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April 29, 2021  

Navi Radjou: Is Frugal Economy a Viable Alternative to Capitalism and Could it Save our Planet?

Navi Radjou podcast frugal economy

In this episode, Back in America’s host, Stan Berteloot speaks with Navi Radjou, internationally renowned Indian-French-American scholar, innovation and leadership advisor, and bestselling author based in New York. Navi’s most recent book, Frugal Innovation: How To Do More With Less, shows how companies can innovate faster, better, and more sustainably. 

The conversation focuses on Navi’s work on developing an alternative to capitalism and concrete actions individuals and businesses are taking to build a better, more sustainable world.

“My job is to introduce Americans to new ways of doing business, new ways of creating economic and social value in a sustainable way,” says Radjou. 

He describes the “frugal economy” as a new economy that is built on business-to-business (b2b) sharing, local production from micro-factories, the notion of regeneration, or how companies can consciously have a positive impact on society and the planet.

Since Navi is multicultural, the episode focuses on the values, culture, and identity of America. Navi comments on an excerpt from a previous Back in America interview with American writer and thinker John Michael Greer. 

In the audio clip, we hear Greer say that America is all about independence and every man for himself, while European countries have a more communal attitude.

In response, Navi asked: “Why do we have to choose? Why can we have both? Why can we go into a kind of the third dimension where we try to integrate the goodness of America, the goodness of Europe? The ideal society,” he says, “is the one that tried to find the sweet spot between maximizing individual expression while contributing to social integration.”

Navi backs up his theories with concrete examples of companies, such as Xometry, People + Work Connect from Accenture, Unilever, Civica RX, or Convoy that are currently working according to the frugal economy precept.

Here are two of Radjou’s articles on Frugal Economy and B2B Sharing :

The Rising Frugal Economy

The sharing economy’s next target: Business-to-business

Navi Radjou’s Movie and Books Selection

The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium Paperback 

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 

The Life Divine Paperback 

by Sri Aurobindo

Movie

Losers on Netflix 

 

Watch the full, unedited, interview on YouTube

April 15, 2021  

How would you go to Zoom School as a homeless youth? We asked Bridging Tech, a charity devoted to overcoming the digital divide

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Bridging COVID-19 Isolation and the Digital Divide with Bridging Tech

 

In 2021, it is nearly impossible to get anything done without a laptop: apply for a job, go to school, safely connect with friends, or schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Yet, there are fewer laptops in existence than humans on this planet, presenting a unique challenge for unhoused students. Not only are they disadvantaged in terms of their living situation, but also have to deal with this extra technological hurdle known as the digital divide.

Naturalized Americans have a unique set of familial and institutional knowledge about how to navigate the complex and confusing American system: What is an SAT? Who can I ask for help on my math homework? Where can I get free public Wi-Fi? While these questions might seem obvious to a second-generation resident, they are anything but for immigrant and first-generation communities. This week’s episode of Back in America, hosted by Podcast Editor Josh Wagner, highlights Bridging Tech, a charity devoted to providing hardware and other educational resources for unhoused students. Having donated nearly 1,000 laptops nationwide, Bridging Tech is developing infrastructure for companies and individuals to donate disused computers to be wiped/refurbished before being donated to unhoused communities. Founded by rising Stanford seniors, Isabel Wang and Margot Bellon, Bridging Tech is committed to listening to the unhoused community and creating actually helpful resources, rather than assuming what would be best and offering potentially unhelpful solutions. Holly Giang, Bridging Tech’s Foundation Relations Manager, also joins us for the interview.

To find out how unhoused youths can go to online school, what policy measures are holding back their success, and how to get involved with Bridging Tech, listen to our episode!

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In the coming weeks, the Back in America team will be launching an eight-part series investigating the relationship between music and poetry, tentatively titled “Rhythmic Verses.” Join Podcast Editor Josh Wagner as he poetically travels around the country, asking the age-old question: What is American to you?

April 8, 2021  

Listen Again: Guns, God & the 2nd Amendment in America - David Treibs Christian & Guns Activist - Prof. Robert Spitzer Constitution and Gun Control Expert, SUNY Cortland

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As Biden announces new executive actions on gun control, the Back in America team invites you to re-listen to an episode on guns in America, initially published on Oct. 23, 2020.

In his executive actions today, Biden restricted the sale of “ghost guns,” untraceable guns which are sold in kits.

Today’s announcements are less expansive than the president’s initial campaign promises. Yet, administration officials suggest that these measures are only the first steps of Biden’s plans for addressing gun violence. Further legislation will require Congressional approval and include a nationwide assault weapons ban (something that Australia successfully adopted 25 years ago) and universal background checks.

 

The following episode is an edited version of live interviews that were recorded on October 20th and 21st. 2020. You can watch the entire broadcast on Back in America’s YouTube channel.  

 

A few weeks ago Jon, a good college friend, visited us for the weekend. At night, we were joined by a couple living next door and we started to talk about politics as we drank beers by the fire pit in the backyard.

 

In the backyard were two French nationals (my wife and I) joined by three Americans.

 

I can't remember exactly how or why Jon started to talk about gun rights, but the conversation became serious when he professed not only his belief in the right to bear arms but also that it was essential to the protection of civilians against the tyranny of the government. Historically, the people most affected by governmental tyranny (forced displacement, slavery) have been denied access to firearms and the ability to use them.

 

This made me dig further into the American gun debate. I've learned that many citizens support the idea of owning any type of gun and that some believe that it is a God-given right.

 

What has God got to do with guns? How can a democracy work when its citizens trust their guns more than their votes? And with the recent bankruptcy of the NRA, will gun control actually work?

 

To try to make sense of all this we are going to hear from three people: first, my friend Jon Phebus will clarify his views; then David Treibs, a Christian and gun activist, will talk about his God-given right to bear arms. Finally, SUNY Cortland’s Professor Robert Spitzer, an expert on constitutional law and gun control, will offer his interpretation of the constitution and bring some historical context to the debate.

 

Books and Movies Recommendations:

 

David Treibs

Love Letter to America by Tomas Schuman

The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov 

Marx & Satan by Richard Wurmbrand

 

Professor Robert Spitzer

The Politics of Gun Control by Robert J. Spitzer

Casablanca (1942)

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