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Brian Adam


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Why is the Nick Hanauer talk not posted?

I haven't been a member for long, but I've been watching TED talks for years now consistently checking in for new videos. Frankly, the talks have gotten a little bland in the past few months. Then I hear through the grapevine of Nick Hanauer's lecture and how Mr. Anderson has decided to censor it. I'm extremely disappointed in the decision. This is an issue on the mind of many people in America and those interested in American politics and economics. It's an something that deserves to be heard by many more people than the elite TED audiences, and what better way to spread this worthy idea than posting the lecture online, sooner rather than later. The cited reason for omitting the lecture was that it was "too political." I have to say that is a terrible excuse. When has TED attempted to remain apolitical? Speakers have discussed societal ills like poverty and war; Jonathan Haidt has put forth an explanation of the psychological differences between the Republicans and Democrats; Sam Harris proposed science can substitute religion as a source of morality, and very early on in TED's history Richard Dawkins was allowed to promote militant atheism; other hot button political issues like contraception and climate change have been discussed here (often more than once); and all of these speakers had the video of their quite political talks posted. All of a sudden we can't view here a perspective on the issue of income inequality from Mr. Hanauer? I seem to remember Richard Wilkinson discussing a very similar topic posted back in October 2011. Mr. Anderson, I think a more substantial explanation is in order regarding your decision not to post Mr. Hanauer's talk online other than it being "too political." I can't speak for anyone else, but I see the decision as an act of cowardice reflecting on the organization as a whole. It suggests that we, the public, have lost TED as a forum for intellectual discussion and consideration regarding important issues, political or otherwise.

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  • May 30 2012: Thought provoking is the ability to create (or resolve) dissonance or disagreement. Ted is not saying this is true or false, but by censoring the talk, they belittle my opportunity to think for myself. If it is factually false, then I can see where they may not want to share the idea, but this is an opinion.
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      May 30 2012: this is not what thought provoking means. it is exactly the "headbutting" anderson wanted to avoid. thought provoking would mean to challenge the audience's beliefs. but that talk fails that on many levels. it actually reinforces some widespread views that are hard to back up with reasoning, namely that we should tax the rich and have fun.

      the fun part is that "trickle down" economics indeed bad science, but not for the reasons hanauer rakes together. the topic could be discussed in an interesting way. but this talk is not much else than slightly disguised political propaganda (aka lip service).
  • May 30 2012: Bravo (for the comment and conversation)... Censorship, by Ted, of opinions that may or may not be political, or popular... and the idea of Ted censoring anything thought provoking is just wrong. Are they protecting us from ourselves ? The Nick Hanauer talk is available (elsewhere) on line, and should be shared.
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      May 30 2012: exactly how that talk is thought provoking? what thoughts you had after watching it / reading it / reading about it that you didn't have earlier?
  • May 17 2012: I read the article concerning this on http://www.businessinsider.com/ and felt enough outraged to make an account here to express it. I regularly share TED videos on Facebook with my friends and family.

    I think what bothers me the most about the decision not to release the video is that Chris Anderson agrees with speaker's views. So what we have is TED censoring something they believe to be true, because it agrees with one political party and not another. Where's the integrity? If you would censor a view because you are afraid of the controversy it would generate, you are no better than partisan news media you are seeking to distance yourself from.

    The day academic integrity bows to political correctness is the day we throw academic integrity out the window.
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    May 24 2012: 1. "Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light,[3][4] or intervene to prevent alternate offers from reaching public exposure.[5]" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

    2. World English Dictionary@ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/censor
    censor (ˈsɛnsə)
    — n
    1. a person authorized to examine publications, theatrical presentations, films, letters, etc, in order to suppress in whole or part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable, etc

    3."Economic censorship is more difficult to define. The Roman essayist Cicero used the immortal phrase "Cui bono?" (Who Profits? -- the ancient version of our "Follow the money."). But numbers may tell only part of the story. In a situation where there is economic censorship, is it isolated or undertaken in conjunction with some type of political censorship? Is there a monopoly within a certain country that is threatened by competition, or a class of oligarchs that is threatened by the emergence of real economic opportunity for smaller firms? Is the economy in a locale more prone to monopolistic arrangements than to genuine competition and innovation?" @ http://gilc.org/speech/osistudy/censorship/

    4."To understand censorship, and the impulse to censor, it is necessary to strip away the shock epithet value that is attached to the word at first utterance. One must recognize that censorship and the ideology supporting it go back to ancient times, and that every society has had customs, taboos, or laws by which speech, dress, religious observance, and sexual expression were regulated. In Athens, where democracy first emerged, censorship was well known as a means of enforcing the prevailing orthodoxy." @ http://gilc.org/speech/osistudy/censorship/
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        May 25 2012: Hi Don,

        Thanks for the link!

        What is your take on this quote?

