Category Archives: Society

The narrative that nonwhite people will soon outnumber white people in the U.S. is both divisive and false

Richard Alba, Morris Levy, and Dowell Myers write: In recent years, demographers and pundits have latched on to the idea that, within a generation, the United States will inevitably become a majority-minority nation, with nonwhite people outnumbering white people. In the minds of many Americans, this ethno-racial transition betokens political, cultural, and social upheaval, because… Read More »

Warren Buffett and the myth of the ‘good billionaire’

Anand Giridharadas writes: Warren Buffett appears to be the safest kind of billionaire: the good kind. Mr. Buffett is neither Zuckerbergian messiah nor Musky provocateur, neither Bezosist space cadet nor Sacklerian undertaker. He is, or seems to be, quiet, humble, indifferent to money, philanthropic and critical of the system that allowed him to rise. Years… Read More »

For most of human history, equality was the norm

Kim Sterelny writes: Most of us live in social worlds that are profoundly unequal, where small elites have vastly more power and wealth than everyone else. Very few of the have-nots find this congenial. As experimental economists have shown, we tend to enter social situations prepared to take a chance and cooperate in collective activities.… Read More »

America still undervalues public health

Ed Yong writes: During a pandemic, no one’s health is fully in their own hands. No field should understand that more deeply than public health, a discipline distinct from medicine. Whereas doctors and nurses treat sick individuals in front of them, public-health practitioners work to prevent sickness in entire populations. They are expected to think… Read More »

Covid pandemic: How rising inequalities unfolded and why we cannot afford to ignore it

Hyejin Kang/Shutterstock By Ian Goldin, University of Oxford Historian Walter Scheidel argues in The Great Leveler that pandemics are among the four great horsemen that, through history, have led to greater equality – the others being war, revolution and state failure. Economist Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century similarly points out that the… Read More »

The miracle of the commons

Michelle Nijhuis writes: In December 1968, the ecologist and biologist Garrett Hardin had an essay published in the journal Science called ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’. His proposition was simple and unsparing: humans, when left to their own devices, compete with one another for resources until the resources run out. ‘Ruin is the destination toward… Read More »

How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it

The Associated Press reports: Already battered by long shifts and high infection rates, essential workers struggling through the pandemic face another hazard of hard times: employers who steal their wages. When a recession hits, U.S. companies are more likely to stiff their lowest-wage workers. These businesses often pay less than the minimum wage, make employees… Read More »

Young adults’ relocations are reshaping political geography

The Associated Press reports: The choices by … members of the millennial generation of where to live have reshaped the country’s political geography over the past decade. They’ve left New York and California and settled in places less likely to be settings for TV sitcoms about 20-something urbanites, including Denver, Houston and Orlando, Florida. Drawn… Read More »

Hollywood’s anti-Black bias costs it $10 billion a year

Franklin Leonard writes: Days after a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, suffocated George Floyd and the video went viral, I watched my social media feed fill with blackout tiles and corporate publicity statements. They poured in from every industry, proclaiming solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Hollywood — where I have worked for almost… Read More »