The Coming Revolution in Africa
Let’s celebrate for a moment the great victory that’s being won over poverty in the developing world, where the share of the population living on less than $1 a day tumbled from 40% to 18% between 1981 and 2004. That remarkable achievement also serves to remind us how far there is to go from $1 a day, how many have been left behind, and how little billions of dollars in foreign aid from the United States and others have had to do with the progress that has occurred.
The Coming Revolution in Africa
A rising generation of small farmers promises not only to put food on the African table but to fundamentally change the continent’s economic and political life.
More Stories From This Issue
Moving: A Great American Tradition
Whether in covered wagons or station wagons, Americans have always hit the road, driven by the belief that a better life lies over the hill and around the bend.
The Brain: A Mindless Obsession
Despite stunning advances in neuroscience and bold claims of revelations from new brain-scan technologies, our knowledge about the brain’s role in human behavior is still primitive.
How Freud Conquered America, Then Lost It
Bizarrely, it was World War II that brought psychiatry, and more specifically, psychoanalysis, into the mainstream of American culture.
The Micromagic of Microcredit
It’s wishful thinking to believe that tiny loans to people in developing countries can end poverty, but microcredit does improve the lives of millions in small but meaningful ways.
Ordeal in Iran: An Interview with Haleh Esfandiari
On December 30, 2006, Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program, was stopped and robbed on her way to the Tehran airport.Trapped in Iran without a passport, she was interrogated by intelligence agents almost daily for six weeks and was then placed in solitary confinement.
East Egg Moves West
Sociologists have explored virtually every aspect of the poor and middle class, but they are finally beginning to study the enclaves of the rich.
New York, Immigration 101
New Yorkers pride themselves on a tradition of successfully absorbing immigrants, even if the story is not always quite true.
Time for Plan B
Since the end of the Cold War, the foreign policy establishment has stood solidly behind international activism. It's time to admit the experiment has failed.
Safer Than ‘Nam
The new kind of war being fought in Iraq has resulted in much lower troop deaths compared to earlier conflicts, but woundings are still alarmingly high.
Geezers on the Court
Supreme Court justices used to serve shorter terms, either because of death or semi-graceful retirement. Now the average tenure surpasses a quarter-century, and many think term limits are in order.
Winemaking is the latest industry to witness global production, with no end in sight.
Stay Inside the Box
Managers are always encouraging workers to "think outside the box," but studies suggest that most people are not very good at unstructured, abstract brainstorming.
The False Promise of Curbside Recycling
Cities that launch expensive curbside recycling programs, as opposed to having residents bring their recyclables to a regional center, get little extra for their money.
Debunking the Stereotype: Not so High in Vietnam
The American public bought into a sensationalized media portrait of addicted Vietnam soldiers. Alcohol was more of a problem, but the stereotype persists.
The Limits of Liberal Islam
Westerners think that separation of church and state is a natural condition, but it isn't. Thomas Hobbes provided an exhausted Europe with a secular solution, but Muslims experienced nothing similar among their thinkers.
What’s Actually Happening to the Snows of Kilimanjaro?
The shrinking glacier on Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro are, for many, including Al Gore, a prime example of global warming. But scientific study shows the truth is much more complex.
How “Frankenstein” Came to Life
How could 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley have concocted a horror tale for the ages? Many now think she had a very good editor: her husband.
A Pox Upon Brooklyn?
A critic has uncovered a warm, fuzzy strain infecting modern literature. It seems centered in Brooklyn.
The Rose, Orange, and Tulip revolutions in three former Soviet Republics, says a political scientist, have amounted to little more than a limited rotation of the ruling elites.
The Downside of Diversity
Although it is alluring to think that living in diverse communities fosters tolerance and social solidarity, Harvard sociologist Robert D. Putnam, of “Bowling Alone” fame, says the evidence points overwhelmingly in the opposite direction.
The Religious Shall Multiply
Culture and economics tend to encourage low population growth. These days, the only people still having lots of babies seem to be the deeply religious.
First Lady Abigail Adams was a shrewd speculator who pressed and wheedled her husband, John, to get out of farmland and invest in bonds.
What it means to be “clean,” and how that’s changed over time
“Cleanliness is next to godliness” doesn’t mean what you think it does.
Everybody’s business: Why it’s so hard to keep secrets nowadays
The Internet has created a reputational economy as well as an electronic one.
Reviewing Janet Malcolm's book on Gertrude Stein and her long-time companion Alice B. Toklas, in which Malcolm comes close to declaring Stein an artistic fraud.
The Mortal Nation
In a new book on the American Civil War, reviewer Robert Wilson finds it was “the shared suffering” of the North and South that “finally made the nation one again.”
Lost and Found
A new biography of explorer Henry Morton Stanley uncovers "the truth behind the myth," and "paints a sympathetic portrait of the ultimate self-made man."
“Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough,” says a character in the film classic Chinatown. Reviewer Aaron Mesh concludes that movies have been around long enough to join the list.
An Artist’s Intuition
A young writer's book about the scientific clairvoyance of artists every bit as insightful as the ideas of his subjects.
Poverty is not the root cause of Islamist terrorism
“As a group,” Krueger notes, “terrorists are better educated and from wealthier families than the typical person in the same age group of the societies from which they originate.”
The Melting Pot of Queens
Mimi Schwartz reviews a new guide to Queens, the largest of the city’s five boroughs and the second most populous (after Brooklyn). The book's author calls it “the most heterogeneous place in the world.”
Why God Won't Die
Jay Tolson reviews a new book by Charles Taylor, "a profoundly learned thinker (who is also a believing Christian)" that tries to explain the persistence of religion in a secular world.
A Day In the Life of a Human Body
A new book examines a day in the life of the body, and reviewer Sharman Apt Russell appreciates its many "intriguing byways—orgasms, napping, the common cold, and nightmares."
How numbers rule our lives
Trying to come to grips with the myriad ways that numbers rule our lives, and to understand that some thinking is better done by human than computer.