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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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When Did Everyone Start Thinking About Money All the Time?

September 16, 2012, 5:32 PM

What's the Latest Development?

How much of what we now consider our daily news was once known more narrowly as financial news? Bloomberg, CNN Money, Fortune, Forbes and even NPR, which has a program called "Planet Money," encourage us to think that social and individual progress is measured by whether there is more or less money at the end of the day. The omnipresence of financial news is a characteristic of late-capitalism, especially since the financial crisis of 2007 created a wake of distrust, after which the middle class has been forced to become intimately familiar with their money—using bankers' obfuscating vocabulary, of course. 

What's the Big Idea?

Once an economy begins to rely on consumerism for fuel, the imperative to generate wealth becomes at once larger and more abstract. Or so wrote John Maynard Keynes' biographer Robert Skidelsky. Co-written with Keynes' son Edward, the pair argue that our appetite for stuff we don’t need shackles us to "continuous, objectless wealth-creation—something that did not exist in earlier times, and that remains, in some sense, peculiar to capitalism." Michael Sandel, currently a professor of government at Harvard, has argued that when we define success in monetary terms, it becomes more difficult to function using other lexicons. 

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