        "if the public ignores laws enacted by a democratically elected representatives, the system falls apart."
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          May 25 2012: Hey MItch, not sure if you are asking me or Don. I think it is a sticky wicket of a question, not knowing the rule of law in Canada. However, if I apply that here in the United States, I would have to first take some exception or analysis of our so called democratically elected representatives who then pass laws that fall outside of their constituents wishes or majority. Rule of law should inherently be law for the people not against the people even though in some cases they are there to protect people from people so to speak. I dont' think rule of law should ever be written in stone and should be subject to people's input, criticism, debate and discussion, while being updated and applicable to the times while not being used to curtail the freedoms of the general public. Such as the indefinite detention issues raised by the US NDAA act. If we always swallow the rule of law without appropriate room for civil dissent and discussion, we will quickly find ourselves surrounded by a fence of fascism with not only no room for dissent but harsh penalties for doing so. That begins to impinge on our rights to freedom of speech as the law or its penalties are unevenly applied and make citizens fearful to express themselves. Sorry--long and complex and I am surely no expert. This would be a good topic questions for another conversation starter to be sure! Thanks for bringing it up Don and Mitch.
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        May 25 2012: Thanks Barbara,
        I appreciate your analysis - I had my own ideas, but wanted to get perspective - from both you and Don (since the quote is from Don's link)
        I think it high-lights a large part of the issue of this thread. It's good because it covers both the content, and the context of rules, representation and discression.
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        May 25 2012: Hi Don,

        Many thanks - I appreciate your well considered reply.
        I asked because, in the past, I have had a great belief in the rule of law, but now I'm not so sure.
        The quote is, to me. clearly "spin" .. but it has seeds of real concern in it. I was not ready to discard the sentiment, but undersatnd what is the real motivation of the writer.
        Maybe, if the system is not shown to represent the public, then .. surely it should be fixed before it falls apart? I would dearly love to return my full support to the rule of law.
        I too feel something approaching, but the storm of words covers it. I try to retreat into science, but there it is again.
        In this thread, it is a bit lke the demonstrations in Canada - difference being that TED are not elected .. and the answer must be in how serious they are to give representation to the subscriber.
        In my country, if I have a question about the way my representative is representing me, I write directly to ask. I am always replied - whether I agree or not, and sometimes I am peasantly surprised. I will sign pettitions and such public demonstrations only as a second resort.
        But there seems a deep bifurcation between the reality of government and the awareness of issues in the comunity. My most urgent lobby is to get psych resources into the detention camps holding refugees. A couple of programs were started, but not much result is forthcoming. And in the media, it is all about assuming the worst of refugees and how they can be punished and villified more. So much so, that it becomes a major policy vote-winner to hurt these defenceless people more.
        Indeed - clobber over heal. Many of the comments under today's talk on bad laws underscores this .. this brings tears to my heart..
        My best best regards to you Don.
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        May 24 2012: If you would like to continue the discussion without taking up the people's time here about my or your style of posting here is my email. bbbell2@uncg.edu
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      May 24 2012: I realize this is somewhat ironic, given the topic under discussion, but we still need to follow the Terms of Use and refrain from personal insults, including calling each other censors and trolls. Sorry!

    • May 25 2012: @Barbara Bearden: Linking to all those reference sites on the meaning of "censorship" is pointless here. Reason: TED still has some rights to the video, as they were the ones who produced it. It is still available on Youtube. TED could have taken a hard stance against it, and either 1. not have posted the video in the first place or 2. (if they did not post it themselves) have it pulled from Youtube for copyright violations. Instead, Chris links to it on his blog.

      We have all seen the talk, and we may all watch it again, as many times as we wish, from wherever we are. TED is not doing anything to stop us from doing so. How is it censorship?
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        May 25 2012: I would beg to differ John, nothing is pointless in the pursuit of learning or discussion.

        I simply posted the definitions I found on several cites with the website link so one could go and view the article in its entirety and decide for themselves or to help add to the discussion of whether or not people feel it is censorship of a kind--there are many example of private censorship if you read the articles as well as others--as this part of the topic is a recurring theme with other posters as well. I did not add comment to the post to let them stand as they are written for people to read and continue the expanded topic of what is censorship in this light or not, along with the broader economic topics at play. Certainly you are entitled to your opinion but have you read them? The conversation was extended by TED so obviously they feel there is some point as well to the discussions.

        By all means add your points as to why you don't think it is censorship or how you feel about them not posting it or the merits of the economic points, Nothing is pointless--that is why we are here in the first place.

