From Daedalus, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen (Wisconsin): Anti-intellectualism as Romantic Discourse; and Sarah Song (UC-Berkeley): What Does It Mean to Be an American? A review of A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom by Jedediah Purdy. A review of Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea by Joshua Horwitz and Casey Anderson. A review of Capture the Flag: A Political History of American Patriotism by Woden Teachout. A review of The American Patriot’s Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America by Richard G. Lee. A review of Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream by Leonard Zeskind. White Man’s Burden: The Dallas suburb of Irving struggles with its sudden diversity. Slate goes inside the business of human smuggling on the Mexican Border. Border Wars: Yasha Levine on a day in the life of a virtual vigilante. A review of books on American Muslim life. What’s American about Chinatown? An interview with Bonnie Tsui, author of American Chinatown. A review of Ethnoburb: The New Ethnic Community in Urban America by Wei Li. Science is telling us that ethnic diversity causes significant problems by diminishing valuable social capital — what then should we do?
A review of America at Risk: Threats to Liberal Self-government in an Age of Uncertainty. A review of The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It by Heather K. Gerken. A review of Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges (more and more and more). An interview with David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong To Get Ahead. A review of The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century by Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz. An interview with Theodore Roszak, author of The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America's Most Audacious Generation. A review of The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia by Mike Dash (and more and more). A review of Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press by Joseph Atkins. A review of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley. Jackson Lears' cultural history, Rebirth of a Nation, from the Civil War to World War One, is the flip side of Louis Menand’s dazzling take on the same period, The Metaphysical Club (and more at Bookforum). Conservative Revolutionaries: How the Lees of Stratford Hall made and unmade an empire.
Is Obama losing popularity because he's too liberal? The “Obama making mistakes” narrative is at fever pitch, but even if his health-care plan falters, we shouldn’t consider the president a failure — our system makes reform almost impossible. Charm Offensive: How the White House manages the expectations of its base. A review of The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office by David Blumenthal and James Morone. The war on universal healthcare: What's at stake could very well be nothing less than America's own Weimar moment. A review of The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans by Ned Sublette. From The New York Times Magazine, overtired after the hurricane, doctors and nurses in New Orleans injected some patients with drugs; were they trying to comfort those patients — or hasten their deaths? Chronicling Catastrophe: An article on Dave Eggers and the American nonfiction novel. From Salon, an interview with Dave Eggers on the future of journalism, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and his new book, Zeitoun (and more and more and more and more and more; and more at Bookforum). Four years on, Katrina remains cursed by rumour, cliche, lies and racism. A review of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (and more and more and more and more and more and more).
From City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple on inflation’s moral hazard: An age of loose money not only destroys savings — it corrodes character; whatever happened to the work ethic? Free markets require a constellation of moral virtues; and "too big to fail" must die: If we continue to subsidize irresponsible risk-taking, we’ll just get more of it. Bruce Bartlett asks the opponents of the stimulus: What should we have done? A look at how government efforts to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy appear to be helping the U.S. climb out of the worst recession in decades. More on Barry Ritholtz’s Bailout Nation. The huge government bailout could have cost taxpayers $700 billion — now it looks like it might break even. Recessionary Road: Chadwick Matlin embarked on a three-week cross-country trip to discover what the stimulus looks like from the ground up. The new joblessness: It’s different than other recessions — it’s worse than you think (and more). Can antidepressants end the recession? The Washington Post asks economists whether the worst of the recession is over. Nouriel Roubini on why people should stop asking when the recession will end. The recession is over — now what we need is a new kind of recovery. What recovery looks like, from Carmen Reinhart, a fair-and-balanced economist.
From Vanity Fair, in 2006, Henry Paulson reluctantly became Treasury secretary for an unpopular, lame-duck president — history will score his decisions. Lecturing Bernanke: The Fed chairman's old teacher Stanley Fischer worries that Washington isn't fixing the too-big-to-fail issue. Has the Federal Reserve responded too slowly to macroeconomic conditions during the crisis? Seth Hettena reviews In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic by David Wessel (and more and more and more and more and more). What’s the biggest challenge Mr. Bernanke faces in his second term? Alan Blinder on the Fed's political problem: How politics threatens U.S. monetary policy. Are the golden years of central banking over? From The Nation, dismantling the Temple: William Greider on how to fix the Federal Reserve; and in naming Phil Angelides as chair of the new Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Congress has picked an aggressive, visionary reformer. Luigi Zingales on a new regulatory framework: Three agencies, based on the three main goals of financial regulation. Sheila Bair on the case against a super-regulator. Taming Wall Street Cowboys: American for Financial Reform, a new advocacy group, heads to Capitol Hill to counter financial industry lobbyists hungry for deregulation.
