Joyless economies: Slavery, feudalism, and unregulated capitalism

Modern capitalism is a "very silly" way of organizing life, says Yanis Varoufakis.

  • Wealth inequality in modern capitalism creates a joyless economy for both the rich and the poor, says Yanis Varoufakis.
  • Wealth inequality in a time of economic abundance makes society less civilized. More evenly distributed resources allow humans to create the literature, art and intellectual works that make human life richer.
  • The universalized depression and stress caused by inequality is "incongruent with our fantastic advances at the technological level," says Varoufakis. "It's a very silly way of organizing life."
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Short-term thinking is politics’ most epic failure

Has the Republican Party forgotten its past?

  • The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in Wisconsin as the "party of reform". It was the first U.S. political party to be founded by women as well as by men, the first party to support suffrage, and the first party to support equal rights. It was the party of Abe Lincoln! So what changed?
  • In the 1970s, Ronald Regan made the mistake that ultimately dooms all political parties: He made a short-term decision for instant gratification. The party decides to focus on getting the more immediately profitable voter share of white men.
  • Jill Lepore isn't just picking on Republicans. This problem is large and widespread. "Both of them [Republicans and Democrats] are pretty willing to trade their constituencies out for short-term gain," says Lepore. Businesses and non-profits fall apart in the same way. The cost of short-term thinking has devastatingly long-term effects.
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How our definition of freedom has changed

Freedom and democracy are great, but our understanding of what those things are has changed a lot since we came up with them.

Pericles' Funeral Oration (Philipp von Foltz)
  • Philosopher Ben Constant explains how democracy today is nothing like what it used to be.
  • His arguments show us that debates around what freedom actually is can go in very strange directions.
  • Remember how busy the Athenian citizens were next time you think there are too many questions on the ballot.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Kanye West’s 13th Amendment outburst was baffling, but worth considering

Kayne West's tweet that the United States should amend the 13th Amendment brought renewed attention to a flaw in its language.

(Photo by Twitter)
  • On Sunday, rapper Kanye West tweeted that we should abolish the 13th Amendment, later backtracking that he meant "amend."
  • The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, but its punishment clause allowed an exception for convicted inmates.
  • The punishment clause isn't the exception but the rule, one that many argue continues America's slavery tradition to this day.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Women are more likely to survive a crisis than men

Girl babies may have one distinct advantage over boy babies. But what is it?

Credit: Getty Images.

We know that women live longer than men on average, no matter what culture or region of the world we focus on. In many places, they live a full decade longer. And this isn’t a newly discovered phenomenon. Historical records state this was so throughout history. Several studies have looked into it. But scientists are still wondering, is there a biological reason? Or does it have to do with how women are socialized?

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Technology & Innovation