        Thank you.
        • May 25 2012: Sure. I can go into details of whether or not it was pointless. But before that, do you agree that this was not a case of censorship?
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        May 25 2012: John, again with all due respect, I was not asking you to go into whether it was pointless. That is your opinion about my post. Fine but I disagree with you and am not going to defend the posting, it stands on its own without comment for discussion. Why don't you go read them in the entirety and then post on why you feel this is not a case of censorship be it personal or corporate under some of those definitions. Then read through the entire thread to see what all of have said and you will likely find your answers there. After you have posted your thoughts about the issues we are discussing with out making personal remarks about the "value" of a posting, I would love to reply to your answers with discussions on our thoughts and opinions in a respectful manner. Until then...have a great weekend.
        • May 26 2012: I guess you misunderstood. I made no personal remarks. I made no value judgments either. I did make a judgment about its aptness... after I read the comments.

          I gave my reason already: We have all seen the talk, and we may all watch it again, as many times as we wish, from wherever we are. TED is not doing anything to stop us from doing so. How is it censorship?
  • May 28 2012: A petition, calling for ted to post Nick Hanauer's Talk.

    You may sign it here:
  • May 24 2012: TED should post the Nick Hanauer talk. Why the censorship?
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      TED 10+

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      May 24 2012: Hi Gilbert, There is no censorship. Please read Chris Anderson's response to this question on his blog: http://tedchris.posterous.com
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        May 24 2012: I quote from an article posted on Salon: "Because TED is for, and by, unbelievably rich people, they tiptoe around questions of the justness of a society that rewards TED attendees so much for what usually amounts to a series of lucky breaks. Anderson says he declined to promote the Hanauer talk because it was “mediocre” (that has never once stopped TED before, but we needn’t get too deep into that)but an email from Anderson to Hanauer on the decision was more a critique of Hanauer’s thesis than a criticism of his performance.

        Anderson cited, specifically, his concern that “a lot of business managers and entrepreneurs would feel insulted” by the argument that multimillionaire executives hire more employees only as a “last resort.”

        (The entire recent history of the fixation on short-term returns, obsession with “efficiency,” and “streamlining” of most American corporations escaped the notice of Mr. Anderson, apparently.) I can’t imagine this line-by-line response to all the points raised in a TED Talk happening for an “expert” on any subject other than the general uselessness and self-importance of self-proclaimed millionaire “job creators.” by ALEX PAREENE found @
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        May 24 2012: With all due respect: Given the above--that Mr. Anderson reportedly told Mr. Hanauer in an email his concerns--see above-- and my posts about what constitutes censorship from various sources (which is a broad and very charged label, I agree) and all the posts here, how can you further defend this position without more comment than just referring to his post over and over again. I think have all read it and it just does not really answers the questions still being discussed here. To continue to not allow the video--despite some media outlets saying it has been posted I cannot find it--is TED's right but it certainly is our right to question this as to the answers he gave for why it was not posted. The more we discuss, the more we confer, the more we read outside of TED about this topic, the more not posting it smacks of personal censorship in the form of withholding information such as the quote above, "In Athens, where democracy first emerged, censorship was well known as a means of enforcing the prevailing orthodoxy."

        The prevailing orthodoxy does not want these myths drug into the light of day for inspection and dialogue by the very masses they entomb.

        Does this mean TED is part of the prevailing orthodoxy?

        I think we all agree that it was not "too political" but rather offended the prevailing orthodoxy.
  • May 17 2012: I say we do something about this. I propose that we at least start a petition, demanding that this talk be published.

    And spread the word with the ted community.

    Is anyone with me (Brian)?
  • May 30 2012: My tuppence ha'penny (or two cents as you might say): Love the fact that the audience response was 'mediocre' so at least I now know that all those apparent standing ovations which seem to be given at Ted talks like this one are actually a scramble for the toilet.
    The talk in question has been described as 'pointless' and 'partisan'. The last talk I watched on Ted was a nice old man demonstrating in real time how to use less paper towel. I suspect this could also be described as mediocre and pointless and imagine that if your livelihood involved the manufacture, distribution or marketing of paper towels it might also appear partisan.
    Ted, do please feel free by all means to practise quality control. Note, however, this doesn't have to be after the event. It could begin with the invitation to a speaker to expand on a topic they are known for, and might continue right up to a rehearsal preview of the talk in question.
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    May 26 2012: Others have given good reason why Nick Hanauer's talk is not posted on TED. All can judge the respect of Mr. Hanuaer's argument at:


    I would bet a majority would find Mr. Hanuaer's lecture of interest. How many agree with him and the level of agreement will vary by individual, ideology, religion, and locality. A media has the right to ban the visibility of a thought if the thought is contrary to the purpose of the media. TED has a financial purpose. What individuals have to say in this media can conflict with TED's purpose and potential for financial gain.

    The question should not be if Mr. Hanauer was censured and removed from TED's media, the question is what kind of media would bring demographic visibility to an argument revered by some and held in contempt by others? Mr. Hanauer's lecture may be worthy of the final draft, though someone else's argument may be measured as offensive because it lacks respect, it is incomplete, it has not been properly reviewed, the collateral effects are discounted, and/or it is factually incorrect. Could a new media provide opportunity and feedback to an author to improve an argument?

