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Pulitzer Prize Winners’ New Book Is Required Reading For Social Entrepreneurs

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This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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Pulitzer Prize Winners Nicholas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn have written a new book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, to be released next month. The book will follow the model of the couple’s previous collaborations, Half the Sky and A Path Appears, painful analyses of big social problems that also celebrate the hope found in existing solutions.

Without the benefit of a review copy, I recorded a discussion of the book and some of his other writing with Kristof several months ago. I invite you to watch the interview in the player above. Kristof’s thoughtful manner of speaking reflects a mind practiced in editing his prose as he goes, sometimes causing him to pause mid-sentence only to finish the thought by starting or finishing a new sentence, leaving the last incomplete.

It’s a style that has garnered the New York Times columnist millions of social media followers to whom he has often appeared in self-produced videos like mine (the key difference being the size of our respective audiences). His millions of fans and followers feel an authentic connection to the self-described “farm boy” from Oregon, despite more than because of his Harvard and Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) education and 30+ years at the Times.

Nicholas Kristof CREDIT: EARL WILSON

Kristof partners with WuDunn, his wife of three decades with whom he has three children, to write books. They won a Pulitzer for their coverage of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 while they both worked at the Times. WuDunn now works in banking.

For Tightrope, which he describes as “deeply personal,” Kristof begins with his own beginning, returning to his rural hometown of Yamhill, Oregon. He focuses on the kids who were on his old school bus. “And about a quarter of those kids have passed away largely from what economists call a death of despair, drugs, alcohol, suicide and also reckless accidents.”

“Most of America has looked the other way as working families have collapsed into a miasma of lost jobs, drugs and shortening life expectancy,” he told me.

“One of the stories we tell is of some neighbors who lived not far from us,” he says beginning his narrative. “There’s a family of five kids. The oldest was in my grade. Really, I mean, everybody was very smart. And they had risen very, very quickly. I mean, the 20th century had been enormously good to them. The dad had a good labor union job. And then then everything kind of collapsed and the jobs went away. The kids all ended up dropping out of school and they self-medicated with that with alcohol, with other drugs.”

“And then then they became less employable, less marriageable. The family structure, which had been really strong in my community, just collapsed very, very quickly. The social fabric, it became undone,” he said, speaking of his hometown. “And so now of those five kids, four of the five are now dead. And the only one who survived survived because he spent 13 years in the Oregon State Penitentiary on drug offenses.”

“These are these are smart kids who could have contributed so much to the country, to a community, and instead they, you know…,” his voice trails off thinking of what might have been and finally notes, “we didn’t intervene.”

The fact that it is easier to help a three-year-old get on the successful path than to help a 30-year-old turn around, is a key lesson he takes from his research and observations about the Yamhill community.

Revealing his penchant for earthbound wisdom, he says, “Look, there is no silver bullet to address these kinds of problems. But there are there are silver buckshot.”

On Housing:

In the U.S., the government provides $30 billion in housing vouchers each year. Often, the recipients congregate in poor areas of the community, sometimes moving from one poor area to another, he notes. This aggregation tends to magnify the problem.

Economist Raj Chetty, has found that if a family uses the voucher to move to a community with higher opportunity, better schools and a stronger family structure, the kids are much more likely to graduate from high school and the girls are less likely to get pregnant as teenagers. They’ll also earn more money and pay more taxes as a result of a relatively small nudge to move to a better neighborhood.

“I wish that some of my neighbors could have had that kind of help back when they were at a tipping point,” he said.

On Education:

“One in seven kids in America still doesn’t graduate from high school. And those kids are cooked. They’re just cooked,” Kristof says in frustration.

“It is it is really easy for successful people to ignore those who’ve been left behind,” he says, noting that our communities are segregated not only by race but by class and education as well. “We can tune out those who have been left behind.”

“I want to make it harder for that to happen and remind people that there is just a lot of desperate need out there,” he adds.

“We I tend to think of education as one of the best predictors of long-term outcomes for countries. The U.S., we pioneered mass education in this country. We pioneered high school—mass high schools. We pioneered mass tertiary education. And as recently as the 1960s, we were number one in high school attendance,” he says, preparing to make a point. “Now we rank number 61. And that doesn’t just hold that hold back those high school dropouts. It holds back our country.”

On Drug Abuse:

Kristof says that drug treatment is only a part of the solution to the crisis in our country. It also isn’t enough to stop drug companies from encouraging physicians to prescribe more opioids. “But it also has to be about giving people who are at the margins more of a sense that they have a future, that they don’t need to numb that pain.”

