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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 9, 2006

Overwork Expert De Graaf To Speak On New Economy Oct. 23 At UI

Documentarian John de Graaf will discuss a new model for evaluating the American economy Monday, Oct. 23 at the University of Iowa. His lecture, "What's the Economy for, Anyway?" will begin at 7 p.m. in Shambaugh Auditorium at the Main Library. It is free and open to the public.

The event will bring to light what de Graaf calls "a campaign for the common good," to engage Americans in a new discussion about quality of life and create a different context for evaluating the success or failure of U.S. economic policies.

De Graaf is the national coordinator of Take Back Your Time Day, an annual event scheduled for Oct. 24, ( and a frequent speaker on issues of overwork and over-consumption in America. He is the co-author of the best-selling "Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic" (Berrett-Koehler, 2001).

Citing information from entities such as the National Institutes of Health, which found that "low-income citizens of the United Kingdom were as healthy as rich Americans and that nearly twice as many Americans suffer from chronic illnesses" de Graaf is building an effort utilizing books, public forums and partnerships with organizations, among other endeavors, to change the way Americans think about their economy.

"The point of all this is not simply to change this or that specific policy but to create a different thought context by which we might begin to change the entire trend toward privatization and inequality," he said. "The point is to show that current 'common sense' about economics is non-sense if our goal is a better quality of life that is sustainable over the long run."

A video production veteran, de Graaf has spent 23 years with KCTS-TV, a Public Broadcasting Service affiliate in Seattle, and more than 15 of his programs have aired prime time nationally for PBS. He also has produced popular PBS specials including "Running Out of Time" an examination of overwork and time pressure in America, and "Affluenza" a humorous critique of American consumerism.

De Graaf's visit to the UI is sponsored by the UI Leisure Studies Program, part of the Division of Interdisciplinary Programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: David Gould, 319.384.3529,; Writer: Colin Burke