    Could there be a true public media? A media for the public and by the public. A media where quality and demographic visibility is determined from the measurement of the participants. A media where feedback motivates an author to improve the quality and respect for the argument. Is the thought posed in the following TED idea possible?

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      May 26 2012: who on earth ever said that the talk would be offensive?
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        May 26 2012: I suggest a more plausible reason Mr. Hanauer's lecture is not posted is because it is an attack against some financial contributors. The majority of TED viewers would "not" be threatened or find Mr. Hanauer's argument offensive. The majority would likely measure the lecture higher than mediocre.

        My argument is whether a media could be developed removed from the distraction of financial gain. Whether computer algorithms could utilize public measurement to steer who, when, where, and how an argument acquires visibility. Could such a media steer individuals to topics where contribution evolves into quality, coherency, respect, and solution instead of chaos, mayhem, disrespect, ignorance, bigotry, greed, as well as the other attributes of immoral behaviour.

        Mr. Hanauer identified what he saw as a problem. Hiding that thought reduces visibility to connect those wishing to participate in the solution. Maybe a new media should examine how to attract individuals willing to build a thought instead of tear it down.


        To answer Mr. Pintér query on "what argument do I have for publishing a mediocre and partisan talk?" Mediocre is a subjective measurement with little intellectual insight. TED is worthy of a better response. Here are my suggestions;

        What is the Do Good Gauge?

        A Better Way for Political Discourse

        This I Believe

        Plus the ability for readers to tag relative association to an author's argument and for the public to gauge that tag from highly relative and supportive to highly relative but counter supportive. Examples include quotations, fallacy, constitutionality, and prior legal decisions.

        This idea is copyrighted in the Creative Commons by a Share-Alike license. I hope those interested will keep me in mind
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          May 26 2012: nobody finds it offensive or threatening.

          the reasons given were: mediocre and partisan. not offensive.

          now what arguments do you have for publishing a mediocre and partisan talk?
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    May 22 2012: Hanauer:' We became enthralled with the view that wealth trickled down from the top and that if you poured money into rich people, sort of like an ingredient, prosperity and jobs would squirt out of them like donuts.

    And if you understand economies in the 19th century way that view is plausible and I think a lot of people accepted it.

    And look, lots of rich people accepted it because it's a super convenient thing to accept, right? What a great story that the less taxes I pay, the better off everyone else will be. This is a marvelously self-justifying viewpoint, but at the end of the day it hasn't worked.

    It's kind of been a catastrophe for everybody in the country except people like me and I think it's time for us all to sort of look up and reexamine these assumptions and go another way.'
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      May 23 2012: Tax is one thing. It is usually circumvented by operating living expenses within the corporate shelter - and then using the corporate shelter to attract subsidy from public funding.
      No one has mentioned the elephant in the room - it is more responsible for income disparity than unballanced taxation - it is usury, and it gobbles up more than half of every dollar earned or spent.
      It has mandated the dangerous practice of fiat currency and thrives on fractional lending - it demands unsustainable artificial exponential growth.

      I say - shoot the damn elephant before you stomp on the rats.
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        May 23 2012: Now you're talking Mitch! Where have you been?
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          May 23 2012: I have my own understanding of economy - and politics.

          The irony is that no rule is sufficient beyond the frame of its casting. It is good for the moment, and then it is obsolete.

          Everyone (including me) think they have nailed it - and we all go out to promote our vision. But it's not vision.

          Life is dynamic. it is the rule of "Maya" that all things percieved are wrong.

          The best we can do is adapt - and to do it we must treat our insights as past artifacts .. the older they get .. the less true they become - reality marches on .. we can do more than follow.

          I get stuck .. we all get stuck.

          This is why the great prophets preach forgiveness. Let us all do the best we can - that is more than enough.

          (edit: Joanne, I really should not even be spending time here in the TED forums .. I have no idea why I am so attracted. I should be in my workshop persuing my temporal mandate - to provide for me and mine. ANd yet, I cannot turn away. Perhaps this is a social meme that requires sustinence - I'm OK with that, perhaps it is a new form of life that we should promote as fathers and mothers? But the science tells me that this is no more than an adiction. And .. to what purpose does this adiction work? Perhaps as a venue for me and you to deliver our secret value? maybe, maybe not. There is something - I cannot see clearly enough beyond my desire to give. DOes that make me human? Maybe .. maybe not ..maybe the human I desire to be? If so .. well, at least I am not alone)
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        May 28 2012: Yes I have been accused of being a TED addict too. I too sometimes even enjoy a conversation when I should be doing other things...what can I say? I am weak and human. On the other hand, I have learnt a great deal, enjoyed discussing things I never normally get to talk about among my regular circle of friends, and I have met some wonderful, really wonderful people.

