret Atwood is one of the world's pre-eminent writers - winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake. She is an International Vice President of PEN, which assists writers around the world in the peaceful expression of their ideas. Most recently, she is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

DRIVEN TOWARD DEBT

From Voices of Our World | 27:58

Yes, this program is from 2006 or so, but it is prescient: the impact of debt on those least able to cope with economic setbacks.

Debt_small Voices of Our World Program 0601 Air date: Week of January 1, 2006 Part One: DEEPER IN DEBT: The $400.00 child credits doled out to lower income families do not even begin to offset state fee hikes and serious cuts. A minimum wage earning mom, worried about how she'll afford a doctor's visit for her child, has greater concerns than stimulating the economy. Our nation is in debt to the tune of $6,793,571,980,569.91 and most US citizens are carrying considerable personal debt. Some banks are getting rich by taking advantage of our addiction to credit. Elinoar Astrinsky talks with Michael Hudson, the author of Merchants of Misery. OPTIONAL CUTAWAY CUE: "That's 1-8-8-8 M-A-R-Y-K-N-O-L-L" at 14:00. Part Two: THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW!: More than 9 million Americans recently lost their jobs. Since the year 2000, 3.2 million private sector jobs and 2.5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost to other countries. Our trade policies have made it more profitable for US firms to move plants and jobs outside our borders. Minimum wage earners who haven't lost their jobs, have not seen a pay increase since 1997. Is it time to make the right to a job, at a "living wage" an amendment to the Constitution? Kathy Golden speaks with Loyola University Law Professor, William Quigley.

This I Believe - Kenneth Feinberg

From This I Believe | Part of the This I Believe series | 04:00

We can get overwhelmed by the number of layoffs. But these are people, not statistics. Few people know the value of people, the human being, as Kenneth Feinberg who handled the Sept. 11 victims compensation fund.

Tiblogosmall_small HOST: Today's This I Believe essay comes from Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney specializing in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is best known for his role as Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Here's Kenneth Feinberg with his essay for This I Believe. FEINBERG: What is an individual life worth? Do our lives have equal value? Struggling with these questions led me to my belief. After September 11, I confronted the challenge of placing a value on human life by calculating different amounts of compensation for each and every victim. The law required that I give more money to the stockbroker, the bond trader and the banker, than to the waiter, the policeman, the fireman and the soldier at the Pentagon. This is what happens every day in courtrooms throughout our nation. Our system of justice has always been based upon this idea-that compensation for death should be directly related to the financial circumstances of each victim. But as I met with the 9/11 families and wrestled with issues surrounding the valuation of lives lost, I began to question this basic premise of our legal system. Trained in the law, I had always accepted that no two lives were worth the same in financial terms. But now I found the law in conflict with my growing belief in the equality of all life. "Mr. Feinberg, my husband was a fireman and died a hero at the World Trade Center. Why are you giving me less money than the banker who represented Enron? Why are you demeaning the memory of my husband?" My response was defensive and unconvincing. At first I gave the standard legal argument-that I was not evaluating the intrinsic moral worth of any individual. I was basing my decision on the law, just as juries did every day. But this explanation fell on deaf ears. Grieving families couldn't hear it. And I didn't believe it myself. I was engaged in a personal struggle. I felt it would make more sense for Congress to provide the same amount of public compensation to each and every victim-to declare, in effect, that all lives are equal. But in this case, the law prevailed. Last year, however, in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings and the deaths of 32 victims, I was again asked to design and administer a compensation system, this one privately funded. And I realized that Feinberg the citizen should trump Feinberg the lawyer. My legal training would no longer stand in the way. This time all victims-students and faculty alike-would receive the same compensation. In the case of September 11, if there is a next time, and Congress again decides to award public compensation, I hope the law will declare that all life should be treated the same. Courtrooms, judges, lawyers and juries are not the answer when it comes to public compensation. I have resolved my personal conflict and have learned a valuable lesson at the same time. I believe that public compensation should avoid financial distinctions which only fuel the hurt and grief of the survivors. I believe all lives should be treated the same.

This I Believe - Maria Zapetis

From This I Believe | Part of the This I Believe series | 04:34

"...I believe in offering help to those who need it. Right now." More inspiration from This I Believe!

