Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Matthew Yglesias and moderator Charles Duhigg explore the idea on Big Think Live.

Is immigration key to bolstering the American economy? Could having one billion Americans secure the US's position as the global superpower?

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How four British migrations defined America

They came from different places and with different ideas, which still resonate today.

Credit: Geni.com
  • Early British settlement of the American colonies came in four distinct waves, from different places.
  • Puritans, Cavaliers, Quakers, and Borderers had their own ideas of what America should be.
  • Some of the cultural fault lines in today's America can be traced back to those differences.
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US, Russia, China won't join global initiative to offer fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. Why not?

The U.S., China, and Russia are in a "vaccine race" that treats a global challenge like a winner-take-all game.

  • More than 150 countries have joined an initiative to develop, produce, and fairly distribute an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But China, Russia, and the U.S. have declined to join in a bid to win the vaccine race.
  • The absence of these three economies risks the success of the global initiative and future collaborations.
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    Study: Private prisons result in more inmates, longer sentences

    The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.

  • After adopting strict sentencing laws in the '80s and '90s, many states have turned to for-profit prisons to handle growing prison populations.
  • A new study in Labour Economics found that privately-run prisons correlate with a rise in incarceration rates and sentence lengths.
  • While evidence is mixed, private prisons do not appear to improve recidivism or cost less than state-run facilities.
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    Almost 300,000 guns sold without background checks as pandemic overwhelmed system

    The 'Charleston Loophole' has likely allowed thousands of guns to end up in the hands of people who would have failed a federal background check.

    Credit: Scott Olson / Getty
    • In 2020, both gun sales and gun violence have increased on a year-over-year basis.
    • Amid surging demand for guns, a recent report from the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety suggests that the nation's background-check system has been overwhelmed.
    • One likely consequence: nearly 300,000 people were able to buy guns without passing a background check.
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