Andreas Rasche (Warwick) and Dirk Ulrich Gilbert (Erlangen-Nurnberg): Institutionalizing Global Governance: The Role of the United Nations Global Compact. A largely overlooked change by USAID will have major repercussions for international aid efforts in the future — the gist? USAID no longer has to “buy American”. A review of All Business is Local: Why Place Matters More Than Ever in a Global Virtual World by John Quelch and Katherine Jocz. From Foreign Policy, a special issue on the world economy. In praise of brain drain: Want to help the developing world? Hire away its best minds. A review of Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism by Robert Guest. Who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Where ancient history meets modern politics: The world's most controversial cultural sites. Is microfinance pushing the world’s poorest even deeper into poverty? Meet Ertharin Cousin, the new head of the World Food Program. The US outlines big plans for UN reform. A look at how the toppling of the Libyan dictator legitimizes R2P Doctrine. A dose of counterintuitive optimism: Charles Kenny is out to prove that things aren't as bad as they seem.

Eric A. Feldman (Penn) and Ronald Bayer (Columbia): The Triumph and Tragedy of Tobacco Control: A Tale of Nine Nations. The Age of Ships: Michael Anton on a time before passenger jets, when ocean liners were “the greatest of the works of man”. From NYRB, do the classics have a future? Mary Beard investigates. Winifred Gallagher, author of New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change, on exploring your inner neophiliac, on curiosity and boredom, and on Aristotle’s ideal, killed by the Web. David Bank on self-organization and the hierarchy of institutions. Gladwell vs. Shirky: A year later, scoring the debate over social-media revolutions. The Pirate Bay’s new plan to destroy capitalism: The piracy giant's offering up an idea that, if it goes right, could topple the economy and change digital exchange as we know it. A review of Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America by Astra Taylor, Keith Gessen et al. While the difficulties of winter have taken their toll, Occupy Wall Street organizers say they are confident that an "American Spring" is in the making. Here is a list of 5 rulers whose idiot siblings nearly screwed the world.

From Wired, Steven Levy on Facebook, Spotify and the future of music. Is everyone musical? One sonic pioneer thinks so — and he has the technology to prove it. Music and sex: Music is largely a primeval tool to gain the favour of mates. Music gets deep inside us and inspires great writing too, says Alex Ross. Robert Rose discovers unwritten history: Punk music was actually discovered a decade before its “emergence” was “officially” documented, in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. The rise of punkademia: How do you study a movement that doesn’t want to be studied? Top 10 sing-along songs: Queen's "We Are the Champions" is officially the number 1 catchiest song, say academics. The revolution will be amplified: Is the Occupy Movement liberating music? Jan Swafford on the wild, sublime music that composers write on their deathbeds. A review of Infinite Music: Imagining the Next Millennium of Human Music-Making by Adam Harper. Mommy, what's a ho? How to find good hip-hop songs for your kids to listen to. Mozart vs. the Gangstas: How classical music is changing young lives. What does a conductor do? A critic decides to find out — by stepping up to the podium himself.

Benjamin Powell (Suffolk) and Matt Zwolinski (USD): The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment. Andrew W. Lo (MIT): Reading About the Financial Crisis: A 21-Book Review. In a book devoted to economic anxieties in France, two economists well known in the blogosphere try to make their field accessible while conveying its complexity. Capitalism in historical perspective: It is not capitalism that has come to an end but a mode of politics that seeks to guarantee market stability, argues economic historian Werner Plumpe. A review of Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey. The invisible hand meets the invisible gorilla: Diane Coyle on the economics and psychology of scarce attention. IMF chief economist Oliver Blanchard draws the lessons from 2011’s economic and policy developments. Kenneth Rogoff on rethinking the growth imperative. If you are a banker what you want is risky, high interest rate loans without the risk; sooner or later it follows that what the bankers need to do above all else is to elevate financial contracts above democracy.

A new issue of United Academics Magazine is out. J. David Velleman (NYU): Life Absurd? Don't Be Ridiculous. New Dominionists: Meet the Christian couple behind the Right’s most viral videos. Soft porn, hardening hearts: Jonathan Tayler on a magazine’s private story. From The Washington Diplomat, academic Tyler Cowen livens up economics with The Great Stagnation; and Argentina 2001 vs. Greece 2011:
 Patrick Corcoran on the parallels and pitfalls of comparison. Blank-of-the-Month Clubs: Jill Harness on 16 offbeat subscription services. The Best Predictions of 2011: Drawing from a variety of sources throughout the past year, the editors of The Futurist take a look at some of the best predictions for the world’s future. Modernity and its Discontents: Morten Hoi Jensen reviews George Scialabba’s The Modern Predicament. If it weren’t for Newt’s dreadful neocon policies, he would have self-declared misogynist Brandon Adamson’s vote hands down. Can anyone explain why this fool is allowed to ruin this blog? Mad Otto Rossler continues to take up space on the Lifeboat blog.

