Robert Brenner (UCLA): What is Good for Goldman Sachs is Good for America: The Origins of the Current Crisis (and more). From The Economist, of debt and deadbeats: A new culture war is brewing over capitalism; and disenchantment with work is growing — what can be done about it? More on Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft. An excerpt from This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. A review of No Way to Run an Economy: Why the System Failed and How to Put it Right by Graham Turner. Priced to Go: James Surowiecki on Amazon vs. Wal-Mart. From Economic Principals, was Henry George right after all? (A shaggy dog story). Would a new bill bringing back Glass-Steagall prevent another banking meltdown? Edmund Phelps on the road to prosperity and sound markets. A review of Billions of Drops in Millions of Buckets: Why Philanthropy Doesn't Advance Social Progress by Steven Goldberg. Want to keep companies honest, make the markets work more efficiently and encourage investors to diversify? Let insiders buy and sell. A review of Boom Town: How Wal-Mart Transformed an All-American Town Into an International Community by Marjorie Rosen. Hate Wall Street, Love Wall Street: Explaining America’s schizoid relationship with financial institutions. Free market protectionism: Ha-Joon Chang on the limits of capitalism. The guiding myth underpinning the reconstruction of our dangerous banking system is: Financial innovation as we know it is valuable and must be preserved — single-handedly, Paul Volcker has exploded this myth.

From The New Yorker, Louis Menand on Arthur Koestler and his century. From Harper's, Luke Mitchell on understanding Obamacare; and Gideon Lewis-Kraus is on the frontiers of federalism and dope. From Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens write in defense of foxhole atheists: It’s no secret that conservative Christians dominate the U.S. military, but when higher-ups start talking about conversion missions, it’s time to worry. Andrew Potter on the rise of Culture 2.0. We take pictures, therefore we are: A review of The Framed World: Tourism, Tourists and Photography. Harold Meyerson on America's decade of dread. The “perfect” apology, if there is such a thing, can be whittled into three pieces, each of which is well illustrated in a letter that Emily Post dreamt up for 1922’s Etiquette. A review of Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War by David H. Price. Learning to Text: Don’t LOL at death, and other tips. Tiger Woods is the reason Americans cannot get universal health care — allegorically speaking. From Saturday Evening Post, an article on plane crashes, the Libyan desert, and children’s literature. The Family Jewels: In time for Christmas, a look at Christianity's best relics. For those concerned with the “Death of West,” some comfort can be found in the fact that what is taboo in western Europe and America is a national priority in the Russian Motherland. A look at how feminine beauty thrives on competition. A look at why tops Google results. Hanna Rosin on how Oral Roberts launched the prosperity gospel (and more).

From Strange Maps, faith and reason, usually jostling for primacy over one another, unite on a map to describe [t]he Earth-sphere after the Deluge; and is there a name for the obscure, but strangely alluring hobby of spotting animal shapes in geographic features? Strange Maps: Frank Jacobs on California as an island, utopia in the shape of a skull, and other cartographic curiosities. From Dark Roasted Blend, an article on unusual and marvelous maps: Hideous monsters devouring ships? Cryptic symbols, correctly showing storm fronts & dangerous currents. A review of The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography by Katharine Harmon. Cloud of Atlases: Maps without legends may not be immediately informative, but determining what they represent is extremely fun. Cracked and Gone: An article on the world’s largest map. A pocket guide to prehistoric Spain: Engravings on a 14,000-year-old chunk of rock may be the oldest map in western Europe. A review of The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America its Name by Toby Lester (and more). Drawn half a millennium ago and then swiftly forgotten, one map made us see the world as we know it today and helped name America — and changed the way people thought about the world. Can Google Earth save an indigenous tribe with maps? A review of Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS are Changing Historical Scholarship.