        In these times, we need hope. TED brings a sense of hope.
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      May 25 2012: Joanne! We need you back in the discussion to give us some balance! :)
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        May 28 2012: Hi Barbara. The question; whether or not removing the talk from TED was an act of censorship or not, rests on when and why the talk was posted on Youtube. This may have been done as a conciliatory measure, i.e damage control. If so, I applaud this but the talk should still be aired on TED. This is what we expect from our forum. This would be democratic and it would restore faith. I ask for this again.
  • May 21 2012: Chris Anderson (TED talk curator) wrote in his blog that Hanauer, "included a number of arguments that were unconvincing." Which arguments and in what way were they unconvincing? Also, how was it "explicitly partisan"?

    I'm seeking to understand.
  • May 17 2012: Censoring the important issues is not a civil way to do things. How much can you respect a company, which is supposed to bring up big questions, while censoring the most essential ones?

    Actually this is not the only case, There are many controversial TEDx speeches, which will not get to the "mainstream", though so many people have watched them. And it's virtually impossible to get them under translation.

    It's all about the money. TED is just a platform for certain areas of society. After these incidents, my respect for the whole money-driven company has gone down the drain. Keep the people misinformed, there are other choises too.
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      May 23 2012: Doing my slow best Don - and I thank you (once again).

      I still see a need to take the unpopular stance sometimes - if only to be proved wrong.
      I am sympathetic to the TED dilema, having been in it a time or 2.
      The dynamics of the politic is worth exploring for all concerned. Even to my detriment - the net value is not lost. .. a lesson indeed.
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    May 20 2012: Of course TED has a policy governing content. How could they not? If they exercise their right to not post something they must be prepared for the robust feedback which may follow. If they cannot justify their decision then a new dilemma arises. This is the best place on the internet for free-exchange of decent, respectful, and appropriate ideas because TED exercises control. If that control is unpopular or prejudicial then they will need to explain themselves.
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      May 20 2012: Very well said.
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      May 21 2012: HI Edward,

      Yes, I think TED was blind-sided by this and have not handled it as well as they might have.
      I agree that they should be a litte more explicit about their policy.

      That said, it remains that no matter how explicit any policy is framed, there will always be borderline decisions that can not cleanly fit into policy, and subjective factors will rule to the safe side of the line - and these will turn out right or wrong only after time has unfolded.

      Perhaps this issue will cause some revision .. but it cannot be published. Hanauer has made sure of that.
      Maybe TED will grow through the experience, but they cannot go beyond hardenning what policies they already have as a defensive measure. THey are bound to publish no more than what has already been stated. And now they will just sit tight and wait for teh novelty to fade.

      THeir only other alternative is go on the extreme offensive and drown Hanauer and everyone else criticising them in lawyers, but that's not their style.
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        May 21 2012: TED.com is funded by folks who have the desire and the mean$ to attend live conferences. Whatever appeals to those patrons is what site administrators will pursue and encourage. Whatever those patrons dislike will be discouraged and possibly banned. The Golden Rule says those who have the GOLD make the RULES. TED Conversations is a gift to us from those patrons and sponsors. They encourage the free spreading of ideas they deem worthy. They can take their marbles and leave if they want and we can go back to the seedy forums in the back alleys of the internet. I hope they choose to clarify this issue and put to rest any challenges of their integrity.
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          May 21 2012: And there lies the rub.

          A few good philosophers identify what you know .. and what you know that others know. The emperor's naked clothes yes?

          THe power of TED is in what the sponsors do not tell them.. That is not an easy road. They must exist in the space between the doubt.

          This is the nature of gold.

          We creep around a sleeping tiger.
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        May 21 2012: please read Chris Anderson's response to this question on his blog: http://tedchris.posterous.com
        If you're interested in TEDTalks on income inequality, start with this playlist of talks and blog posts:
        Thank you!
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      May 21 2012: Before posting misleading comments about misunderstood issue, please read Chris Anderson's response to this question on his blog: http://tedchris.posterous.com
      If you're interested in TEDTalks on income inequality, start with this playlist of talks and blog posts:
      Thank you!
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        May 21 2012: I have now read Mr. Anderson's explanation of this issue. It helped greatly and I apologize for not reading it sooner. Perhaps a brief explanation of my reluctance to read it will be helpful going forward. When my house is burning my sole concern is to save what means the most to me. If the Hanauer issue is the fire, the Anderson post was viewed by me as, most probably, a safety memo about fire safety in the home which I might read later, but right now let's get the fire out! Right or wrong I think many folks see it that way. TED should post the facts under a bold banner identifying it as a solution (extinguish the fire), not a defense argument (fire safety memo). TED chose to not post the talk on the basis that it was "not truly special"; that it was "needlessly partisan"; and that it was "unconvincing". Those are good reasons to not post it. I need to know that if someone produced the same content in a convincing, non-partisan, truly special talk you would post it.Thank you.
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          TED 10+

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          May 22 2012: Thank You, Edward for reading Chris Anderson's response. Indeed we have several talks on income equality, already posted on TED.com. You can see the list here: http://blog.ted.com/2012/05/17/playlist-the-roots-and-effects-of-income-equality/
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          May 22 2012: I disagree Edward. I read a transcript of the talk. Its uplifting. Conversely I found Chris's response defensive and unconvincing.