For Tightrope, Kristof says, they looked at autoworkers who had been laid off in both Detroit and directly across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Globalization and technology are likely to continue eroding manufacturing jobs in both countries.

“But those on the Canadian side were much more likely to get retraining so that they could move into new jobs. And so, an autoworker could become an ultrasound operator. And the upshot was that if you were a Canadian auto worker, you know, you were less likely to turn to drugs. Your kids were less likely to turn to drugs. And today, you know, your grandchild is less likely to be born dependent on opioids.”

In our interview, we talked about a variety of issues I haven’t tallied here, from Kristof’s criticisms of liberals to the lessons he’s learned about the ineffectiveness of the death penalty. Be sure to watch the full interview to the end where he shares his superpower.

By way of confession, I have long seen Kristof as a role model. After 1,200 episodes of my show, I invited him to be my last guest. I am grateful he had a book to promote, which likely gave him the nudge he needed to accept the invitation.

Kristof reflects on his life since leaving Yamhill, noting the aphorism, “talent is universal, but opportunity is not,” suggesting he had no more potential than the kids he rode the bus with to school. “I went to this small rural school and I just I just hit the jackpot.”

“I had parents who read to me who I was surrounded by books. I applied to Harvard. And there was somebody on the admissions committee who was from rural Oregon and loved the idea of a farm boy and our in our class. And so I was admitted. I, you know, four years later, I was lucky enough to win a Rhodes scholarship, which opened all kinds of doors, gave me more of an education, led me to The New York Times. There were editors at The Times who took chances on me. And so I ended up having this string of doors opened up magically for me as I approached,” he says seemingly a bit befuddled by his luck.

“I mean, absolutely, I think I worked incredibly hard. And I think I had, you know, some genuine talent to bring to the table. But there are so many others, you know, in my high school who had talent. And I know that if I had been in somewhat different circumstance, like some of these families, then instead of being in this interview, I would be struggling with my meth addiction or whatever else.”

This recognition of his good fortune, he says, motivates his work.

“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.”

For social entrepreneurs and others working to change the world, Tightrope is required reading.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.


Source: https://yourmarkontheworld.com/pulitzer-prize-winners-new-book-is-required-reading-for-social-entrepreneurs/

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India’s Crypto Ban Uncertain as Finance Minister Touts a Window for Experiments

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India’s Finance Minister told CNBC that the country’s reserve bank is not shutting out cryptocurrencies entirely. She said that while the Reserve Bank of India will decide which unofficial cryptocurrencies will be used and regulated, there will be “a window for experiments” in the industry.

New Lease Of Life For Bitcoin In India

India’s minister of finance, Nirmala Sitharaman, spoke briefly on the country’s standpoint on digital assets in a CNBC virtual townhall. She said that several negotiations are being held with the Reserve Bank of India regarding an impending ban.

A lower parliament in India raised a bill to ban all private cryptocurrencies in January. It said that the move was to facilitate the development of the country’s CBDC, which the RBI will issue and regulate. This did not go down well with cryptocurrency enthusiasts and industry stakeholders in the country. In response, they started an online campaign tagged #IndiaWantsBitcoin to get the RBI to reconsider its stance.

Sitharaman’s remarks suggest that the campaign was quite impactful. She said:

“A lot of negotiations and discussions are happening around the cryptocurrency with the Reserve Bank of India. RBI will be taking a call on what kind of unofficial cryptocurrency will have to be planned and how it has to be regulated. However we want to make sure that there is a window available for all kinds of experiments which will have to take place in the crypto world. There will be a very calibrated position taken. A lot of mixed messages are coming from across the world. World is moving fast with technology, we cannot pretend that we don’t want it.”

Sitting On The Fence

India is renowned for its controversial stance on bitcoin after several “back and forth” regulations. The government had initially banned cryptocurrencies in 2018 after warning investors. The halt was later overturned by the Supreme court. The apex court described the ban as “unconstitutional.”

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India’s lower parliament received backlash from the global crypto community for what seemed like a ridiculous exception to its proposed cryptocurrency ban. It said it will “allow for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.” Regulatory bodies in the country had severally pushed the motion to advance blockchain technology adoption while banning cryptocurrencies.

Its non-committal approach has raised question marks regarding the country’s future in the digital asset space.

Digital Rupee Still In The Picture

Although Sitharaman did not discuss the progress of the digital rupee, the second most populous nation may take a cue from its neighbors, China.

China has continued trials of its digital yuan and has distributed millions of dollars in the digital currency to its citizens.