The Desktop Manufacturing Revolution: The end of the current production-manufacturing economic model may be on the horizon — but what if nothing's ready to replace it? More and more, "production" — that word economists have worked over for generations — has become interior to the human mind rather than set on a factory floor. Money for Nothing: Two new studies indicate that Wall Street's profits and bonuses are vastly disproportionate to the value the industry adds to the economy. Here are the sources of wealth from which the most wealth has been derived by members of the first annual to most recent Forbes 400s. The Aristocracy and its discontents: What does the court battle over Brooke Astor’s estate tell us about the American upper class? A review of Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Wealth Culture by Larry Samuel (and more). An interview with Will Samson, author of Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess. A User’s Guide to Not Getting Ripped Off: Ben Popken and The Consumerist harness the social web to empower shoppers and embarrass corporate bullies. Combatting Idiocracy: An interview with Carrie McLaren, author of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. A review of Consuming Traditions: Modernity, Modernism, and the Commodified Authentic by Elizabeth Outka.
From the latest issue of Bookforum, a special section on work: Andrew Ross reviews Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton (and more); Gregory Sholette reviews Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era by Julia Bryan-Wilson; and more. From Forbes, a special report on workland, including Tim Harford on why your boss is overpaid; why Europeans work less than Americans — could higher tax rates and more regulation in the workplace actually be a good thing?; and why do the rich keep working? From BBC, just what constitutes a "big" salary these days? Can you scan 800 barcodes an hour, say "thank you" 500 times each day? Then you could have what it takes to be a supermarket cashier — but you might regret it. A review of Steven Greenhouse's The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker. A review of A Working Stiff's Manifesto: A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine That Fired Me, and Three I Can't Remember by Iain Levison. Inside the pre-Internet office: Ed Park recalls a time in the office when copy editors quietly read 17th-century treatises on human emotion. From work ethic to workaholicism: On John Calvin's five-hundredth birthday, Para Mullan traces how work has come to be seen as a Bad Thing (and more). Should Thursday be the new Friday? A look at the environmental and economic pluses of the 4-day workweek.
From The Telegraph, an interview with Fay Weldon: "It's easier to pick up your husband's socks and clean the loo" (but for goodness sake, Fay, do put a sock in it). Sandra Tsing Loh is ending her marriage — isn’t it time you did the same? Are gays too late to destroy marriage? Their influence may ultimately be nothing compared to what straights have done. From Time, is there hope for the American marriage? (Who else could it be? Yes, it's none other than Caitlin Flanagan.) From Salon, it's hot, it's sexy! It's marriage! From CT, Mark Regnerus on the case for early marriage: Amid our purity pledges and attempts to make chastity hip, we forgot to teach young Christians how to tie the knot. From The Nation, many Christian adoption agencies are far more concerned with artificially producing "orphans" for Christian parents to adopt, than helping birth parents care for wanted children. Another country, not my own: One overseas adoptee explains how parents’ embrace of the ”home” culture can have its costs. Do fathers pay more attention to kids who look like them? The Real Nanny Diaries: Americans pay lip service to the idea child-raising is important work, but when they hire people to do it for them, they tend to pay them little and respect them less.
A new issue of Words Without Borders is out. We think of writing as either good or bad; what today's young people know is that knowing who you're writing for and why you're writing might be the most crucial factor of all. A review of Rationality and the Literate Mind by Roy Harris. A Danish initiative to discourage prejudice has had a global impact; the Living Library, in Copenhagen, allows "readers" to borrow "human books". Taking pictures for peace: Between 1909 and 1931, Albert Kahn sent photographers and filmmakers around the world. From The New Yorker, what do the pirates of yore tell us about their modern counterparts? A review of The Invisible Hook by Peter T. Leeson, The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard, and British Piracy in the Golden Age by Henry Morgan. The Complicit General: Philippe Sands reviews Eyes on the Horizon: Serving on the Front Lines of National Security by General Richard B. Myers. How 9/11 sucked the fun out of America: The country's response to that tragedy achieved little and made everyday actions seem grim. Who's rooting for the economy to tank again? These guys. Conor Clarke on why we shouldn't worry about burdening our children with a huge national debt. Beware of deficit fetishism: Thanks to the deficit, the buck stops here.
From the latest issue of Bookforum, Joan Richardson reviews Morris Dickstein's Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (and more and more). How did economists get it so wrong? Paul Krugman on how the Great Recession was the result not only of lax regulation in Washington and reckless risk-taking on Wall Street but also of faulty theorizing in academia. Why did nobody notice that the credit crunch was on its way? David Warsh writes to the Queen. An interview with Robert Skidelsky on why economists missed the danger signs ahead of the financial crisis. Financial markets often run our lives, and economic sociologists are trying to understand how (and more). Economics is not a natural science: We must stop perpetuating the fiction that existence itself is dictated by the immutable laws of economics. An article on the free-market fallacies of Ayn Rand. Magic and the myth of the rational market: Papua New Guinea's "big men" demonstrate one of the underlying flaws in both traditional and behavioural economics — apparently irrational actions may be socially rational (and more). There is some evidence that Adam Smith's economics are ceasing to work so well, and that we may be re-entering the world of Thomas Mun. Jamais Cascio on socioeconomic speculation and thinking about what a 21st century economy might look like (and part 2)