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Katherine Newman on the Downturn on the Homefront
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January 25, 2008

The possibility of a lasting economic downturn is the talk of the globe. From the gathering of the world leaders at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, to the 24-hour cable market analysts, to the White House and all those on the campaign trail, reassurance, blame and proffered solutions are a dime a dozen. Many of the new headlines seem to focus on the big players — banks, countries, corporations and markets — not individuals. Sociologist Katherine Newman returns to THE JOURNAL to talk about how Americans all over the economic spectrum are affected by the ups and downs of the global economy.

Katherine S. Newman
Katherine Newman, photo by Robin Holland Katherine S. Newman is the Malcolm Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and the Director of the Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. Formerly the Dean of Social Science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Urban Studies in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Newman has also taught at Columbia University.

Newman is the author of eight books on topics ranging from urban poverty to middle class economic insecurity to school violence. Her most recent book (in collaboration with Victor Chen) is THE MISSING CLASS, an analysis of the condition of the near poor in American society. In previous books, such as NO SHAME IN MY GAME, FALLING FROM GRACE - DOWNWARD MOBILITY IN THE AGE OF AFFLUENCE, A DIFFERENT SHADE OF GRAY: MID-LIFE AND BEYOND IN THE INNER CITY and CHUTES AND LADDERS, she has chronicled the experiences of low-wage workers struggling against formidable odds to lift themselves out of poverty.

Newman has won a number of awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Prize and the Hillman Book Award, and appears frequently on public radio and television. She's now working on a number of international studies including labor market discrimination in India and educational pathways in the post-apartheid South Africa.

Guest photo by Robin Holland.

Published on January 25, 2008.

Related Media:
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Veteran market watcher Robert Kuttner and Wall Street insider William H. Donaldson give their read of the current economic landscape and discuss the risks of the deregulation of the financial industry.

Gretchen Morgenson
Financial columnist Gretchen Morgenson on the SEC, the mortgage crisis and other matters fiscal.

References and Reading:
ONLINE NEWSHOUR: Business and Economy
Coverage ranges from candidate positions on the economy to how China's lending and asset buying impact the U.S. markets and economic stability.

"Worries That the Good Times Were Mostly a Mirage."
David Leonhardt, THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 23, 2008.
Subtitled: "So, how bad could this get?" Financial reporter Leonhardt delves into the worries on Wall Street. The article also contains a link to enable readers to track reactions to the downturn, and to the article, in the blogosphere.

BBC: The Global Credit Crunch
The BBC's coverage of the fallout from bad lending includes timelines, analysis, video and audio reports from around the globe.

World Economic Forum
Find out what the world's leaders are saying about the economic future with official coverage of the Davos Summit.

NPR: Candidates on the Economy
Check in on the candidates' economic statements with NPR's ongoing election coverage.

"Why We Need A Crash Now," Clem Chambers,, January 22, 2008
Perspective from FORBES' Advisor Soapbox.

"Recession 101," Tom Van Riper,, January 23, 2008
Historical perspective from FORBES.

"What is the Middle Class?"
A fact-check Q&A from

Times Topics: Economic Stimulus
A collection of NEW YORK TIMES articles and useful web links.

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Sociologist Katherine Newman on the global markets' effect on kitchen table issues.

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