Category Archives: Media

Poison Ivy


BOOK REVIEW

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, Author: William Deresiewicz.

By Nathan Heller – Élite higher education today makes two promises. It is a liberal-arts idyll, free from the demands of breadwinning or real-world “usefulness.”

It is also an acceleration tube, where students gain life momentum befitting their competitive entry. Can it be both?

“The system manufactures students who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it,” he writes. more> http://tinyurl.com/mhfmed3

Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist?


By Nicholas Kristof – Joshua Correll of the University of Colorado at Boulder has used an online shooter video game to try to measure these unconscious attitudes (you can play the game yourself).

An uncomfortable starting point is to understand that racial stereotyping remains ubiquitous, and that the challenge is not a small number of twisted white supremacists but something infinitely more subtle and complex:

People who believe in equality but who act in ways that perpetuate bias and inequality. more> http://tinyurl.com/pv5bqlj

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Ferguson: America’s cultural segregation fault lines


BOOK REVIEW

Habits of the Heart (pdf), Author: Robert Bellah.

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart, Authors: Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing.

By Neal Gabler – We don’t live in America anymore. We live in thousands of Americas, many no farther away than our computer screens and the Internet. These are self-identified Americas.

But there is another, more pernicious effect of cultural segregation. It shrinks the world rather than enlarges it — reinforces what already is, circumscribes people within their own worldview.

In a segregated world, especially the virtually segregated world we now have thanks to the Internet, we need never leave our own cultural ghetto. more> http://tinyurl.com/kewk6pl

Surveillance and the Creative Mind


By T.A. Ridout – Throughout human history, those who question conventional wisdom or existing power structures have frequently made those invested in the status quo vengeful, from Galileo, to Martin Luther King Jr., to Ai Wei Wei.

Despite paternalistic assurances that Americans have no reason to fear their own government, caution is warranted.

The pattern of deception by U.S. executive branch officials makes it hard for reasonable people that are paying attention not to be skeptical of their latest pronouncements. Though the risk is not high, it would be naïve to assume there is no danger at all.

Recent U.S. history paints a clear picture of abuses by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, often with the approval of politicians. Arbitrary and illegal exercise of government power happens in the United States, as it does everywhere. more> http://tinyurl.com/lxscm2l

Wrecking an Economy Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry


By Dean Starkman – The megabanks are finally feeling the hurt for the depredations of the mortgage era. That’s what the government, and some in the financial press, too, would have us believe.

There’s a much deeper problem here, however, and one that has received far less attention:

Not only has the Department of Jus­tice (DOJ) failed to build any criminal cases for financial-crisis misdeeds, but it’s also now settling with these banks without even filing civil complaints.

A complaint is the cornerstone of civil litigation, the foundation for even routine lawsuits.

One of its primary benefits—and of adversarial legal proceedings generally—is that a complaint can bring huge amounts of previously undisclosed information into the public record. more> http://tinyurl.com/paqp7yc

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From CEO ‘Takers’ To CEO ‘Makers’


By Steve Denning – The rotten foundations of shareholder value theory in the writings of Friedman and Jensen are now lost to the public view.

Business schools in particular have a responsibility to stop teaching shareholder value in their core curriculum to their students and start systematically teaching the better idea: the primary purpose of the corporation is to serve customers’ interests.

Business schools must recognize that it is not enough to teach Customer Capitalism as an optional subject. Textbooks that teach shareholder value theory as a basic assumption must be discarded. more> http://tinyurl.com/pe3bvbb

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Democracy Versus Republic, Take Two


By Jonathan Bernstein – In France and England, different branches of government, or different chambers of the legislature, represented different estates: the people, but also the aristocracy, or the crown, or the church.

But the U.S. government presented a real challenge: what, exactly, was being balanced?

In the U.S., there would be only the people.

In the brand new polity, all that was needed, perhaps, was the people’s branch; even with a more prominent role for the states, the fact that authority ultimately rested in the people made any other body seem superfluous.

Yet the Articles of Confederation, with only that branch, weren’t working properly. What to do? more> http://tinyurl.com/lj6tlrf