Alice Evans | The Great Gender Divergence | 21st January 2024
Modernisation theories predicted that cultural liberalism would follow economic growth. But wealthy societies like Malaysia and South Korea remain conservative. The answer lies elsewhere: societies with labour-intensive agriculture and strong kinship tend to be collectivist and conformist. Rice grown in Asia requires great coordination compared to wheat in Europe, which needs less labour (3,200 words)
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Maria Popova | Marginalian | 4th January 2024
Collective nouns for birds are very charming — “a deceit of lapwings”, “an ostentation of peacocks”, “an unkindness of ravens”. Many of these terms originate from The Book of Saint Albans, one of the first English books printed after the advent of the Gutenberg Press. Anonymously published in 1486, it eventually became known that the author was Juliana Barnes, a reclusive nun (1,900 words)