India’s Reserve bank governor, Shaktikanta Das, said last month that although there is no set date for the launch, the digital rupee was “receiving full attention.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/indias-crypto-ban-uncertain-as-finance-minister-touts-a-window-for-experiments/

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Cardano Price Analysis: 07 March

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The cryptocurrency market has been constantly forming crusts and troughs as it strives towards stability. Cardano’s market witnessed a similar trend wherein the price surged towards the end of February but has been correcting since.

At the time of writing, Cardano was trading at $1.13 with a market capitalization of $35.68 billion.

Cardano six-hour chart

Source: ADAUSD on TradingView

The above chart noted that the current market movement had formed a descending triangle and the price was sloping lower. The price has been supported at $1.06 as the trend becomes bearish.

This downwards trending price has been indicating a further drop making its way into the ADA market.

Reasoning

After witnessing increased volatility in the recent past, the ADA market is now seeing the volatility reduce. However, it has not yet shrunk to a level where a price swing was not possible. Since the descending triangle was a bearish trend, a price drop could make the market more volatile.

The signal line and the 50 moving average were also moving above the price candles and were acting as a point of resistance. Meanwhile, market momentum has turned negative due to the rising selling pressure in the market.

Despite the shift in momentum, the Relative Strength Index has remained close to the equilibrium zone. This could be a sign for the consolidation of the price at the current level but as bearishness increases, the consolidation phase may lead to the price breaking down.

Crucial levels

Entry-level: $1.07
Stop-level: $1.17
Take profit: $0.91
Risk to Reward: 1.53

Conclusion

The current ADA market has been seeing the price drop to its $1.06 support. As the price tests the support, the indicators have been highlighting an incoming fall. This fall could push the digital asset under the support and could bring the value under $1.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/cardano-price-analysis-07-march

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HODLing early leads to relationship troubles? Redditors share their stories

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Crypto investments have reportedly been a source of strife in relationships, sometimes leading to breakups and even divorce. 

According to a Reddit post from February 2015, a then 28-year-old woman using a throwaway account claimed that she was incredibly upset at her husband, who had not stopped purchasing Bitcoin (BTC) since 2013 without consulting her. She estimated that he had bought more than $22,000 in the crypto asset in the two years prior to the post, when the price reached a high of more than $1,000 but also dipped under $200.

“I kept telling him to sell as the price was rising and he promised me a big year in 2014,” she said. “The price kept falling and he continued to buy more. He makes more money than I do but we are building a future together and we have a shared bank account. He kept telling me this was for our kids’ college fund, to buy a house, etc.”

In the early days of Bitcoin and crypto when digital currencies were often used as a running joke for late night talk shows and comedians, many considered investing in the technology financially immature at the very least. Some people still do, even with the BTC price at more than $50,000 again.

The Redditor referred to her husband as “brainwashed,” saying he was “robbing [her] of happiness” and ruining her job by bringing up Bitcoin at her marketing events.

“After a recent price crash, he actually bought more using our vacation fund that I have been saving away for and planning. All gone, in Bitcoin never to be seen again.”

It’s unclear whether the couple stayed together following the response from the post, or if the husband sold some or all of the Bitcoin to ameliorate his wife’s financial concerns. The user compared her spouse to a drug addict and considered “staying in a hotel for a few weeks” to think about whether divorce was an option.

However, with the benefit of hindsight, the husband’s early investment could have easily paid off in the millions of dollars. Even assuming he purchased BTC after the price surge to $1,000 in November 2013, the 22 coins would now be worth more than $1 million.

Because the story was posted on the r/relationships subreddit rather than a pro-crypto group like r/Bitcoin or r/cryptocurrency, many of the Redditors encouraged the user to separate her finances and consider divorce proceedings. Few crypto enthusiasts jumped on the thread to comment, but one predicted that the BTC would one day be “worth fortunes” and recommended the husband continue to HODL.

Another story from a Redditor following the 2017 bull run — which brought in many newbies to the crypto space — claimed that his girlfriend was considering breaking up with him following “a huge investment in cryptocurrencies.” However, digital currencies seem to have played less of a role in his story, as the user said he crashed a car while driving drunk and was pressuring his significant other to leave her job.

Though many crypto traders know the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies will likely continue to be volatile, the adoption and investment from major companies have helped push the technology closer to the mainstream, and made it seemingly more responsible for investors to get in on the action earlier rather than later. Already Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary has claimed to have increased his stake in Bitcoin while asset management firm Third Point CEO Dan Loeb recently said he had been doing a “deep dive into crypto.”

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/hodling-early-leads-to-relationship-troubles-redditors-share-their-stories

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