Daryl J. Wennemann (Fontbonne): What World Do We Want? Michael Morrison (Oxford): STS and Enhancement Technologies: A Program for Future Research. Could a drug make us nicer people? Jonathon Keats reviews The Myth of the Moral Brain: The Limits of Moral Enhancement by Harris Wiseman. Genetically modified mice reveal the secret to a painless life: Researchers have discovered the pharmaceutical recipe for painlessness. How could we make life on earth a utopia? David Roden (Open): Post-Singularity Entities in Film and TV. The Singularity and the neural code: John Horgan on how bionic convergence and psychic uploading won’t be possible unless we crack the neural code, science’s hardest problem. Woody Evans (TWU): Posthuman Rights: Dimensions of Transhuman Worlds. Are cyborgs real? Frieda Klotz visits the world’s first cyborg fair.
Andrew Aghapour interviews Zoltan Istvan, the first transhumanist candidate. You can download Envisaging Politics 2.0: How AIs, Cyborgs, and Transhumanism Can Enhance Democracy and Improve Society, ed. David W. Wood and Alexander J. Karran.
Bob Plant (Aberdeen): On Being (Not Quite) Dead with Derrida. Alfredo Saad-Filho on how the judicial coup against President Dilma Rousseff is the culmination of the deepest political crisis in Brazil for 50 years. 272 slaves were sold to save Georgetown — what does it owe their descendants? Time magazine’s new cover trolls economically literate people with absurd scare tactics (and more and more). Jessica Valenti on insults and rape threats: Writers shouldn’t have to deal with this. “The shame sticks to you like tar”: Nearly 20 years ago, Monica Lewinsky found herself at the heart of a political storm — now she’s turned that dark time into a force for good. From Daily Intelligencer, Ed Kilgore on how national political parties don’t really control their presidential nominating processes; and Donald Trump probably can’t clinch a majority of delegates, but he can make denying him the nomination a living nightmare (and more).
Michelle Lyon Drumbl (Washington and Lee): Beyond Polemics: Poverty, Taxes, and Noncompliance. The dirt beneath your home is way more valuable than your home — it’s time we tax the dirt. Dara Lind on 11 charts that explain taxes in America. Allison Christians (McGill): Uncle Sam Wants Who? A Global Perspective on Citizenship Taxation. I’m an American living in Sweden — here’s why I came to embrace the higher taxes. Martin Lobel on how plutocrats cripple the IRS: You pay more because elites use their influence to pay less. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, we now know how many big corporations don’t pay taxes. Paul Starr on the strange silence about Sanders’s tax proposals: Bernie Sanders has proposed tax increases that ought to give Democrats pause, but hardly anyone is talking about them. Elizabeth Warren has a great idea for making Tax Day less painful.
The state has lost control: Evgeny Morozov on how tech firms now run western politics. Technology, the faux equalizer: Adrienne LaFrance on how Silicon Valley’s sunny outlook on technology and opportunity ignores systematic inequalities. Don’t blame the Google bus riders: The company “doesn’t look at the employees as any more human than it does the residents of San Francisco”. Hamilton Nolan on why tech workers should unionize. Congratulations, you’ve been fired: Life in the new tech workplace is suspiciously like life in the old sweatshop. Silicon Valley talks a good game on “basic income”, but its words are empty. “Libertarian but very pro-government”: Timothy B. Lee on the distinctive ideology of Silicon Valley. Yet another tech worker rants about being overentitled. San Francisco’s tech bros told: Quit changing the gayborhood.
The overwhelming majority of men in the tech industry believe there is no gender bias. Hacking technology’s boys’ club: Anna Weiner on Ellen Ullman’s early journey to the heart of Silicon Valley and her radical vision for its future. Danielle Paquette on the stunning difference in how people treat female coders — once they find out they’re female. At Harvey Mudd College, the ratio of women in computer science increased from 10% to 40% in 5 years. Claire Cain Miller on what it’s really like to risk it all in Silicon Valley.
Jane K. Winn (Washington): The Secession of the Successful: The Rise of Amazon as Private Global Consumer Protection Regulator. Are modern ideas of American democracy fundamentally misguided? Debra Liese interviews Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, authors of Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. As campaigns seek delegates, ordinary voters feel sidelined. Michael A. Cohen on the genealogy of American demagoguery. Ignorance, racism and rage: Amy Kittelstrom on how the GOP’s transformation to the party of stupid started long before Donald Trump. Monique Morrissey on the state of American retirement: How 401(k)s have failed most American workers. Perry Anderson on the crisis in Brazil. I’m voting for Bernie, but on one condition — that he doesn’t get the nomination. David Beer writes in defence of writing book reviews: Reviewing allows us to put collective knowledge ahead of individualised contributions.
David Gamage (UC-Berkeley) and Darien Shanske (UC-Davis): Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States. Zachary D. Liscow (Yale) and William A Woolston (Stanford): How Income Taxes Should Change during Recessions. Mark P. Gergen (UC-Berkeley): How to Tax Capital. Jeff Spross on the case for more tax brackets. Matt Bruenig on 50 years of the US tax system and the rise of nontax revenue; on how to think about the middle class and taxes; and on liberal tax justice. Jason Furman on what progressive tax reform should look like. Dean Baker on a progressive way to end corporate taxes. Caroline Freund on the case for higher estate taxes. Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego): Not so Fast: The Hidden Difficulties of Taxing Wealth; and How is the Opera Like a Soup Kitchen? The carried interest dilemma: A tax law helps David Rubenstein perform major patriotic philanthropic works — is it fair?
