The Trillion-Dollar Auction to Save the World

ILLUSTRATIONS: ISRAEL G. VARGAS By GREGORY BARBER Ocean creatures soak up huge amounts of humanity’s carbon mess. Should we value them like financial assets? YOU ARE SEATED in an auction room at Christie’s, where all evening you have watched people in suits put prices on priceless wonders. A parade of Dutch oils and Ming vases has gone to financiers and shipping magnates and oil funds. You have made a few unsuccessful bids, but the market is obscene, and you are getting bored. You consider calling it an early night and setting down the paddle. But then an item appears that causes … Continue reading The Trillion-Dollar Auction to Save the World

The Swedish theory of love

Solna Centrum subway station, Stockholm. Photo by Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos All countries must balance the freedom of individuals with the demands of the community. Sweden’s solution is unique Lars Trägårdh is professor of history at Uppsala University, Sweden. His most recent book, co-authored with Henrik Berggren, is The Swedish Theory of Love: Individualism and Social Trust in Modern Sweden (2022). It was confusing. When the novel coronavirus hit the world in early 2020, Sweden of all countries chose to ignore the global consensus that favoured lockdowns and severe restrictions. Better known for its interventionist welfare policies, Sweden suddenly seemed to have become a … Continue reading The Swedish theory of love

The Secret History And Strange Future Of Charisma

Refael Idan Suissa for Noema Magazine How our culture, politics and technology became infused with a mysterious social phenomenon that everyone can feel but nobody can explain. BY JOE ZADEH In 1929, one of Germany’s national newspapers ran a picture story featuring globally influential people who, the headline proclaimed, “have become legends.” It included the former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and India’s anti-colonialist leader Mahatma Gandhi. Alongside them was a picture of a long-since-forgotten German poet. His name was Stefan George, but to those under his influence he was known as “Master.” George was 61 years … Continue reading The Secret History And Strange Future Of Charisma

The Steep Cost of Cleaning Up California’s Oil Sites

Top: Oil and gas activities on public lands in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Visual: Bob Wick/BLM A recent study estimates that the cost of onshore clean up could be triple the industry’s projected profits. BY MARK OLALDE FOR WELL OVER a century, the oil and gas industry has drilled holes across California in search of black gold and a lucrative payday. But with production falling steadily, the time has come to clean up many of the nearly quarter-million wells scattered from downtown Los Angeles to western Kern County and across the state. The bill for that work, however, will vastly exceed all … Continue reading The Steep Cost of Cleaning Up California’s Oil Sites

The empty basket

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Economics is the language of power and affects us all. What can we do to improve its impoverished menu of ideas? By Ha-Joon Chang, is research professor of economics at SOAS University of London. His books include 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism (2011), Economics: The User’s Guide (2014) and Edible Economics (forthcoming, 2023) In 1986, I left my native South Korea and came to Britain to study economics as a graduate student at the University of Cambridge. Things were difficult. My spoken English was poor. Racism and cultural prejudices were rampant. And the weather was rubbish. But the most … Continue reading The empty basket

Recreational Fishing Industry Won’t Slow Down for Right Whales

Top: A North Atlantic right whale calf, about a month old, was killed by a sportfishing yacht in February 2021. That year, it was estimated that the whales’ population had dropped to 340 members. Visual: Tucker Joenz/FWC/NOAA Fisheries permit #18786 Proposed, science-backed speed limits could save whales. But boating advocates push back, citing economic impacts. BY DARREN INCORVAIA ALONG THE EASTERN COAST of North America, North Atlantic right whales and boats navigate the same waters, which can get dicey for both. Fully grown, the whales can top out at more than 50 feet and weigh 140,000 pounds. A midsize, 58-foot-long pleasure yacht weighs … Continue reading Recreational Fishing Industry Won’t Slow Down for Right Whales

Reviving The Realm Of Czars And Emperors

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping during a reception at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21. (Pavel Byrkin / SPUTNIK / AFP) Civilizational identity stands behind Xi and Putin’s front against a liberal world order. BY NATHAN GARDELS – Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine. Where a host meets his guests reveals the context in which he wants to be regarded. The background decor of the chosen setting is more than a telling detail. It is the writing on the wall.  In the case of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the image of power they want … Continue reading Reviving The Realm Of Czars And Emperors

At the Kremlin in 1943

Stalin presented Orthodox leaders with a proposal: the Soviet state that had destroyed their Church would bring it back Russian Orthodox Monks, Zagorsk, USSR 1958. Photo courtesy Cornell Capa, International Center of Photography/Magnum Kathryn David is a historian with the Office of the Historian, US Department of State. She was formerly a Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. The views presented here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of State or the US government. She is working on the book One Ukraine, Under God. In September 1943, as … Continue reading At the Kremlin in 1943

How Nature Can Help Cities Survive

Top: The central downtown district of Singapore. Visual: Calvin Chan Wai Meng/Moment via Getty Images Book Review – Ben Wilson’s “Urban Jungle” is a nuanced history of urban ecology, and its vital role in the climate-change era. BY RICHARD SCHIFFMAN CITIES ARE AT WAR with the natural world. To build them, forests are razed, streams get buried underground, wetlands are filled in, and wildlife gets exiled to the suburbs and beyond. Worst of all, Ben Wilson reports in “Urban Jungle: The History and Future of Nature in the City,” the residents of cities are outsized consumers of the Earth’s resources, responsible for three quarters … Continue reading How Nature Can Help Cities Survive

Banks For The People

Ingo Pohl A movement is growing in the U.S. that seeks alternatives to traditional banks, replacing their total focus on profit with a devotion to community and justice. BY PIPER FRENCH – Piper French is an independent writer based in Los Angeles. Gregory Jost noticed the first two bank branches close in the Bronx about six months before the pandemic. They were right next to each other: a Chase and a Bank of America, about three blocks from his son’s school in Norwood, and one day, he walked by and saw they were gone. When COVID hit, the trend accelerated. “We … Continue reading Banks For The People