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  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Time Magazine: Was Marx right?

    Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless” manufacturing, offered everybody from Silicon Valley tech gurus to Chinese farm girls ample opportunities to get rich. Asia in the latter decades of the 20th century witnessed perhaps the most remarkable record of poverty alleviation in human history — all thanks to the very capitalist tools of trade, entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Capitalism appeared to be fulfilling its promise — to uplift everyone to new heights of wealth and welfare.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Michael Lind: Private Sector Parasites

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation. You don’t have to be a Tea Party conservative to believe that the economy is threatened when there are too many “takers” and not enough “makers.” The “takers” who threaten the dynamism and fairness of industrial capitalism the most in the twenty-first century are not the welfare-dependent poor—the villains of Tea Party propaganda—but the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.

  • Originally published 02/11/2013

    Richard White: Americans Didn’t Always Yearn for Riches

    Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, is author, most recently, of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America.Speaking in New Haven in 1860, Abraham Lincoln told an audience, “I am not ashamed to confess that 25 years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat—just what might happen to any poor man’s son.” After his death, Lincoln’s personal trajectory from log cabin to White House emerged as the ideal American symbol. Anything was possible for those who strived.

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Why Philanthropy Matters

    Via Flickr.On Sunday, January 27, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his latest donation to Johns Hopkins University. His $350 million gift will be the largest in the university's history. Over the last four decades Bloomberg has given $1.1 billion dollars to his alma mater, a truly staggering amount of money. This makes him the most generous donor to any educational institution in the United Sates.Reading Bloomberg's giving pledge letter sheds light on what he hopes to accomplish by giving money away. "If you want to fully enjoy life -- give. And if you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the the single best thing -- by far -- is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children. Long term, they will benefit more from your philanthropy than your will. I believe the philanthropic contributions I am now making are as much gifts to my children as they are to the recipient organizations." Bloomberg has set up a foundation to give away the bulk of his $25 billion fortune before he dies.

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