How does criticism affect popular culture?

Popularity is slippery, and shouldn't be confused with quality, says critic A.O. Scott.

  • Popularity has a funny way of correcting or reversing itself, says journalist and film critic A.O. Scott. It's a weird and fickle index—never identical to quality, though it can coincide with it.
  • Movies like Avatar that are capitalist consumer hits can fade over time. Meanwhile works that were initially passed over can be dredged out of forgotten corners to glory many years later.
  • Moby Dick is an example of how critics can turn the tide of popularity, for better and for worse. First, critics dismissed Moby Dick and it was forgotten until a resurgence of interest by critics many years later. It's now a staple of American literature.
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How much does it cost to save a life?

Our personal choices can help to effectively combat poverty, says Peter Singer.

  • For the amount it costs to save one life in the United States, several hundred or a thousand lives could be saved in developing countries.
  • You can make small sacrifices to fuel your personal philanthropy. Instead of giving, "we're buying ourselves things that we don't really need," says philosopher Peter Singer. "Things that might range from expensive cars to simply buying bottled water when we can drink the water out of the tap."
  • Peter Singer is the founder of The Life You Can Save, an organization that aims to help change the culture of giving in affluent countries and increase donations to reputable and effective nonprofits.
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To build a circular economy, we need to put recycling in the bin

Recycling is linear, but the economy shouldn't be.

Jason South/The Age via Getty Images

Too often the concept of a circular economy is muddled up with some kind of advanced recycling process that would mean keeping our industrial system as it is and preserving a growing consumption model.

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How to build a fairer gig economy in 4 steps

Gig workers suffer from low pay, wage theft, precariousness, dangerous working conditions, and discrimination.

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You've probably heard at least two things about the gig economy.

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We have the tools and technology to work less and live better

We can produce more stuff with less labor. So why are we still working?

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In 1930, a year into the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes sat down to write about the economic possibilities of his grandchildren.

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