Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thought-provoking book review

Salon.com's review of this book just captured a lot of my personal dilemma about private practice versus an activist career. I'll be reading this book very soon. Here's a passage from the review:

"Compared with our parents at the same age, we're working longer hours for less money, reduced job security, slashed benefits and fewer social services. Over the last four decades, as the income gap has exploded, opportunities for social mobility have declined -- dramatically."

Ugh. And how about this:

"Brook's analysis is strongest -- and most shocking -- when he compares the current situation to the experiences of the previous generation. The 1960s and 1970s were a high-water mark of social mobility in the United States, with education serving as the great equalizer. In those days a Pell Grant covered nearly three-quarters of a student's college tuition; today, the portion has fallen to one-third. It's difficult to fathom that many high-quality public schools like CUNY and Berkeley were once free, and private ones reasonably priced. Brook points out that Ronald Reagan instituted tuition at Berkeley -- reversing a 100-year-old tradition -- only after the Free Speech Movement of the early 1960s, a ploy to punish radicals. "In the end," Brook writes, "tuition and other conservative economic policies did more to undermine student activism than any CIA-style investigation ever could.""

Wow. Exactly. So what on earth are you supposed to do if you want to save the world but you don't want to give your kids less than your parents gave you? That thought hits me every day. Not to mention the fact that a private practice career means that Rob and I also will be able to give security to our extended families in case anyone needs it. Which impulse do we follow when they all seem selfish for different reasons? It's a whole different spin on the work-life balance debate.

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