          '•Anderson previously stated "But I think a lot of business managers and entrepreneurs would feel insulted by that statement as given." This makes it clear that he wasn't as much concerned about the quality of Hanauer's argument as he was about how his friends would react to the talk.

          •As cited in the National Journal article: "TED officials told Hanauer initially they were eager to distribute it. 'I want to put this talk out into the world!' one of them wrote him in an e-mail in late April. But early this month they changed course, telling Hanauer that his remarks were too 'political' and too controversial for posting." The video was planned to be posted and it was Anderson who shut it down.

          •The idea that TED doesn't post controversial or political videos is also not true. "Other TED talks posted online veer sharply into controversial and political territory, including NASA scientist James Hansen comparing climate change to an asteroid barreling toward Earth, and philanthropist Melinda Gates pushing for more access to contraception in the developing world."

          •At several points in the ongoing discussion, Anderson suggests that Hanauer's talk is either based on bad logic or that its conclusions don't make sense. He doesn't offer any evidence to back up the claim, though, and a view of the talk makes it seem quite clear that the conclusions Hanauer reaches are not only pretty solid and backed by evidence, but so obvious as to border on common sense.'
  • May 20 2012: I agree with Chris Anderson that a number of claims made by Mr. Hanauer could be challenged as untrue. However, the talk rings true. It captures something that has been chafing me for some time now.

    The right-wing politicians and media outlets that lean right have increasingly adopted a new language to describe the rich. They are job creators. Progressive taxation is bad because it invariably punishes job-creators, and thus job creation. Mr. Hanauer's talk is the first I've heard that demolishes the myth. And, he executes it all in five minutes. That is astounding.

    Mr. Hanauer emphasises the importance of customers for job creation, but he does not suggest that we should now start calling customers job creators. That would be foolish. Mr. Hanauer also does not suggest customers be given special previleges for their role in the job creation cycle. All he is saying (as I understand it), and this I approve whole-heartedly, is that the rich have been accorded tax benefits that has contributed to rising inequality, which hurts everyone, rich and poor alike, from business perspective.

    Prof. Wilkinson showed us why inequality could be bad for society; Mr. Hanauer has illustrated why it is bad for business, as well.
    • May 20 2012: Hmm... I have managed to view the talk elsewhere, and I am really curious what claims you think were even subject to debate. He made it quite clear which parts represented his opinions and most of his research was well known to me. I'll have to reread Chris Anderson's comments, but they struck me quite unfavorably. I think that TED has been captured by the big money donors. That actually makes me believe this is clearly censorship and suspect that it's cowardice, too.

      For what it is worth, I think we could do better by using donation models similar to Kickstarter. I actually proposed something similar called "reverse auction charity shares" for small donors before I ever heard of Kickstarter, but I haven't been in a position to implement my version. I do think Kickstarter is mostly good, but I think it needs more support for project management, both in preparing the project proposals and in evaluating them afterwards.
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      May 19 2012: Hi Varian,
      To get the true story, you can read Chris Anderson's response on his blog: tedchris.posterous.com

      Thank you.
  • May 17 2012: "I can't speak for anyone else, but I see the decision as an act of cowardice reflecting on the organization as a whole."

    You can speak for me as one.

    I agree fully with you, Brian.

    (P.S. here's the article, regarding the issue posted on Yahoo: http://news.yahoo.com/income-inequality-apparently-too-touchy-subject-ted-205812322.html)
  • May 17 2012: I'm seeding the meme about how nice it would be nice to hear this recorded as a podcast or in a Youtube video.

    I am disconcerted that something like this would not be released to the public. Since discovering TED I have eaten many meals to a TED talk because I really enjoy the data driven ideas and innovation. This is bad for the freedom of ideas. I recommend a talk about the puppetry of our political system and the need for systematic change to make it less of an endorsement for a party and more about change. Both parties could then relate to "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and everyone would go home happily ever after everything got fixed.
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      May 29 2012: How do you motivate participation in ideas? It could be done. Though it is too easy to distract with ignorance, fear, bias, chaos, and mayhem. You point out three focal points of analysis. What form of media could steer analysis in the direction of solution or betterment?

      Internet technology will inevitably allow more to participate in social topics. Whether the discussion brings vision to a higher good is to be questioned.

