Seven big myths about school systems

The man in charge of the PISA tests, Andreas Schleicher, says the evidence from around the world reveals some big myths about what makes for a successful education system. 1. Disadvantaged pupils are doomed to do badly in school Results show that the 10% most disadvantaged 15-year-olds in Shanghai have better maths skills than the…

Seven Reasons Why the Left is Losing

Is the (American) left capable of political success right now? What follows is a roundup of critiques offered in the spirit of “I want a country where the best versions of left and right are vying against one another.” It is neither exhaustive nor definitive. But I hope that it can serve a starting point…

10 Right-Wing Lies on Taxation

Modern conservatives have been lying about taxes pretty much from the beginning of their movement. Made-up sob stories about family farms broken up to pay inheritance taxes, magical claims about self-financing tax cuts, and so on go all the way back to the 1970s. But the selling of tax cuts under Trump has taken things…

Why the military draft makes no sense anymore

Bringing conscription back from the cold After less than ten years from the suspension (in 2010), in March Sweden has decided to reintroduce the military draft, starting in 2018 from the 1999 cohort. The main reason for this change resides in the rising tensions in the area, mainly given by the pressure of Russia and by the recent developments in the…

Ecologia politica – pt. 2

Appunti su una visione del mondo (e della politica e dell’economia) – commenti all’antologia (2009) di André Gorz (qui la parte 1): 3. L’ecologia politica tra espertocrazia e autolimitazione (1992) “A differenza dei sistemi industriali, l’ecosistema naturale possiede una capacità autogeneratrice e autorganizzatrice che gli permette di autoregolarsi e di evolvere nel senso della complessità e della diversità crescenti….

Ten Readings on Meritocracy

#1 –  Meritocracy and Economic Inequality Eds. Kenneth Arrow, Samuel Bowles, and Steven Durlauf –  Princeton University Press (2000) “This volume of original essays by luminaries in the economic, social, and biological sciences, however, confirms mounting evidence that the connection between intelligence and inequality is surprisingly weak and demonstrates that targeted educational and economic reforms can reduce…

The Seven Excuses Of Highly Paid CEOs

I have been writing about executive remuneration for 30 years and have seen the best-paid bosses resist nearly every proposal aimed at slowing the upward movement in their pay. I have counted seven ways highly paid chief executives try to keep their critics away from intervening to limit their earnings. #1: We are worth it…

Tom e Nance

Fine giugno 2011, Sanlitun, Pechino. Pranzo con un amico, ci raccontiamo le vicende e i pensieri degli ultimi mesi. Mi capita di citare un libro appena letto. Parlava di America. “Conosco Tom dal 1957, quando eravamo due piccoli bifolchi che arrivavano in quella che oggi viene chiamata scuola media. Come moltissimi proletari dell’America profonda, Tom…

Il Miracolo

È pomeriggio, passeggio accanto al Duomo. D’improvviso un’ovazione s’infila nello spiraglio lasciato aperto dalle cuffiette. Una folla di adolescenti, ragazzi e ragazze, molti scortati da qualche genitore, esulta ammirata verso il negozio di libri e cd. Molti hanno in mano un libro – lo stesso libro -, e un pennarello. “Ma chi c’è?”, chiedo a un papà in fila….

Un sogno senza pace

“E poi venne l’11 settembre, e gli americani ebbero la sensazione che il loro mondo andasse a gambe all’aria.  Con la giustizia alle spalle e il mondo al nostro fianco, in poco più di un mese scacciammo il governo talebano da Kabul. I membri di al-Qaida fuggirono, o vennero catturati o uccisi. Era un buon…