I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to post some of what I thought were the most insightful articles ’I've read around the Web over the past year. This will probably be biased toward those written towards the end of the year, as earlier ones have probably dropped off my radar/bookmark list. I’ll probably be adding to it over the week too, so you can check back occasionally.
And in accord with tradition, I’ll be posting my list of what I thought were the best posts written by me in 2013. That will probably be later in the week (which also serves as a good introduction to newbies).
Lighting the Rocket of Growth and Lightening the Toil of Work: Another Outtake from My "Slouching Towards Utopia" (Brad DeLong) Probably the best article I read all year, and the basis of my post, "Progress was invented in 1870." Related: The Blip (New York Magazine) This summation of Robert Gordon's ideas brought his thinking more into the mainstream. In fact, more economists are jumping on board: When Wealth Disappears (NYT)
Capitalism Rediefined (Democracy) Good summation of mainstream criticisms of trickle-down economics
Silicon Chasm (The Weekly Standard) and Dystopia by the Bay (NYTimes). Pictures of our future bifurcated society of gated communities of million-dollar homes and office parks with private transportation services, surrounded by crime-ridden slums.And on the same note, this book tells the story of what's happening to the rest of America: Detroit: An American Autopsy - review (Breitbart.com !!) Related: Why we hate the new tech boom (Salon)
Parts of the media woke up and noticed that the middle class was gone:
The 40-Year Slump (The American Prospect) and, related Poverty nation: How America created a low-wage work swamp (Salon) A very good summary.
Bleak House (New York Review of Books)
RIP, the middle class: 1946-2013 (Salon)
The Decline and Fall of Post War Liberalism and the Rise of the Right (Ian Welsh)
The Paradox of the Wage Slave (Metaphorical Web). Another good summary of how we got here.
Monopoly is Theft (Harper's Magazine) Connects the popular board game to its buried history of the promotion of the economic ideas of Henry George.
'People Don't Realize How Fragile Democracy Really Is' (The Atlantic) Important point. Also A Disturbance in the Force? (Naked Capitalism)
Return of the oppressed (Aeon Magazine) Peter Turchin's cycles of history don't bode well for the future.
We need to talk about TED (The Guardian) Outstanding critique of techno-optimism. Related: Nation Starting To Realize New Era Of American Innovation Never Gonna Happen (The Onion)
Filthy Lucre (Vice) Molly Crabapple
Checking Out (NYTimes) Despite the fact that we're supposed to find "meaning" by working for someone, 70 percent of us hate our jobs. So we need to create more of them!
America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy (Salon) Good description of the angry white men of the heartland who have been marginalized and radicalized. Related - US is Faced With a Feverish Populism of Anger and Hatred (Truthout) and How Did Conservatives Get This Radical? (NYTimes)
Kludgeocracy in America (National Affairs) America's spit-and-bailing-wire approach to solving problems. This article generated a lot of discussion.
America's Real Criminal Element: Lead (Mother Jones) Way back in January, Kevin Drum wrote this fascinating article linking the decline in lead with the decline in crime rates across the country.
Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (HBR) Because we mistake confidence for competence.
Ayn Rand’s vision of idiocy: Understanding the real makers and takers (Salon)
The super-rich no longer need a middle class (Salon) Which is why there isn't one anymore.
America: Afraid of Shadows in the Dark While Ignoring the Elephants in the Room (Chycho) We are made to ignore the real threats to us in favor of manufactured enemies.
America’s police are looking more and more like the military (Raw Story) Because they are, for all intents and purposes, an internal defense force to keep the population in line. See also:
How Cops Became Soldiers: An Interview with Police Militarization Expert Radley Balko (Vice) Related - Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks (The Guardian)
David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show' (The Guardian)
Socialism: Converting Hysterical Misery into Ordinary Unhappiness for a Hundred Years (Corey Robin) The perils of the "ownership society."
Twenty (Important ) Concepts I Wasn't Taught in Business School - Part I (Resilience.org) Where is part 2?
Jeremy Grantham on population growth, China and climate sceptics (The Guardian) also Our Chat With Jeremy Grantham (WSJ)
Why Homo Economicus Might Actually Be an Idiot (Bloomberg)
Devolution: Welcome to the World Where Things Don’t Work Well (Naked Capitalism) and America: Excelling at Mediocrity (HBR)
Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship (Charlie Stross)
The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy (NYTimes)
It’s Still Henry Ford’s World (Bloomberg)
Time to stop this pretence – economics is not science (Telegraph)
The Origin Of 'The World's Dumbest Idea': Milton Friedman (Forbes) Increasing shareholder value as the only goal of corporations has caused a disaster.
Prison Labor Booms As Unemployment Remains High; Companies Reap Benefits (Huffington Post) and 2.3 Million Americans Rot in Prison -- Meet the Corporations Exploiting Them for Profit (Alternet)
America faces more than a dozen deadlines, all caused by billionaires and wealth transfer (America Blog) In truth, our multiple problems have but a single cause.
Our American Pravda (The American Conservative)
The Internet is a surveillance state (CNN)
Right-Wing Mythology 101: the MYTHs that the right-wing scam is built upon (A Taxing Matter)
The Last Nomads and the Culture of Fear (Resilience.org)
The wastefulness of automation (Pieria)
Economists forecast the end of growth (The Guardian)
We lost the war. Welcome to the world of tomorrow. (Knowledge Brings Fear)
Why We Don’t Care About Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change (Time) We're too selfish. Stating the obvious...
Neo-Liberalism as Feudalism (Crooked Timber)
Their Real Goal: To Make Us All So Cynical About Government, We Give Up (Robert Reich) Mission accomplished!
10 Corporations Control Nearly Everything You Buy, 6 Media Corporations Control Nearly Everything You Read or Watch (Mish Shedlock) Monopoly capitalism!
New China Cities: Shoddy Homes, Broken Hope (NYTimes) Inside the Chinese "miracle."
I'm in a Stirling prize winner … get me out of here! (The Guardian) Probably The best thing I read on architecture all year, except for possibly this - Architects are the New Comedians (Slate)
All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines (The Atlantic) And Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User (The Atlantic)
Does life have a purpose? (Aeon Magazine)
The Myth of Human Progress (TruthDig)
The Island Where People Forget to Die (NYTimes)
A Dangerous Fixation (Slate)
We Aren't the World (Pacific Standard)
The Rise of the Machines (Jacobin)
Could Humans Go Extinct? (Slate)