“The Rise of the Cashless City”: The Guardian

this is a good piece in the Grauniad: ...Could we see a whole city go cash-free? From Seoul to Bergamo, cities big and small are at the forefront of a global drive to go digital. Many of us are happy to tap cards or phones to hop on a bus, buy a coffee or pay for groceries, but it raises the prospect of a time we no longer carry any cash at all.No spare change for the busker at the station, the person sleeping rough in need of a hot drink, the market trader, the donation box. Although even … [Read more...]

Why Don’t Blue-Collar Workers Just Take Pink-Collar Jobs?: Megan McArdle

vs economists who scold men for not becoming the New Soviet Persyn the market demands: Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Henry Higgins demands to know in "My Fair Lady." These days, labor economists are asking the opposite question: Why can't a man be more like a woman?The decline of traditionally male blue-collar work like manufacturing has left many men adrift. There are growth industries, such as health care, where some of these men could get work. But they don’t seem to be taking adv … [Read more...]

He That Increaseth Sorrow Increaseth Knowledge: Or, Notes on Meritocracy

This is a great piece but I guess the reason the end disappointed me is that it turns out to be a sardonic, passive-aggressive (not that there's anything wrong with that) reaffirmation of the meritocratic winners' authority, when what I would rather read is somebody's portrait of alternative authorities. So sure, here's a list of reasons I've seen real people be treated as authorities. Andrews's list would be different no doubt but that's precisely why I would have liked to read it....None … [Read more...]

“The New Ruling Class”: Helen Andrews

on the beginning and middle of the meritocratic era: Last fall, Toby Young did something ironic. Toby is the son of Michael Young, the British sociologist and Labour life peer whose 1958 satire The Rise of the Meritocracy has been credited with coining the term. Toby has become an education reformer in his own right, as founder of the West London Free School, after a celebrated career as a journalist and memoirist (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People). In September, he published an … [Read more...]

“Christmas and Resistance to Slavery in the Americas”: Yesenia Barragan

for the African-American Intellectual History Society: The Christmas season also gave way to the largest slave rebellion in the history of the British Caribbean known as the Christmas Rebellion (or the Baptist War). During ten days in late December 1831 into January 1832, nearly 60,000 slaves (about 20% of the enslaved population of 300,000) led by the black Baptist preacher Samuel Sharpe went on strike and rebelled against plantation owners, demanding freedom and higher wages. According to … [Read more...]

“When the Neighborhood Changes”: Matthew Loftus

covers a lot of ground quickly: [Baltimoreans] have good reason to be afraid. Some places are using “artwashing” — the practice of drumming up the art scene in a neighborhood or building to drive out lower-income residents in preparation for higher-income tenants — to advance gentrification. Indeed, much of New Urbanism hinges on “reviving” blighted areas of a city with more upwardly mobile residents, with long-term residents simply not included at least and deliberately opposed at worst. A neig … [Read more...]

Bluff Your Way Out of the European Economic Community

Or, What did Brexit look like in 1988?Months ago, in the halcyon days of May, I was browsing the cheap shelves at Second Story when I came upon Bluff Your Way in the EEC. This is part of the Bluffer's Guide series, overgrown pamphlets designed to teach '80s people how to pretend they understand things like Philosophy, Accountancy, Feminism, Jazz, Japan, The Occult, and "Hi-Fi" (??). I grabbed this thing and a saint-of-the-day guide from I think the early '70s, which turned out to be a really … [Read more...]