      Thank you Mr. Wesley for the quotations. I've been collecting them for a tool of association. A tool allowing readers to tag an author's thought from a post, essay, or thesis. Once the tag is made future readers can grade the tag from highly relative and supportive to highly relative and counter supportive. The tool is still in the idea phase.


      iGoogle Do Good Gauge Quote Randomizer
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    May 24 2012: Jonathan Smart +2Reply
    1 day ago: A petition, calling for ted to post Nick Hanauer's Talk.

    You may sign it here:
  • May 22 2012: A petition, calling for ted to post Nick Hanauer's Talk.

    You may sign it here:
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    May 21 2012: I agree. Why not post the Nick Hanauer talk and let the public decide?

    I, like many other avid TED fans, am perplexed by the decision not to show the Nick Hanauer talk on ted.com. Link to YouTube video for those who haven't seen it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bBx2Y5HhplI Why censor it? Why not put it out there and let the community decide if it's an "idea worth spreading." What's interesting is the naiveté that TED and Chris Anderson demonstrate by not doing so. In an era of social media and online engagement such as now, acting like broadcasters and media folks of the past who control the spread of ideas via their narrow agendas, channels and mediums is just silly. And, perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought TED Talks were meant to spur discussion and debate, as well as inspiration. And, it looks like he got a standing ovation from most of the room present when the talk was recorded. I'm confused.

    And, ironically, this talk could likely end up becoming one of the most-watched talks *ever* precisely because of its having been censored. It's already nearing half a million on YouTube and spawned this on time.com:
    and there is a change.org petition (that I just signed) here: http://www.change.org/petitions/ted-talks-publish-nick-hanauer-s-ted-talk.

    Here's to hoping you sort this out sooner rather than later, TED.
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      TED 10+

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      May 22 2012: Hi Chris,
      please read Chris Anderson's response to this question on his blog: http://tedchris.posterous.com
      If you're interested in TEDTalks on income inequality, start with this playlist of talks and blog posts:
      Thank you!
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        May 22 2012: Thanks, TED Conversations Admin! That's helpful. IMHO, Hanauer's talk belongs on that page. But, you guys run the show. Incidentally, I wasn't aware that all TED Talks weren't archived somewhere on the site. Good to know. I can understand the reasoning behind not featuring a particular talk or one over another but any reason not to archive them all and let the world browse these ideas and decide for themselves which ideas are worth spreading?

        Cheers (and still a diehard TED fan),
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          May 23 2012: Hi Chris,

          TED via Chris Anderson has conceded that the redacted talks should all be posted at arm's length in an archive should anyone be motivated to look.

          THis seems to me as a very major concession without actually losing political advantage.

          And what is this thread? THis thread is a study in politics - it has not been censored. If TED had been unresponsive didacts, this thread would have been long gone.

          What does that tell you?

          What can you tell by the action of admins repeatedly spending their time to post thier stallwart message - a repetition .. like posts in a rampart .. a fence of defiance.

          Have you gotten their message yet?'

          I have been accused of being a habitual "nasty" guy .. but there is good reason for that in a world that still cannot discern between value and advantage. So be it - my message is to be even more circumspect - but never lose the passion. Hey - learn from the masters (those better than me)?

          I will allow myself to be nailed on every man's cross until they realise that crosses are like full-stops. Statement is made - so what? It does not stop anything - except the guy who errected the cross.

          Who in this is trying to crucify who?

          And what do you think/feel about that?
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      May 22 2012: ...and from that Time article by Dave Futrell you shared with us, the parting sentence states:

      "Whatever your stand on the issue, this is certainly a topic worth debating. You would think that TED would want to be part of the conversation." --that is the real crux of the matter as it stand now.

      Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/05/18/was-nick-hanauers-ted-talk-on-income-inequality-too-rich-for-rich-people/#ixzz1vZzOUHEB
      • May 22 2012: Well it's good that the video is available to watch. Now the next step is to get it posted in ted.
  • May 21 2012: To the TED Conversations Admin; I appreciate your prompt response, thank you. However, just because two conversations have duplicate subject matter does mean that they are duplicate conversations. The other thread had some provocative thoughts and ideas, which is what I thought TED was supposed to be about. Perhaps I'm mistaken. I understand that TED is a private company and reserves the right to publish what it wants, sometimes what you may have the right to do is not always the right thing to do.

    In the original video by Mr. Hanauer, I understand that TED deleted it because they felt that it wasn't a very good talk and they wanted uphold standards. That's a little disingenuous when in the video Hanauer got several laughs and a standing ovation from the audience. The crowed present during the talk obviously disagreed with the TED hierarchy. This leaves us who are paying attention to this act of censorship, as TED having an agenda as well, or just being a tool to their benefactors. I leave it to you to decide which.
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      May 21 2012: Hi again Alex,

      It's really just a housekeeping issue. We get a lot of "duplicate" conversation topics (not just on this subject), and we need to keep them consolidated if we're going to have any real conversations around them. Otherwise it gets super fragmented. What we can do in the future is be better about "moving" these comments to the original conversation before removing the duplicate, something that we haven't had a good technical handle on until recently.

