Money: 5,000 Years of Debt and Power


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The first lie is that if finance is entirely free, globalised and unregulated, it will develop instruments to insure against risks (derivative products), rendering impossible the spread and intensification of the blaze. After two decades of stable inflation and financial liberalisation, the financial community, the media, and the political establishment loved to proclaim that systemic crisis had now become impossible (‘this time it’s different’). But the impossible did happen. This owed not to some external mega-event but rather to the fact that speculation had eroded from within any sense of reason and any barrier to the appeal of greed. This first lie is also the basis for the other two.

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Michel Aglietta — Verso

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Outspoken to Unspoken: Searching for Anne’s Voice after She Marries


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I loved the first four, where we journey with Anne from ages 11 to 25. Here was the character from the movies in all her spunk, wit, ambition, and imagination. She writes stories, goes to college, teaches, almost marries the wrong man, becomes a school principal, befriends prickly people, wins over the conniving Pringle clan, and comes to know herself better.

But when Anne Shirley becomes Anne Blythe, she doesn’t seem like the same person. I barely recognized her. I couldn’t find the spark and ambition of her earlier years. While she retains her quirky expressions, love of nature, and propensity to meet kindred spirits, her voice changes. After marriage it flattens and, in some cases, disappears altogether.

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Charlene Kwiatkowski — The Curator

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Lukes on power


What are the “dimensions” of power to which Lukes refers? He begins his account with the treatment of power provided by the pluralist tradition of American democratic theory, including especially Robert Dahl in 1957 in “The Concept of Power” (link). This is the one-dimensional view: power is a behavioral attribute that applies to individuals to the extent that they are able to modify the behavior of other individuals within a decision-making process. The person with the power in a situation is the person who prevails in the decision-making process (18).

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Daniel Little — Understanding Society

Writing advice: Michael Bible


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4. Leave an impression: pay extra attention to the last line of a scene, chapter, or paragraph.

“I play with those last lines of paragraphs a lot. You can take the reader on a journey—then just when they think they can see where you’re going, you jerk them out of that reality. If you end a paragraph with dissonance it can color what’s come before in an interesting way.”

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Michael Seidlinger — Melville House

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How Oscar Wilde’s life imitates his art


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Wilde made his own life into a tragic, exquisite, grotesquely gorgeous work of art. That was his legacy to the 21st century. Nowadays Wilde’s queerness is being embraced with open arms. In 2017, he was among 50,000 gay men posthumously pardoned by the Ministry of Justice for sexual acts that are no longer illegal. Everywhere you turn these days, there seems to be another shrine to Oscar going up somewhere, whether it’s the Oscar Wilde Barand Oscar Wilde Temple in New York, or the Irish hotels set to open in London and Edinburgh. Wilde’s works, once considered to have a corrupting influence, are now taught in schools around the globe. He has become gay history’s Christ figure. The relics of his martyrdom have become attractions, sites of pilgrimage.

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Michele Mendelssohn — OUPblog

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Thomas Piketty: Capital in the twenty-first century


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Piketty presents himself as politically engagé, so it would be natural to cut to the chase and announce my view of whether he is a good guy or a bad guy, a comrade or an enemy.  That impulse is all the stronger because his title is a deliberate allusion to Marx’s great work, Das Kapital.  The title, after all, is CAPITAL in the Twenty-First Century, not Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  But I shall resist the temptation, because it would be a mistake.  There is a great deal to learn from this book whether or not one situates oneself where Piketty does on the ideological spectrum [as I do not], and that must be the focus of my attention in the first part of this discussion.

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Robert Paul Wolff — 3:AM Magazine

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Wedding Woes and Mutual Hatred


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In The Wedding, West offers a more nuanced and succinct take on the same themes. In the late summer 1953, the prosperous Coles family is gathered on the Vineyard for the nuptials of their lovely scion Shelby Coles to a white jazz musician. The impending wedding brings to a head the foundational illusion of their lives: that skin color is “a direct barometer of virtue,” as Shelby’s sister, Liz, sarcastically puts it. West tracks the idea’s evolution and its fallout by telling the stories of the family’s ancestors, black and white, from back when “cars hadn’t yet been invented, cocktails hadn’t yet been invented, and the idea of colored people taking vacations had not yet been invented either.” In a more recent flashback, a young Shelby gets lost, and the islanders are on the lookout for a “little colored girl.” But blonde Shelby isn’t recognizable as such, and when she tells her name to a white mother, the woman is at first confused and then reluctant to ask if she’s “colored.” “I couldn’t do anything as awful,” the woman says to her friends. “Supposing she isn’t? It might leave a scar.”

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Emma Garman — The Paris Review

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