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no_such_thing_as_a_free_gift

No such thing as a free gift, by Linsey McGoey

Over the years I’ve talked about philanthropy a fair bit on the blog, from billionaire donors at The Giving Pledge, to more everyday generosity through Giving What We Can. I’ve explored the Effective Altruist movement, and the opportunities we all have to make a difference. I believe that the best use of wealth is to […]

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sliceofearth

The planet’s four quadrants

Last week I reviewed Paul Collier’s book The Plundered Planet, and I mentioned that he often has useful shorthand ways of explaining things. One of them that appears in the book is the four quadrants. The world has just short of 200 nation states, but Collier suggests you can divide them into four rough quarters: […]

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plundered-planet

The Plundered Planet, by Paul Collier

A few years ago I read Paul Collier’s book The Bottom Billion, and when I saw that his follow-up was about sustainability, it went on that long, long list of things to read. A couple of weeks back I spotted The Plundered Planet on my brother’s book shelves. I borrowed it, and have now slightly […]

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the-wealth-of-humans

Review: The Wealth of Humans, by Ryan Avent

The world is on the cusp of a digital revolution, argues Ryan Avent, and it will be just as transformative as the industrial revolution. It will overturn long held traditions about work, income, and politics. Depending on how we respond, we could end up with a more equal, more fulfilling future, or we could resort […]

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deface-the-currency

Deface the Currency, by Samuel Alexander

Diogenes of Sinope was a Greek philosopher who lived a life of radical simplicity some 2,300 years ago. While other philosophers spent their time in discussion, Diogenes turned his life into a kind of subversive performance art. He would walk backwards, heckle other philosophers, and lived in a clay wine barrel with almost no possessions. […]

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the-happiness-industry

The Happiness Industry, by William Davies

You don’t have to explore too far into the topics of consumerism or postgrowth economics before you bump into happiness metrics. It’s a popular theme, pointing out that happiness levels have been more or less the same for decades, despite a doubling of income and rising consumption. That has led some people to call for […]

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earth

Our small vertical world

The earth is so vast, how could human activity possibly damage it? That’s a sentiment I hear from time to time, usually in the local paper or on the radio, occasionally from friends. Isn’t it a bit arrogant to think that we little humans can affect a whole planet? I heard an argument along these […]

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doing-good-better

Doing Good Better, by William MacAskill

I’ve written a little bit about the Effective Altruism (EA) movement. For ordinary people who want to make a difference with their time and money, it’s one of the most useful ideas out there. If you’re such a person and haven’t come across it, I hope to convince you to look into it. The concept […]

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the glass cage

The Glass Cage, by Nicholas Carr

A couple of years ago I read The Shallows, a fascinating book on how the internet is changing the way we think. It was written by Nicholas Carr, and he has followed it up with a book about automation. In many ways it covers similar ground. Technology is not neutral, he argues. It empowers and […]

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prisoners of geography

Book review: Prisoners of Geography, by Tim Marshall

Geography has always shaped politics, determining where borders fall, where empires expand and where their ambitions stop. Perhaps it was more obvious in the past, and one might think that it is less important in an age of global connections, the internet and drone warfare. But here is journalist and author Tim Marshall to explain […]

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