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.