The first chapter from Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe by Kenneth Scheve and David Stasavage. Natasha Adams on why tax is a feminist issue. Fundamental tax reform is a fantasy — now, let’s get to work on improving our tax code. Leandra Lederman (Indiana): IRS Reform: Politics as Usual?; and The IRS, Politics, and Income Inequality. Hamilton Nolan on how gutting the IRS is a remarkably bad idea. The 10-second tax return: Letting the government do its citizens’ taxes is cheap, efficient, and accurate — naturally, the United States won’t do it. Yair Listokin on how Tax Day is an unnecessary anti-holiday — we should get rid of it.
Timo Bohm (Mannheim): Activists in Politics: The Influence of Embedded Activists on the Success of Social Movements. Eduardo Romanos (Complutense): From Tahrir to Puerta del Sol to Wall Street: The Transnational Diffusion of Social Movements in Comparative Perspective. What’s in a movement’s name? Since coalition-building has moved online, the definition of activism has changed. Jennifer Hunter interviews Micah White, author of The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution (and more). Paul Buhle and Alec Hudson on how the revolutionary thought of Rosa Luxemburg continues to inform and inspire anticapitalist movements today. Does capitalism have a future? Wolfgang Streeck, Craig Calhoun, Polly Toynbee, and Amitai Etzioni debate. Power to the pixels: Chris Lehmann reviews Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason.
Bhaskar Sunkara on how socialists want a world without private property — but you can keep your Kenny Loggins records. Gar Alperovitz on how socialism in America is closer than you think: Experiments with public ownership are thriving across the country — the challenge is to link them and scale them up. Karl Marx to the rescue: Frustrated and emasculated, many Americans blame “capitalism” for their woes, but what they really hate is America’s neo-feudalism, in its modern-day, crony capitalist form.
Ginger Ging-Dwan Boyd (New School): The Girl Effect: A Neoliberal Instrumentalization of Gender Equality. James Carden on how the threat of nuclear weapons is greater today than it was during the Cold War: “There is no rational reason to feel secure today”. Of all the horrors that have befallen Iraq, the Islamic State bombing that killed 29 children on a soccer field is one of the most shocking. Jonathan Chait on the hopeless Republican establishment plan to stop Ted Cruz and Donald Trumpl; and on how Trump’s health-care plan is no crazier than other Republican health-care plans. Jessa Crispin on the self-hating book critic. Francis Wilkinson on how a convention coup endangers the Republican Party. The mainstream U.S. press has recently become willing to label a leading politician racist — can this last? Larry Summers on how data collection is the ultimate public good. The best way to pay for an infrastructure surge is to not pay for it at all.
Ryan Calo (Washington): Robots in American Law. The introduction to Robot Law, ed. Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr. Dana Remus (UNC) and Frank S. Levy (MIT): Can Robots Be Lawyers? Computers, Lawyers, and the Practice of Law. The end of lawyers? Not so fast. Is automating the professions a utopian pipe dream or dystopian nightmare? Frank Pasquale reviews The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Daniel Susskind and Richard Susskind. “The process of writing decides what is to be written next,” hence, says Nick Bostrom, artificial intelligence isn’t as big an “existential risk” for publishing as for other fields — maybe. Harriet Taylor on how robots will kill the “gig economy”. Are robots job creators, or are they the reason for the economic decline of working-class Americans? Robots took the manufacturing jobs — and they’re not coming back.
Will minimum wage hikes lead to a huge boost in automation? Only if we’re lucky. Yes, the robots will steal our jobs — and that’s fine: Those jobs will be replaced with new ones. Robots will take your job: We’re building a world where a universal basic income may be the only rational, fair way for society to function — and that’s not a future we should fear. A plan in case robots take the jobs: Give everyone a paycheck. This map shows which countries are being taken over by robots. Cheap thoughts on productivity growth: We have people simultaneously running around terrified that the robots will take all the jobs and at the same time that we will not have enough workers to support a growing population of retirees.
John Danaher (NUI Galway): Will Life Be Worth Living in a World Without Work? Technological Unemployment and the Meaning of Life.
Qiaoying Lu (Sun Yat-Sen) and Pierrick Bourrat (Sydney): The Evolutionary Gene and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. If the world began again, would life as we know it exist? Experiments in evolution are exploring what would happen if we rewound the tape of life. Are the traits that once helped us survive now killing us? Emily Willingham reviews Too Much of a Good Thing: How Four Key Survival Traits Are Now Killing Us by Lee Goldman. Chip Rowe on the top 10 design flaws in the human body: From our knees to our eyeballs, our bodies are full of hack solutions. Why wait for evolution? Meet the scientists racing to improve our senses. Five blockbuster evolutionary insights and one wild life: David P. Barash reviews Wild Life: Adventures of an Evolutionary Biologist by Robert Trivers. In retrospect, the selfish gene: Matt Ridley reassesses Richard Dawkins’s pivotal reframing of evolution, 40 years on.