Jill Lepore’s one-volume history of the U.S.

“Think of the American republic as a railroad train,” writes Bruce Ackerman in the first volume of his constitutional history of the U.S., “with the judges of the middle Republic sitting in the caboose, looking backward.” Time passes, the political and judicial landscape changes, judges come and go. But all the while the judges are […]

A limited version of objectivity worth defending

Objectivity was a major topic at the Nieman Foundation’s 80th anniversary event this weekend, especially during a panel on the line between activism and journalism. Nieman Reports has a new(ish) article on that subject, too. “Impartiality”, “fairness”, and “accuracy” were all terms that came up as possible replacements for “objectivity.” The article and the event […]

Romer and Nordhaus

There are many tie-ins between the two: both are “doers,” there are similarities in how they made their case within and beyond their field, and both worked on externalities — with Nordhaus most famous for his work on negative environmental externalities and Romer most famous for his description of positive externalities in the form of ideas. […]

‘The most common and durable source of factions’

Of the many causes of faction, there is one that James Madison called out in particular: So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions, and excite their most violent conflicts. But […]

Notes on internet organization and production

This post has been updated as I’ve thought more about these distinctions. My point in writing this post is both to note that there are internet-based models of organization and production other than the much-discussed “platforms,” and to distinguish a few different kinds of platforms. All of this is based just on my own reading and thinking. I’m […]