From TED, Paul Romer on the world's first charter city; and Geoffrey West on the surprising math of cities and corporations. Global cities: Andrew Robsinson on the rise and rise of capitalism’s behemoths (and part 2). The rise of the megacity: Jakarta, Lagos, and Sao Paolo, and other massive population centers are changing the way we think about cities. An interview with Austin Williams, author of The Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs. The city solution: Robert Kunzig on why cities are the best cure for our planet’s growing pains. "Cities are making us more human": An interview with Edward Glaeser. The evolution of great world cities: Christopher Kennedy explores the urban wealth and economic growth of great cities. A review of Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City by Andrew Ross (and more). Brahmin Dreams: Douglass Shand-Tucci is in search of the capital of the world. From Cracked, a look at the 6 most mind-blowing modern ghost towns; and an article on the 6 weirdest cities people actually live in.

Thomas Borstelmann on how equality begat inequality and other ways the 1970s shaped our world. A review of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America by Adam Winkler. Ben Schreiner on a phrasebook guide to U.S. politics. Why we still can’t talk about slavery: On a trip through the South, Civil War culture is presented as "authentic" — they just leave out the slavery part. Is the U.S. getting older and whiter, or younger and more diverse? Yes. Amon Emeka and Jody Agius Vallejo look at why many people with Latin American ancestry are not identifying themselves as Hispanic on U.S. Census surveys. A review of Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in 21st-Century America by Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler. To save post offices, turn them into public banks. Michael Lind on his book Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States. Brad DeLong on America’s Financial Leviathan. Edward Glaeser on why finance shouldn’t be the only game in town. Seth Stevenson on the Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See — made by one guy in Oregon.

A new issue of Variant is out. From Seed, Steven Pinker on vocabulary and war. Free, white and twenty-one: Robert Paul Wolff on the real origin of the grievance that motivates so large a segment of the Republican electorate today. Quite contrary: The associates of the Institute of Ideas certainly have a talent for getting noticed, but is there more to them than hollow liberal-baiting? From Public Eye, a special issue on the 30th anniversary of Political Research Associates. From HBR, a look at the 50 Most Influential Management Gurus; and Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer on why management ideas matter. From Jacobin, Peter Frase on four futures: Logical combinations of the two oppositions resource abundance vs. scarcity and egalitarianism vs. hierarchy. Here is the latest issue of World War 4 Report. Taxing the 1%: Why the top tax rate could be over 80%. Did Gingrich's win break the rules? His win in South Carolina alone is not enough to be paradigm-breaking, but if he follows it with a win in Florida, all bets are off. Tucker Max gives up the game: What happens when a bestselling player stops playing?

From Neiman Journalism Lab, a special section on what 2012 will bring for the future of journalism. The San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley’s own daily, was poised to ride the digital whirlwind — what happened? Longform journalism faces a stiff challenge: How do you hold the attention of an audience that is clicking rather than paging through a long article? An interview with Matt Carlson, author of On the Condition of Anonymity: Unnamed Sources and the Battle for Journalism. An interview with Jonathan M. Ladd, author of Why Americans Hate the Media and How It Matters (and more). From CJR, meet Chris Faraone, Occupy reporter for the Boston Phoenix; the reporter’s voice: Seven accomplished reporters and one great photographer talk about what they do, how they do it, and why; an interview with Juan Gonzalez, co-author of News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media; Dean Starkman on the limited vision of the news gurus; and founder James Boylan reflects on CJR’s roots. An article on the new, convoluted life cycle of a newspaper story.

From the Journal of World Christianity, a special issue (reg. req.) on the Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Across the globe, a new form of religiosity is transforming the spiritual and secular landscape — Evangelical Christianity, Islamic fundamentalism, and many other modern religions, Olivier Roy argues, are no longer tied to a particular culture or location. Nathan Schneider on why the world needs religious studies. From IHE, Gregory Kalscheur on a key task for Catholic higher ed: It's time to focus on revitalizing an important intellectual tradition, not just debating which speakers shouldn't appear on campuses; and Scott McLemee reviews The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age by Randall J. Stephens and Karl W. Giberson. Alan Jacobs on Christianity and the future of the book. The Book of Books: Marilynne Robinson on what literature owes the Bible. The most insanely violent cartoon ever is about the Bible. From TED, Alain De Bottom on Atheism 2.0 A review of The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions by Alex Rosenberg. Massimo Pigliucci on the goals of atheist activism. A look at 4 things both atheists and believers need to stop saying.