From Artforum, a look at the best of 2009 and the best books of 2009. An interview with Steven Henry Madoff, editor of Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century). How the King of Pop changed the course of American dance by transforming its past. A review of 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western by Alex Cox. He broke the mold: You don't see great public sculptors like Augustus Saint-Gaudens anymore. With a little help from Picasso: A look at how Dali cracked the Morse code. After over a decade, the explosion of museums, concert halls and performing arts centers is pretty much over. From THES, a review of The Rhetoric of Modernism: Le Corbusier as a Lecturer by Tim Benton; and a review of Martha Hill and the Making of American Dance by Janet Mansfield Soares. A review of Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy by Paisley Livingston. In the arts, bigger buildings may not be better. The shape of things to come: Design is more than aesthetics and ease of use — it's a way of doing business. PopMatters’ inaugural "Director Spotlight" series kicks off with a true bang: Pedro Almodovar. Tom Jacobs says psychology provides some suggestions as to why so many artists transgress ethical boundaries. Indie-music cult figure and recent art-world discovery Daniel Johnston is a complex outsider artist, haunted by lost loves and fears of Satan. Dancing about architecture: A meditation on possibly futile artistic pursuits. The angel’s crime: Colin Davis on the ethical devastation of Renoir’s Le Crime de Monsieur Lange.

Why Dubai matters: Sure, it will pay a hefty price for its debt woes, but the city-state's open economy has attracted legions of foreign investors and serves as a model for its Gulf neighbors (and more). Dubai, the brashest of the seven emirates, is facing something of a midlife crisis  — but can the dream be reinvented? Daniel Gross on why the world is overreacting to the Dubai crisis. From The American, what Dubai can learn from Vegas: Sin City and the Sheikhs’ playground on the creek have many similarities, but the differences are worth considering and may indicate how each may weather the global economic peril; and a warning from the desert with more to come: Dubai is but one of many ticking economic time bombs likely to explode. Letter from Dubai: The glitzy, puffed-up peacock of the Middle East is imploding — don’t gloat. Chris Lehmann on how Dubai, $80 billion in debt, is sliding into the sea. The sand settles over the stand-alone facades that advertise Dubai’s formerly burgeoning suburban developments. Dubai's technologically and aesthetically dazzling metro has already upset this rich Emirate’s rigid social hierarchy. Why did Abu Dhabi bail out Dubai World? Though they are kinsmen, they also are rivals — in return for its $10 billion bailout, Abu Dhabi may seek more control over Dubai (and more). A review of Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond by Christopher Davidson.

From Scientific American, an in-depth reports on the Internet at 40. Has the Internet brought us together or driven us apart? Johann Hari investigates. The decade Google made you stupid: Douglas Rushkoff on Internet-driven ADD, virtual-reality delusions, and how computers changed how you think. From NYRB, Robert Darnton on Google and the new digital future. A review of Inside Larry and Sergey's Brain by Richard L. Brandt. More and more and more and more and more on Googled: The End of the World As We Know It by Ken Auletta. Eric Schmidt on how Google can help newspapers: Video didn't kill the radio star, and the Internet won't destroy news organizations — it will foster a new, digital business model. Google’s Earth: How a search-engine startup became a global powerhouse — and why you should be worried about it. The New Good Guys: Murdoch and Microsoft are on the right side against the Google (and more and more). An analysis of Wikipedia entries reveals the world's knowledge deserts, which may provide a second wave of activity for the online encyclopedia. Is Wikipedia dying?: The world's fifth-most-popular website relies almost entirely on volunteer labor — and the volunteers are quitting. Nicholas Ciarelli on the myth of Wikipedia democracy. Leif Harmsen isn't just anti-Facebook — he's so against the social networking site, the gay artist has created a "Shut Your Facebook" T-shirt line just to drive the point home. Finding old versions of web pages could become far simpler thanks to a "time-travelling" web browsing technology.

Alex Rosenberg (Duke): The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide To Reality. From Popular Mechanics, a look at how plane crash forensics lead to safer aviation. An interview with legendary magazine designer George Lois. Even hard-core skeptics can't help but find sympathy in the fabric of the universe — and occasionally try to pull its strings. Paul Krugman on Paul Samuelson, the incomparable economist (and more and more). Who you calling a "midget"? Little people take a stand against the offensive word — and a world that thinks it's OK to mock them. A review of Clark Clifford: The Wise Man of Washington by John Acacia. Here are 7 insane true stories behind the world's most WTF houses. Read Local: As the broader publishing world flounders, alternative presses are turning to their communities for support. How small nations were cut adrift: After the Great Recession, the economic and political tide has turned against small nations; it is Iceland, Ireland and the three Baltic states that have fared worst. A look at cunning ways public radio stations convince you to give them money. Here are some of the toys from recent decades that have caused crazes —  and others that in retrospect seem just plain crazy. A review of The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History by Gregory Zuckerman. From n+1, a review of Caleb Crain's The Wreck of the Henry Clay. Edward O'Donnell writes in praise of “Happy Holidays”. Right-wing talkers go for the gold: James Grant mourns the loss of his beloved classical gold standard and says paper money has had its day.

