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UNC Politics, Philosophy and Economics Society discusses ethics of affluence

PPE Movie
The UNC Politics, Philosophy and Economics society are discussing the ethics of affluence through a screening of "The Queen of Versailles." Photo courtesy of Yiran Hua.

The UNC Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Society will host a screening of "The Queen of Versailles" and discuss its relation to the ethics of affluence Thursday at 6 p.m. in Caldwell Hall, room 103.

The documentary follows a wealthy family attempting to build America’s largest house, then losing their fortune in the 2008 financial crisis. 

Avra Janz, a first-year public policy student, chose the film for a specific reason. She believes that the film showcases the three branches of the club and gives viewers a personal example to relate the underlying issues to. 

“Some people might argue that it’s immoral to have money while other people are starving,” Janz said. “The movie makes the issue very real.”

After viewing the film, Tamara Fakhoury will guide a discussion about its themes. Fakhoury, who is working toward her Ph.D. in philosophy, won one of UNC’s Tanner Graduate Student Teaching Awards in 2016. 

Yiran Hua, a senior and the society’s president, said Fakhoury’s expertise aligns well with the topics the club wants to discuss. 

“Having somebody who is well-versed and can speak to all the points is important because not everyone is a philosophy major,”  said Tiffiny Wolf, a junior majoring in economics and a member of the PPE society. 

The club members emphasize they want people thinking about their own choices without prescribing them specific answers. Hua sees the ethics of affluence as a study of what true equality means, while Wolf views the topic more as a discussion about equality.

“We don’t want to enforce a moral view, but ignite a discussion,” Hua said. “By putting it in a discussion form, we are trying to bridge people’s different opinions.”

This semester, the PPE society officially re-registered with the university after several years of inactivity. For now, the society will focus on hosting small events. This not only enables people to try the club out, but it also serves as a way to find what type of structure will work best for future events. 

Janz participates in the society because she wants to help plan these events. Even though she hasn’t firmly decided what she wants to do for a career, she enjoys receiving exposure to fields of study not common in high schools. 

Overall, the society wants to encourage people to spend time reflecting on important issues. Wolf said she wants people engaging with the community at the university in order to be part of a larger discussion. 

“I hope it’s just not about pizza,” Wolf said. “(It’s about) developing critical thinking inherent to everything.” 


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