Brian Alexander

Speech Topics

What makes a community? Whether we’re talking about a small town, a state, a nation, or the world, “community” implies a set of shared values, what we often call “the social contract.” But America’s social contract has been severely damaged by a number of forces acting over the past generation and a half. For his book, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town, Brian Alexander took a deep dive into the story of one small Midwest community, an avatar for many American towns. In this presentation, Brian informs listeners about the history of Lancaster, Ohio, the rise of the post New Deal Town, and how the post-1980 change in American values created such distress in the “all-American town.” His audience will learn about government policies, financial practices, and corporate dealing that actually encourage destruction of communities.

Capitalism is in a crisis. Many people have come to believe that it no longer works for them. This loss of faith has already had serious repercussions, as the 2016 election proved, and as populist revolts around the western world continue to demonstrate. So what happened? And how can faith be restored? Brian Alexander will walk his audience through some little known history of the evolution of American capitalism and business, showing with vivid examples how abuses led to regulations and reforms that helped create the most prosperous era in the history of any nation. Then he will argue for a return to common sense regulation, a new New Deal that, contrary to fears, could actually save capitalism from its worst excesses.

Tales from addicts and dealers, treatment and punishment. Over 50,000 Americans are likely to die from overdoses this year, most of them from ODs of heroin, prescription opiates and exotic synthetics like fentanyl. Opiate addiction and death has become a national epidemic, but is especially prevalent in areas hard-hit by economic disruption. How did the pharmaceutical industry help create the epidemic? How might that same industry cash in on it now? What do addicts say about how they became addicts and what reasons do they give? Most importantly, what do about this scourge? Brian Alexander spent months with both addicts and dealers. The current U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has advocated a return to the ways of the 1990s drug wars. Brian argues that there’s a better way.


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BRIAN ALEXANDER has written for many magazines and newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Science, Outside, and Esquire. He spent five years as Glamour magazine’s Jake columnist, then became a contributing editor there. He was also a contributing editor at Wired, covering biotechnology. Brian is currently a regular contributor to The Atlantic, and he continues to contribute regularly to

He is the author of several books, including Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town (2017).

Brian was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and has been recognized by the John Bartlow Martin Award for public interest journalism administered by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

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