Branko Milanovic | Global Inequality | 10th July 2020
An “equally educated, experienced, and hard-working” Malian earns five times less than her French counterpart, simply because of the wealth of their countries. “In fact, around 60% of our lifetime incomes is determined by country of citizenship.” The value of a rich-country citizenship has increased at the same time that its traditional obligations — actually living in the relevant country, and participating in its political life — have fallen away. “Citizenship has thus been effectively reduced to financial rent alone” (1,291 words)
Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein | The New Republic | 7th July 2020
Chicken processing in America is monopolised in each region by one of three companies: Tyson, Perdue, and Pilgrim’s Pride. Chicken farmers sign contracts “crammed with devastating stipulations”: processors pay what they want, and farmers can’t bargain; farmers can’t discuss their prices; processors decide which feed the farmers must use, and also own the feed companies. Across American business, “heavily monopolized markets make a joke of choice” among consumers and small businesses (2,948 words)
Mark Dominus | Plover | 5th July 2020
Perhaps worth noting the author’s disclaimer that “any factual claims in this article might be 100% wrong,” but interesting nonetheless. Learn a few now-defunct letters—yogh, thorn and edh—and some changes in the uses of u, v, w and y. “If you can’t figure out a word, try mashing on the vowels a little.” Second-person singular verbs end in -st, third-person singular verbs in -th, e.g. I do, thou dost, he doth. Many words will be old-fashioned but still recognisable. Read aloud, “it sounds better than it looks” (2,540 words)
Zeke Faux | Bloomberg | 1st July 2020
On the craft of cat-burglary. The town of Lynn, Massachusetts saw burglary as a trade and an art, and Sean Murphy “wanted to be the best the town had ever seen. He abstained from alcohol, mostly, and didn’t use any of the painkillers he stole.” His name has become a verb, to murph, meaning “to cut communications lines and block wireless transmitters.” During one stint in prison he wrote “an instruction manual titled Master Thief: How to Be a Professional Burglar, which he planned to sell to wannabes” (5,512 words)
Peter Stone | The Paris Review | Winter 1981
Those most beautiful words: “temporarily ungated Art of Fiction interview.” On writing: “in journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In fiction, one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference.” On how he got started: “By drawing. By drawing cartoons. Before I could read or write.” On the Nobel prize, one year before winning: “I think that for me it would be an absolute catastrophe. I would certainly be interested in deserving it, but to receive it would be terrible” (9,030 words)
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Browser Editor Robert Cottrell is taking a well-earned summer break; this week, the Browser was edited by Uri Bram and Jordan Olmstead, with video selections by Nontsikelelo Mapoma audio curated by Lindelani Mbatha.