From the Holmes Lecture series at Harvard Law School, Jeremy Waldron (NYU): Why Call Hate Speech Group Libel?; Libel and Legitimacy; and What Does a Well-Ordered Society Look Like? How could disappointment in one's country inspire increased loyalty? The first chapter from Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State by Anna Stilz. Liberalism does not imply democracy: Jeremy Gilbert debates Rosemary Bechler. Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt): Can Liberals Take Their Own Side in an Argument?; and the introduction to Democracy and Moral Conflict by Robert Talisse (and more). A review of Democracy Kills: What's So Good About the Vote? by Humphrey Hawksley. A review of The Life and Death of Democracy by John Keane (and more). The first chapter from Philosophy, Politics, Democracy by Joshua Cohen. From The Nation, a review of Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel (and more and more and more and more) and The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen (and more at Carnegie Council and more from TNR). Rawlsian Relay: Amartya Sen declares the Ideal State useless — but four months on, its resilience as an idea begins to intrigue. The echo of Judith Shklar's Ordinary Vices can hardly be measured in terms of high-impact journal articles, yet impact there certainly was. The first chapter from On Compromise and Rotten Compromises by Avishai Margalit (and more). A review of Toward a Humanist Justice: The Political Philosophy of Susan Moller Okin. Don't look to economists to get us out of this hollow mould of neoliberal economics and managerialism; we need to be looking to political philosophy.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Indonesian Social Sciences and Humanities is out. From Inside Indonesia, locating culture in the church: Minahasan Christians reinterpret their cultural history and identity through religion; and the media portrays women who marry terrorists as victims, but the reality is far more complex. The Colonized Mind: In Java, Indonesia’s traditionally relaxed Islam has lost ground to an assertive new orthodoxy. Facing down the fanatics: A more tolerant Islam is confronting extremism in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. How to let Islam and the West live in harmony: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia, sees tolerance-building as a central task of the 21st century. From stability to chaos in Indonesia: President Yudhoyono is not only indecisive, but potentially complicit in abuse of power and corruption. A look at the curious case of Indonesia's "democracy": Indonesians have democracy, but some still miss the old authoritarian days. Corruption in the Indonesian government and forestry sector threatens to undermine plans to establish a carbon trading market. Sooty success: Rising demand from China and India is stoking Indonesia’s exports of coal. Better REDD than dead: Indonesia is taking a bigger role in its CO2 responsibilities. In Indonesia, raise a flag, go to prison: Happy independence day in West Papua? A look at why Indonesian kids are crazy for punk. Duke University Press releases Surviving Against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia, a book by anthropologist S. Ann Dunham, the late mother of President Obama (and more and more). A young Obama statue is officially unveiled in Indonesia.

A new issue of The Quarterly Conversation is out. From VQR, Tom Bissell on the case against Robert D. Kaplan. I am become Death, destroyer of worlds: The story of how the dinosaurs disappeared is getting more and more complicated. The economic argument for never giving another gift: Joel Waldfogel, the author of Scroogenomics, explains why holiday shopping is a drain on the wallet and the holiday spirit (and more and more). A new study may explain why the England soccer team keeps losing in penalty shootout. Brian Sholis reviews American Power by Mitch Epstein. A review of Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture by Geoffrey Hughes Wiley-Blackwell. From TPM, no offence, but you’re a loon, says Wendy M. Grossman; and Mathew Iredale discovers why myth-busting doesn’t work. From Time, a look at the Top 10 Everything of 2009. Let's hear it for hipster beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon has made a comeback during the downturn, becoming the cheap beer of choice among hipsters. A review of The Culture of Knitting by Joanne Turney. The latest thing in grave robbing: Increasingly, what tempts the larcenous isn’t what a grave contains; it’s the grave itself. Just how pro-choice is America, really? (and more) My So-Called Riot: Doing time at the Mock Prison Riot, where 700 prison guards face down rioting inmates played by hardened volunteers — like Dave Gilson. Sally Quinn is back with another column which will certainly be of interest to the 0.01 percent of the population that gives a shit about “the spirit of entertaining”.