From NYRB, we’re more unequal than you think: A review essay by Andrew Hacker (and more from TNR). Many researchers have reached a conclusion that turns conventional wisdom on its head: Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. Is expertise about poverty possible in a country where the phenomenon itself is deemed morally perverse? A review of La fin de la pauvrete? Les experts sociaux en guerre contre la pauvrete aux Etats-Unis by Romain Huret. The myth of American productivity: Politicians say we have the most productive workers in the world — they don't know what they're talking about. Making it in America: The story of Standard Motor Products, a family-run manufacturer in Queens, illuminates what it takes to survive in today’s economy — and why the jobs crisis will be so hard to solve. An excerpt from Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and Everyman Elevated America by Daniel J. Flynn. A look at how large U.S. corporations have been the biggest winners of the recession. Lessons for Obama: Gerard Colby on how FDR fended off the 1%’s attacks against his New Deal reforms. A review of Borrow: The American Way of Debt by Louis Hyman.
Kathryn Hendley (Wisconsin): Who Are the Legal Nihilists in Russia? Bill Bowring (London): The Russian Language in Ukraine: Complicit in Genocide, or Victim of State-Building? Olga Kucherenko (St. John's): That’ll Teach’em to Love Their Motherland! Russian Youth Revisit the Battles of World War II. A review of Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union by Conor O’Clery. From The Nation, Stephen Cohen on the Soviet Union's afterlife; and is the world really safer without the USSR? Mikhail Gorbachev wants to know. Gorbachev has turned 80, an occasion for us to reflect, not only about his contribution, but also about what happened to us after he left the Kremlin. From VQR, if a dirty bomb attack ever occurs, the radiological material is apt to come from the land of Chernobyl; the Soviets detonated hundreds of bombs in Kazakhstan in preparation for a nuclear war that never came; Jason Motlagh on surviving the Soviet hangover in Belarus, the former USSR's last dictatorship; and a generation ago, a Soviet dam drained the Aral Sea — can a new dam reclaim it? A review of Mafia State: How One Reporter Became an Enemy of the Brutal New Russia by Luke Harding. The End of Putin: Alexey Navalny on why the Russian protest movement will win.
A new issue of Semantics and Pragmatics is out. From Lo Squaderno, a special issue on Transit/Transience. From Psychology and Society, Kiril Maslov (Tallinn): The Self and the Body: Thinking Dialogically About Disability. From NYRB, can we have a democratic election? Elizabeth Drew wonders. An interview with Nick Maniatis, founder of the pre-eminent David Foster Wallace website, The Howling Fantods. Democracy and the human heart: Paul Berman on Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011. From The Common Review, an enlivening heritage: A review essay on the work of Robert Coles. Mark Leon Goldberg on why it should be no surprise that Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine endorsed Rick Santorum. From Federal Times, an article on three awesome government jobs you have probably never heard of; and a roundup of some of the more exotic items being sold by federal agencies (and part 2). "I'm the victim": The think tank set up by Bjorn Lomborg will close in July unless new sources of income can be found. Joe Mathews on how everyone hates the Think Long Jedi Council — which is why it’s a worthy proposal. A look at 5 historic sex scandals that put Bill Clinton to shame.
From the latest issue of State of Nature, a special section on crime and punishment. Anthony J. Nocella (Hamline): An Overview of the History and Theory of Transformative Justice. Michael S. Pardo (Alabama) and Dennis Patterson (EUI): Neuroscience, Normativity, and Retributivism. Michael M. O'Hear (Marquette): Solving the Good Time Puzzle: Why Following the Rules Should Get You Out of Prison Early. How many innocent people are in prison? The exact number is unknown — but may be 20,000 or more. Free Willy: Should prison inmates have the right to masturbate? A statistics professor says he can predict crime before it occurs. Dangerous Jails: Do deputy gangs inside the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have a free pass to rampage? Across the world, crime is down and in a big way — are violent movies to thank for less real blood and gore? A review of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. The Exile Nation Project is a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies from criminal offenders, family members, and experts revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American criminal justice system.
David Schneiderman (Toronto): A New Global Constitutional Order? D. A. Jeremy Telman (Valparaiso): Law or Politics? Hans Kelsen and the Post-War International Order. Emily Crawford (Sydney): Road to Nowhere? The Future for a Declaration on Fundamental Standards of Humanity. Rather than worry about how we might preserve the utopian status of human rights into the future, we ought to worry about how to rescue utopia from the clutches of human rights. A new issue of UN Chronicle is out. Steven Aiello (WISI): The Principles of UN Peacekeeping: A Lesson in Misguided Priorities. The three evils of global governance: If the UN wants to remain relevant, Ban Ki-Moon might want to look to Brussels for guidance. Has the UN become obsolete? Instead of pressing for UN reform, the task is creating alternative institutions that can fulfill the promise of global democracy. The League of Extraordinarily Bureaucratic Gentlemen: Can DC Comic’s new comic book series make the U.N. look cool — or at least effective? A look at the 6 most ridiculous abuses of diplomatic immunity.
