A messy restructuring of America’s political parties is coming

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone: Thomas Piketty, the French economist whose 2013 bestseller Capital in the 21st Century awoke upscale Americans to the shocking news that their economic system was not working for everyone, has written a new paper exposing more uncomfortable truths. Piketty’s new essay, called Brahmin Left vs. Merchant Right, studied electoral trends in three Western countries…

Ivan Krastev: The Iconoclast

From Politico: Ivan Krastev’s last book landed like a warning shot on the desks of policymakers across the Continent. In his short 2017 volume, “After Europe,” the Bulgarian thinker warned that what had been until then widely regarded as a series of isolated shocks — the migration crisis, Brexit, the election of U.S. President Donald…

Is Green Growth Possible? A Debate

From the Institute for New Economic Thinking: In this series, economists debate whether catastrophic global warming can be stopped while maintaining current levels of economic growth. Enno Schröder, Servaas Storm, Gregor Semieniuk, Lance Taylor, and Armon Rezai find there is a tradeoff between growth and decarbonization, while Michael Grubb responds with more optimism. More here.

Opioid Nation

Marcia Angell in the New York Review of Books: The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, up from some 64,000 the previous year and 52,000 the year before that—a staggering increase with no end in sight. Most involved opioids. A few definitions are in order. The…

The Autocracy App

Jacob Weisberg in the New York Review of Books: Facebook is a company that has lost control—not of its business, which has suffered remarkably little from its series of unfortunate events since the 2016 election, but of its consequences. Its old slogan, “Move fast and break things,” was changed a few years ago to the…

Rob Reich on “Is philanthropy bad for democracy?”

From Julia Galef’s Rationally Speaking: This episode features political scientist Rob Reich, author of “Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy, and How it Can Do Better”. Rob and Julia debate his criticisms of philanthropy: Does it deserve to be tax-deductible? Is it a violation of the autonomy of recipients to attach strings to their charitable gifts? And…

In the 1970s, the Swedish labor movement developed a plan to gradually socialize ownership. What can we learn from it today?

Peter Gowan and Mio Tastas Viktorsson in Jacobin: Confronting the power of capital in the United States will require a plan. We may be confident that the concentration of capital in the hands of a tiny minority represents both the primary obstacle to economic equality and one of the most fundamental threats to democracy in America, but without a…

A look at the life and career of Edward Said

 From Al Jazeera: Born to affluent parents in Palestine under the British mandate in 1935, Edward W Said devoted his adult life to raising awareness of the Palestinian cause on the world stage. A literature professor at Columbia University and celebrated intellectual, “he was a scholar and an ordinary man’s person,” according to the Independent’s Middle East correspondent,…

A new wave of dissidents in the east can turn back Europe’s populist tide

Natalie Nougayrède in The Guardian: Europe’s outlook can appear bleak these days: the Brexit downward spiral continues, both Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel are weakened, and Italy’s far-right-dominated, not-so-funny commedia dell’arte only seems to be getting worse. But turn your gaze a bit further east, and there is good news to be found. In central Europe, grassroots democratic…

Has the modern nation state failed?

Mark Mazower in the Financial Times: The 1815 Congress of Vienna was the most important diplomatic encounter of the 19th century. When a Parisian court painter called Jean-Baptiste Isabey depicted the scene, most of the figures around the conference table were aristocrats. Fast forward to its closest 20th-century equivalent — the Paris Peace Conference, convened…