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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Jesuits in the boardroom | Aeon
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Economic history

Jesuits in the boardroom

As corporations struggle to survive in a more uncertain world, they should look to the success of the Society of Jesus

Paolo Quattrone

Ever more land and labour | Aeon
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Global history

Ever more land and labour

Centuries of capitalism saw the global countryside ruthlessly converted into cheap commodities. But at what cost?

Sven Beckert & Ulbe Bosma

Peter Singer on Hegel and Marx | Aeon
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History of ideas

Peter Singer charts the path from Hegelian philosophy to Marxist revolution

43 minutes

History by numbers | Aeon
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History

History by numbers

Is history a matter of individual agency and action, or of finding and quantifying underpinning structures and patterns?

Claire Lemercier & Claire Zalc

The ungreat replacement | Aeon
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Demography and migration

The ungreat replacement

Workers in the West have indeed been repressed – but not by immigrants. The policies of their own governments are to blame

John Rapley

Primitive communism | Aeon
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Anthropology

Primitive communism

Marx’s idea that societies were naturally egalitarian and communal before farming is widely influential and quite wrong

Manvir Singh

The Midas Disease | Aeon
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Ethics

The Midas Disease

Corruption is a truly global crisis and the wealth addiction that feeds it is hiding in plain sight

Sarah Chayes

The chimney swift | Aeon
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Economic history

The perilous lives of the ‘climbing boys’ who swept chimneys in 19th-century London

5 minutes

The worldly turn | Aeon
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Economics

The worldly turn

After generations of ‘blackboard economics’, Berkeley and MIT are leading a return to economics that studies the real world

Tom Bergin

How we became weekly | Aeon
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Economic history

How we became weekly

The week is the most artificial and recent of our time counts yet it’s impossible to imagine our shared lives without it

David Henkin

A fourth globalisation | Aeon
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Economic history

A fourth globalisation

A new form of trade is reshaping our world, and it’s driven by the movement of bits and bytes, not goods, around the globe

Marc Levinson

In praise of possibility | Aeon
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Thinkers and theories

In praise of possibility

For the political economist Albert O Hirschman, democracy thrives not on strong opinions but on doubt and flexibility

Michele Alacevich

After slavery | Aeon
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Global history

After slavery

Abolition in Africa brought longed-for freedoms, but also political turmoil, economic collapse and rising enslavement

Toby Green

Rich witches | Aeon
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History

Rich witches

How a flawed logic of economic scarcity and social climbing spurred witch hunts in early modern Germany

Johannes Dillinger

The tyranny of work | Aeon
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Work

The tyranny of work

Jobs have become, for so many, a relentless, unsatisfying toil. Why then does the work ethic still hold so much sway?

Jamie McCallum

Last acre | Aeon
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Architecture

A world of shacks and shanties is a place of makeshift beauty on England’s margins

12 minutes

Economics for the people | Aeon
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Economic history

Economics for the people

Against the capitalist creeds of scarcity and self-interest, a plan for humanity’s shared flourishing is finally coming into view

Dirk Philipsen

Thirty glorious years | Aeon
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Economic history

Thirty glorious years

Postwar prosperity depended on a truce between capitalist growth and democratic fairness. Is it possible to get it back?

Jonathan Hopkin

Time-based currency by Robert Owen | Aeon
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Economic history

One banknote per hour of work – Robert Owen’s utopian reboot of money

4 minutes

The billionaire curse | Aeon
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Poverty and development

The billionaire curse

Philanthropy is vital – but its mechanisms are as intricate and troubling as the baroque structures of high finance

Katharyne Mitchell

Counting China | Aeon
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Economic history

Counting China

By rejecting sampling in favour of exhaustive enumeration, communist China’s dream of total information became a nightmare

Arunabh Ghosh

The fist of modernity | Aeon
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Progress and modernity

Modern policing was set up to protect the powerful from a ‘criminal underclass’

22 minutes

Tea and capitalism | Aeon
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Economic history

Tea and capitalism

The China tea trade was a paradox: a global, intensified industry without the usual spectacle of factories and technology

Andrew Liu

Private gain must no longer be allowed to elbow out the public good | Aeon
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idea

Economics

Private gain must no longer be allowed to elbow out the public good

Dirk Philipsen