John Hasnas (Georgetown): Reflections on Corporate Moral Responsibility and the Problem Solving Technique of Alexander the Great. The first sexual revolution: Faramerz Dabhoiwala on lust and liberty in the 18th century (and more and more and more). Norman Geras interviews Diane Coyle, author of The Enlightened Economist. From Vanity Fair, David Margolick explores how NPR’s management managed to squander the advantages of the national dole, deep-pocketed donors, a roster of top-notch reporters, and the loyalty of legions of devoted Click and Clack fans. From Sojourners (reg. req.), what will it take to shut down "Satan's marketplace," the global slave trade? Every weapon in the arsenal of nonviolence; and when, as is true today, the richest 10 percent own 85 percent of the world’s wealth and the poorest 50 percent live off the crumbs of 1 percent of the total global wealth, you’ve created a market where slavery will thrive. How do people defend their beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories or the power of crystals? Philosopher Stephen Law has tips for spotting their strategies.
A new issue of Parrhesia is out, including a review of Zizek and Politics: A Critical Introduction by Matthew Sharpe and Geoff Boucher. Kubilay Akman (Bingol): Surrogating Bodies, Embodiment of Theories. Helena Dahlberg investigates human corporeity in Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. From Left Curve, Richard Gilman-Opalsky (Illinois): Upheaval as Philosophy: Eleven Theses on Guy Debord. From Reconstruction, a special issue on multilingual realities in translation. From Political Theology, a review of Democracy in What State? by Giorgio Agamben. From Antipode, Jennifer Fluri (Dartmouth): Capitalizing on Bare Life: Sovereignty, Exception, and Gender Politics; and Zizek on WikiLeaks: S. M. Reid-Henry on two figures and a point of critique. From New Left Review, beyond existing arguments about equality, might the praxes of permanent and passive revolution offer a way to conceptualize a more expansionary levelling? A review of Wittgenstein's Antiphilosophy by Alain Badiou. From New Formulations (reg. req.), decoding diaspora and disjuncture: Arjun Appadurai in dialogue with David Morley.
From World Affairs Journal, a special section on Arab Spring or Islamist Winter. Juan Cole on the top ten myths about the Arab Spring of 2011. From Three Monkeys Online, how Nasr Abu Zayd might have read the Arab uprisings. The Arab League may not be perfect, but it's come a long way. Making up is hard to do: As the Arab Spring countries are about to learn, reconciliation is hard, grinding work. Why do nations fail? As Arab dissidents know all too well, Daron Acemoglu says, it has to do with how societies are politically organized. Eugenio Lilli on revolts in the Arab world: Is it bad news for Islamic terrorists? A year after the Arab Spring, the Middle East is quickly moving from revolution to war. What should America do about the Arab Spring? The Crackdown: Kelly McEvers on how the United States looked the other way while Bahrain crushed the Arab Spring’s most ill-fated uprising. From ResetDOC, a special section on Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq; and what spring for Morocco? Christopher de Bellaigue on Iraq and what remains. John W. Jones on how we lost the peace in Iraq. A review of Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi's Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq by Richard Bonin. Saudi Arabia recently announced its intention to launch its own nuclear program — why no international uproar?
Rebecca Tushnet (Georgetown): Scary Monsters: Hybrids, Mashups, and Other Illegitimate Children. From Thirdspace: A Journal of Feminist Theory and Culture, a special issue on Barack Obama and the Audacity of Hope. Bringing Heaven to Earth: Zoe Bran describes the role of a shaman in contemporary Western society. Jamais Cascio on how the future isn't what it used to be. Stephen Farthing explores the implosion of sexuality and its increasing absorption into our society within an existential paradigm of socially mediated defence against anxiety of ultimate concerns. From Wired, Robert Capps on why black market entrepreneurs matter to the world economy. Are we on information overload? An interview with David Weinberger, author of Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room (and more and more and more and more). Keep on Rockin' in the Free World: How the Velvet Underground and Vaclav Havel built a blueprint for toppling totalitarians and other censors.
Joseph Bulbulia (VUW): Spreading Order: Religion, Cooperative Niche Construction, and Risky Coordination Problems. Marie von der Lippe (Stavanger): Reality Can Bite: Perspectives of Young People on the Role of Religion in Their World. From the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, John D. Caputo (Syracuse): The Return of Anti-Religion: From Radical Atheism to Radical Theology; and a review of The Death of God: An Investigation into the History of the Western Concept of God by Frederiek Depoortere. From the Journal of Religion and Society, Ronald A. Simkins (Creighton): Biblical Studies as a Secular Discipline: The Role of Faith and Theology; and Louis Ernesto Mora (PPC) and Wilson McDermut (St. John's): Religious Fundamentalism and How it Relates to Personality, Irrational Thinking, and Defense Mechanisms. Can a religion survive being stripped of its superstitions? An interview with Alex Rosenberg, author of The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions. A review of Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton (and more). Physics as metaphysics: Is there a quantum spirituality?