Where does the New Deal fit in the big picture of American history? What does it mean for us today? What happened to the economic equality it once engendered? In The Great Exception, Jefferson Cowie provides new answers to these important questions. […Learn More]
The story of how economic reasoning came to dominate Washington between the 1960s and 1980s—and why it continues to constrain progressive ambitions today
For decades, Democratic politicians have frustrated progressives by tinkering around the margins of policy while shying away from truly ambitious change. […Learn More]
How we became so burdened by red tape and unnecessary paperwork, and why we must do better.
We’ve all had to fight our way through administrative sludge–filling out complicated online forms, mailing in paperwork, standing in line at the motor vehicle registry. This kind of red tape is a nuisance, but, as Cass Sunstein shows in Sludge, it can also also impair health, reduce growth, entrench poverty, and exacerbate inequality. Confronted by sludge, people just give up–and lose a promised outcome: a visa, a job, a permit, an educational opportunity, necessary medical help. In this lively and entertaining look at the terribleness of sludge, Sunstein explains what we can do to reduce it. […Learn More]
Psychologists have long understood that social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, often for the worse. But social influence is a two-way street―our environments are themselves products of our behavior. Under the Influence explains how to unlock the latent power of social context. It reveals how our environments encourage smoking, bullying, tax cheating, sexual predation, problem drinking, and wasteful energy use. We are building bigger houses, driving heavier cars, and engaging in a host of other activities that threaten the planet―mainly because that’s what friends and neighbors do. […Learn More]
The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. That image of the law does not match the reality in the courtroom, however. Much of the time, it is prosecutors more than judges who control the outcome of a case, from choosing the charge to setting bail to determining the plea bargain. They often decide who goes free and who goes to prison, even who lives and who dies. In Charged, Emily Bazelon reveals how this kind of unchecked power is the underreported cause of enormous injustice—and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. […Learn More]
From the bestselling author of There Are No Children Here, a richly textured, heartrending portrait of love and death in Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods.
The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity—and the breaking point—of the human heart and soul. […Learn More]