Elsewhere

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson on "A World Without Work":

The U.S. labor force has been shaped by millennia of technological progress. Agricultural technology birthed the farming industry, the industrial revolution moved people into factories, and then globalization and automation moved them back out, giving rise to a nation of services. But throughout these reshufflings, the total number of jobs has always increased. What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.

In the Guardian, Barbara Ehrenreich argues that in today's America "only the rich can afford to write about poverty":

This impoverishment of journalists impoverishes journalism. We come to find less and less in the media about the working poor, as if about 15% of the population quietly emigrated while we weren’t looking. Media outlets traditionally neglected stories about the downtrodden because they don’t sit well on the same page with advertisements for diamonds and luxury homes. And now there are fewer journalists on hand at major publications to arouse the conscience of editors and other gatekeepers. Coverage of poverty accounts for less than 1% of American news...

Christopher Caldwell's review of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me is, to borrow a phrase, "required reading":

Coates has written a provocative book about one of the pivotal issues of our time: the confrontation between black youth and forces of order. With an Internet and grassroots campaign having arisen to delegitimize the latter, it would be surprising if the issue did not gather intensity in coming months. Coates’s contribution to the discussion is not well written or well reasoned or trustworthy. But it is politically engaged, and exhilarating in the way that political engagement is exhilarating. If the book itself tells us little about the issue, the reaction to the book among intellectuals tells us a lot. It is evidence that something is changing at the core of our literary culture. Either critics have lost sight that there is such a thing as an unworthy book on a worthy subject; or they are too terrified of being tarred as racists even to give an accurate description of a book about race.

Matthew Boudway is senior editor of Commonweal.

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