In this panel discussion at The New Yorker Festival 2012, moderator George Packer and guests Abhijit Banerjee, Katherine Boo, Geoffrey Canada, and Jose Antonio Vargas give voice to the have-nots.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the MIT. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and remains one of the directors of the lab. Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. J-PAL received the inaugural BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award for world-class research, and Professor Banerjee received the Infosys Prize 2009 in Social Sciences and Economics. In 2011, he was named one of Foreign Policy magazine's top 100 global thinkers. He has authored many articles and books, including Poor Economics (www.pooreconomics.com) which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year, and he finished his first documentary film, "The Name of the Disease," in 2006.
Katherine Boo has contributed to The New Yorker since 2001. Her piece "The Marriage Cure," on marriage seminars for the poor in Oklahoma City, received a National Magazine Award. In 2000, she received the Pulitzer Prize for public service. This February, she published "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity."
Photo Credit: Heleen Welvaart
Geoffrey Canada is the president and C.E.O. of the nonprofit Harlem Children’s Zone, a community-based organization that offers a comprehensive, cradle-through-college network of programs to help eleven thousand local children break the cycle of poverty through education. He is author of "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America" and "Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America."
George Packer has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003. His books include "The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq," which won the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award and an Overseas Press Club book award, and "Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade."
Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist who was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech shootings for the Washington Post. Last year, he wrote a Sidney Award-winning essay for the New York Times Magazine revealing his undocumented status, and subsequently founded Define American, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating the conversation surrounding immigration in the United States.
Photo Credit: Gerry Salva Cruz
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas reflects on his experience living as an undocumented immigrant for 15 years and how it feels when people like Lou Dobbs use the term "illegal." It can be damaging and demeaning.