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    May 19 2012: I read Chris Anderson response and I can't honestly believe that partisan politics had anything to do with choosing this speech to not be posted. Richard Wilkinson's : How economic inequality harms societies, is one of my favorite TED talks, I've posted it on social networking and actually brought friends and family into the TED talk through that video. Nick Hanauer's speech was no more controversial than Wilkinson's excellent talk on income disparity and inequality in relation to happiness and satisfaction of a population. Though it was similar in nature, the shorter length of Hanauer's talk makes it preferable for posting on social media, and the issue of taxation and jobs isn't really the focus of Wilkinson's talk, though Hanauer covers those issues excellently. And a mediocre response? I watched the talk, which Chris Anderson linked on youtube ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5HhplI&feature=youtu.be ), there was an awful lot of applause for an audience who felt "eh" about the way the content was presented. Whether this was censorship, choosing to post less controversial talks, or choosing higher quality talks is debatable I suppose, but at this point why not post it to the site and let people choose for themselves. I'm not trying to say that TED should have to get bullied into posting talks of people who try to smear it's name to the mainstream media when they feel their talks were censored, but now you have a huge amount of people discovering TED in a biased negative way as a, "pseudo-progressive media outlet that censors the poor in favor of the wealthy like nearly every other media organization". I'm not saying that's what TED is at all, please understand this, it's probably my favorite website, fills my entire netflix watched recently, and is always one of my top five apps on kindle. I'm just concerned that this story will skew public perception of the majority to that belief.
  • May 19 2012: I've listened to the talk and I've read Chris Anderson's response to criticism on Posterous. Anderson claims: "The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue. But it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance." Frankly, I'm amazed at the last two sentences. Hanauer's main thesis, that the middle class, not "the rich," create jobs by demanding products and services is so obvious that I can't imagine it being considered "explicitly partisan" or "unconvincing." As a business consultant for more than 30 years, I can personally attest to the fact that hiring people is ALWAYS the last resort for companies. In fact, they've paid me and the firms I've worked for millions of dollars to develop processes and systems that allowed them to produce more goods and services with the same or fewer employees. NO business or businessman "creates" more jobs than they absolutely must, and the overwhelming reason they must is to respond to increasing demand. It's just obvious to anyone who's been in business. So it's the people who buy things, not the business owners, who create jobs. The corollary is that the people who buy the most things per capita is the middle class, not the rich. So we need to encourage the stability and health of the middle class if we want to create jobs. And it's just obvious again, that people able to buy things is good for them, it's good for the businesses they buy them from, and it's good for the owners of those businesses -- "the rich." It's Economics 101.

    So I'm left to wonder if a TED speaker gave a speech on how evolution works. Would he/she be considered "partisan," since so many fundamentalists believe in creationism? Would he/she be considered not worth publishing because fundamentalists in the audience weren't convinced? Does TED allow religion to triumph over fact? Answer that, Mr. Anderson!
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      May 20 2012: I agree with your post and the term "explicitly partisan" goes a stretch further beyond plain partisan. What is partisan about gaining a truth that everyone in the general economic world that we see on TV or the internet seems to be trying to discredit or withhold from the average guy trying to figure this mess out. This smoke and mirrors game is the very thing that Mr. Hanauer is speaking of and furthers the entrenched myth by calling it partisan. Call it many other things, and you can still decide not to post it but "explicitly partisan"? Seriously. Your example of evolution if a perfect choice to illustrate the partisanship in their choice. Let's see what they chose to post instead! My real beef now is that viewers are clamoring for this to be posted and if that is not an idea worth spreading...what is?
  • May 19 2012: I did read it. It wasn't much of an explanation. TED is quite relevant, it was emotional to say it isn't. But I'm still disappointed with Chris Anderson. I didn't see anything political with Hanauer's talk. He simply states an economic reality; industry is dependent upon consumers buying products... consumers are what creates jobs, and if the consumers don't have jobs and money then the economy falls apart. It's an economic ecosystem. It's a better strategy to support the middle class with tax breaks than the upper class, but politics isn't based in reason. THAT is the point Hanauer is pointing out. It's a simple message that needs to be said again and again until somebody starts to believe it.
  • May 18 2012: I have always considered TED to be an open marketplace of ideas. I wasn't aware that the boundaries of this marketplace were so narrow as to exclude ideas which are regarded as "political." I can understand why TED would spurn talks which are overtly partisan. However, there's a huge difference between the partisan and the political.The fact that a particular idea has more adherants in one political party than another does not convert an open discussion of the idea into a partisan discourse. The dialogue taking place between TED's Translator, Krisztian, and Sarah Wolf demonstrates that Mr. Hanouer's thesis is likely to provoke an exchange of views which is not partisan in nature. TED should post the Talk!