It used to be that big mansions and fancy jewelry were the consummate signs of wealth, but new research shows that people are increasingly spending their wealth on less “conspicuous” forms of consumption. In today’s world, it pays more to signal your status with things like health care and education and nutrition. How did this change come about? And what does effect does it have on the rest of the population who can’t afford these new status symbols?
In this episode, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett helps us walk a mile in the shoes of today’s “aspirational class” and see how they’re spending their wealth…and how it accelerates the rat race for the rest of society.
Continue reading “Our American Discourse, Ep. 30: How Do the Rich Spend Their Money and Why Has It Changed?”
What Lies Behind Netanyahu’s Bluster on “1967 Borders” — Juan Cole
Lots of countries are unhappy with their borders. Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait in 1990 in part because he felt that the British had erred in not giving modern Iraq a deep water port, which made Iraq ‘indefensible’ and put it at an economic disadvantage. Pakistan believes that its failure to secure the headwaters of the Indus Valley rivers in Kashmir in 1947 puts it at a permanent disadvantage vis-a-vis India and makes the country overly vulnerable (‘indefensible’). Netanyahu’s immoral argument that a country just has to take by main force whatever it feels will make it more secure is astonishing and is a standing danger to world peace if it were taken seriously by other countries.
“Bibi” Votes Republican — Patrick J. Buchanan
Obama was not saying the 1967 borders were to be the end of negotiations but the starting point. Indeed, where else would one begin land negotiations if not from the last recognized map?
Palestine’s Hidden History of Nonviolence — Yousef Munayyer
It wasn’t until nonviolent protests were met with severe repression that Palestinian guerrilla movements began.
Here Comes Your Nonviolent Resistance — The Economist
So now we have an opportunity to see how Americans will react. We’ve asked the Palestinians to lay down their arms. We’ve told them their lack of a state is their own fault; if only they would embrace non-violence, a reasonable and unprejudiced world would see the merit of their claims. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of them did just that, and it seems likely to continue. If crowds of tens of thousands of non-violent Palestinian protestors continue to march, and if Israel continues to shoot at them, what will we do? Will we make good on our rhetoric, and press Israel to give them their state? Or will it turn out that our paeans to non-violence were just cynical tactics in an amoral international power contest staged by militaristic Israeli and American right-wing groups whose elective affinities lead them to shape a common narrative of the alien Arab/Muslim threat? Will we even bother to acknowledge that the Palestinians are protesting non-violently? Or will we soldier on with the same empty decades-old rhetoric, now drained of any truth or meaning, because it protects established relationships of power? What will it take to make Americans recognise that the real Martin Luther King-style non-violent Palestinian protestors have arrived, and that Israeli soldiers are shooting them with real bullets?