Here are the best articles I’ve read this week. I plan to try to make this a weekly Friday evening/Saturday morning post.
1. Jeffrey Sachs at Project Syndicate making the case for investment in health and education. And also arguing against failed incarceration policies in the United States:
“Starting around 40 years ago, America’s politicians declared a “war on drugs,” ostensibly to fight the use of addictive drugs like cocaine. As the film clearly shows, however, the war on drugs became a war on the poor, especially on poor minority groups…..Instead of receiving social and medical assistance, they are arrested and turned into felons. From that point on, they are in and out of the prison system, and have little chance of ever getting a legal job that enables them to escape poverty. Their children grow up without a parent at home – and without hope and support.”
2. Bloomberg News has a great feature story on Iowa and Inequality:
“Farmland auctions in Iowa now resemble a dressed-down spectator sport with Sotheby’s prices, a reflection of the yawning divide that has opened in some of the most bountiful stretches of rural America. Farm earnings in the state and throughout the U.S. increased at eight times the rate of nonfarm wages from 2008 to 2011, fueling resentment and straining the social fabric of places with deep egalitarian roots.”
3. Christina Wolbrecht of the University of Notre Dame on why men are responsible for the gender gap.
“So if it’s not abortion and women’s issues, what causes the gender gap? One word: Men. Most explanations for the gender gap focus on women, implicitly assuming that men are the norm and any divergence from male behavior is an oddity to be explained….a big part of the answer appears to be divergence in preferences for social welfare policies, such as aid to the poor and elderly, health care, and so on. Unlike attitudes on women’s issues, polls reveal consistent gender differences in preferences for social welfare, with women more likely to express liberal positions.”
4. Tyler Cowen has an interesting piece on sports and the election:
“a win by the local team, in the week before an election, raises the vote going to the incumbent by around 1.5 percentage points. When it comes to the 20 highest attendance teams—big athletic programs like the University of Michigan, Oklahoma, and Southern Cal—a victory on the eve of an election pushes the vote for the incumbent up by 3 percentage points.”
5. Jim Wallis on George McGovern, who passed away this week at the age of 90:
“One was a question McGovern got from an aggressive professor of Christian apologetics who asked the senator how somebody who attended the liberal Garrett Theological Seminary could have an adequate view of the fallen state of human nature. McGovern surprised the evangelical leaders by giving a theologically knowledgeable and biblically balanced exegesis of the apostle Paul’s view of the human condition and then ended with a joke that broke up the house:
“So because I don’t fully subscribe to the theology of complete human depravity, and because Richard Nixon practices it, you’re going to vote for him?””