…When Howard Fineman, the Newsweek columnist who moderated this panel, opened the session by paying homage to John F. Kennedy’s famous comment about Thomas Jefferson, remarking that “given that we’ve got three women here and one man on the stage, there hasn’t been this much intellect gathered in one place since Abigail Adams dined alone,” it seemed that maybe the panel would venture into a provocative territory.

But ultimately it went another direction, focusing on the crucially important question of how we can maintain and improve our education system so that America can maintain its global pre-eminence in scientific, technological, and business innovation, can prepare students for the increasing complexity of the twenty-first students, and cultivate young adults who are concerned less with augmenting their wealth and status and more with contributing to the common good…

Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard, in response to the same question, saying that the crash has occasioned a moment of stocktaking, in which universities have been reminded the importance of keeping focus on the “the long view.” Universities, unlike corporations, should not be focused on the next quarter but rather on the ages. Cultivating this sense of the long view, Faust said, and instilling critical, skeptical thinking in students, might have helped to forestall or mitigate the economic cataclysm of the last eighteen months.

Read full story (The Atlantic)

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