Progress and modernity


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Alt-Berlin, Waisenstraße (1927) by Hans Baluschek. Courtesy of the Märkisches Museum, Berlin/Wikipedia

Essay/
Cities
Money and modern life

Sociologist Georg Simmel diagnosed the character of modern city life: finance, fashion and becoming strangers to one another

Daniel Lopez

‘Culling Tea’ (c1869), attributed to Lai Fong (or Afong, Chinese, 1839-90). Courtesy The Met Museum, New York

Essay/
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

A Japanese-American shopkeeper and graduate of the University of California unfurled a banner proclaiming ‘I am an American’ in the window of his grocery store in Oakland, California, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This photo was taken three months later, just prior to the man’s forced removal to an internment camp. Photo by Dorothea Lange

Essay/
Political philosophy
The theorist of belonging

Judith Shklar fled Nazis and Stalinism before discovering in African-American history the dilemma of modern liberalism

Samantha Ashenden & Andreas Hess

Artwork by G Clausen. Photo by SSPL/NRM/Pictorial Collection/Getty

Essay/
Education
Classics for the people

A Classical education was never just for the elite, but was a precious and inspiring part of working-class British life

Edith Hall

Saint George and the Dragon (c1909-10), by Odilon Redon. Courtesy the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia

Essay/
History of ideas
Against disenchantment

The move away from myth and toward reason is an ancient human impulse. But must enchantment be the enemy of enlightenment?

Jason Josephson Storm

New York, 1982. Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Economics
The small business myth

Small businesses enjoy an iconic status in modern capitalism, but what do they really contribute to the economy?

Benjamin C Waterhouse

‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’. Photo by Gallery Stock

Essay/
Social psychology
The crisis of expertise

Experts are either derided or held up as all-seeing gurus. Time to reboot the relationship between expertise and democracy

Tom Nichols

Cards not accepted. A man counts his money at a floating vegetable market in Srinagar. Photo by Fredrik Naumann/Panos

Essay/
Economics
In praise of cash

Cash might be grungy, unfashionable and corruptible, but it is still a great public good, important for rich and poor alike

Brett Scott