Tiblogosmall_small HOST: Today on This I Believe, we hear from Maria Zapetis, a graduating senior at Miami Country Day School in Miami, Florida. The trajectory of her life has been quite smooth -- until recently. Here is Maria Zapetis with her essay for This I Believe. ESSAY: Last year my beliefs changed. Until last summer I had a very comfortable life: winter vacations skiing and summer cruises. My parents spent a lot of money on a private prep school, so they could get me into a competitive middle school, followed by the uber-expensive high school. Everything was about tomorrow, next year, my graduation. We never had to worry about today. Before last summer I never thought much about the people in the world who live day to day, everyday, whose lives are controlled by poverty and hunger. Then I enrolled in a two-week intensive program sponsored by Heifer International. We lived in a "Tribal Village," in a hot, dry open grassland in Arkansas. I know it was only a simulation, that I could go back to my regular life, but the experience gave birth to a belief in helping others. Today. I am a tribal member in Mozambique. Every meal I make the fire for my family, and feel the flames lick up my nostrils as I blow to keep the fuel alive. I cook mush with vegetables. This is all my family is ever given. I feed the hen and three rabbits their dinner. I grow attached to the rabbits, even though I know I shouldn't. I name them. We are living in a house that feels like an oven with no air conditioning like I am used to, and even though water is available, everyone is too hot and tired to move. I go to the kitchen -- an area of dirt floor -- to make the fire for breakfast. Again I stir and eat the same unfulfilling mush. It's a bad dream, over and over and over again. My lungs fill up with smoke, ash blocks my vision and I can almost see through the eyes of people who really live like this every single day with no hope for change. I'm not getting enough to eat; it's time to decide whether or not to kill the rabbits. I feel pain but it's a privileged child's pain because I know I will soon be eating again. That's not true for a lot of other children around the world. Growing up comfortably in the U.S., I've never had to worry about my dinner, and even though this whole process was only a simulation, it changed my life. Now I believe in doing whatever I can to help find practical ways to defeat hunger. Today. So I've become president of Roots and Shoots, a group working to improve local environments for people and animals. I'm also working to create a program at my high school called the "Safe Passage" trip, to help young people in the Guatemala City dump. And I've got plans to do more. If I ever feel lethargic, I remember laboring in the hot sun and think of the millions who still do. Now, I try to live for today and stop worrying so much about the future. When I eat or feel full, I am grateful for this fortunate life and want to extend the same feeling to others. I believe in offering help to those who need it. Right now.

Surviving the Depression and Segregation

From KUT | 07:09

Millions of people have a history of hard times. This guy survived the Great Depression in Texas. Lessons worth learning.

Image002_small Retired pharmacist Ben Sifuentes was only 10 years old in 1938 when his father died, the year after his grandfather died. The oldest of five kids, Sifuentes did whatever he could to help feed his family in an era before food stamps, before free school lunch, and when Mexican-Americans faced severe discrimination. This is a first-person oral history.

Foreclosing on the American Dream

From Michigan Radio | 53:33

Michigan has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. Thousands of people in the state have had their homes foreclosed on.

Michigan Radio takes an in-depth look at what this means for our state, our communities, and all of us.

Michigan_small Why has Michigan been hit so hard? What is this doing to our neighborhoods? What are the solutions?  "Foreclosing on the American Dream" explores how home foreclosures affect people, neighborhoods, and even art.

Winner of a Clarion award from the Association for Women in Communications in the One Time Documentary Category.

Tamar Charney produced the program.  Vincent Duffy was the story editor. Christina Shockley researched, conducted interviews, and narrated the documentary. Reporting was by Steve Carmody, Dustin Dwyer, Jennifer Guerra, Sarah Hulett, Rick Pluta, and Tracy Samilton. Essay by Jack Lessenberry. Production assistance from Zoe Clark, Richie Duchon, and Katherine Gorman.

Facing the Mortgage Crisis

From Michigan Radio | 53:29

Michigan's unemployment and foreclosure rates are among the worst in the United States. Now that we're in this situation, what can we so about it?

Michigan_small

In an earlier documentary Foreclosing on the American Dream, we identified the problem, and what led up to it. "Facing the Mortgage Crisis" looks at what's being done to deal with the crisis and what happens when people can't avoid foreclosure.

We'll talk with people trying to pick up the pieces and adapt to what life brings after foreclosure, including some of the people profiled in "Foreclosing on the American Dream".

"Facing the Mortgage Crisis" was produced by Tamar Charney, with help from Zoe Clark. Christina Shockley researched, conducted interviews, and narrated the documentary. Reporting by Steve Carmody, Vincent Duffy, Dustin Dwyer, Jennifer Guerra, Sarah Hulett, Rina Miller, Kyle Norris, and Rick Pluta. Essay by Jack Lessenberry. Production assistance from Colleen Castle, Tara Cavanaugh, and Meg Young.

Finding Our Bootstraps: Americans Deal With Recession

From Michigan Radio Economy Special | 58:29

How people are finding the strength and situations
that get them through economic hard times.

Dscn4858_medium_small Since late 2007 America has been in an economic crisis.  From a story about a family living on a beach, to a former GM employee looking to downsize his life, to a teenager weighing options for after high school, this one hour newscast compatible documentary explores how people are finding the strength and situations that get them through economic hard times by presenting personal stories and intimate portraits alongside contextual interviews and reports. Jennifer White is the program's host.   "Finding Our Bootstraps: American’s Deal with Recession" was produced at Michigan Radio and showcases work from independent and station-based contributors to PRX.ORG - The Public Radio Exchange.

The Show Must Go On

From Paul Conley | 10:26

How a ballet company and an orchestra battled the recession and won with creativty, hard work, and a renewed commitment to community.

Ilana_small The recession has been rough on the performing arts.  One national organization predicts 10 percent of non-profit arts groups will fail by the end of 2009.  The Sacramento Ballet and the Stockton Symphony have been in business for a combined 136 years.  But that longevity offered no protections against the financial crisis each faced in 08-09.

"The Show Must Go On" is a two-part series examining what happened to these two venerable arts organizations over the past season, and how they were challenged and changed by the recession. You might say these are stories about survival of the arts and the art of survival.