Best of the Moment
William Dalrymple | New Statesman | 5th July 2013
Review of An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions, by Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen. "Fabulously comprehensible" analysis of India's backsliding. "Their thesis is simple: India’s failure to equal the success of China’s hyper-development is due in large part to the failure of the state to provide essential public services. In a few years, India has gone from what seemed to be imminent world economic domination to merely a 50-50 bet”
Daniel Hannan | Telegraph | 4th July 2013
"Neither Paul Revere nor anyone else could have shouted 'The British are coming' in 1775: the entire population of Massachusetts was British (what the plucky Boston silversmith actually yelled was 'The regulars are out!') The overall level of taxation in the colonies in 1775 was barely a fiftieth of what it was in Great Britain. The Boston Tea Party, which sparked the violence, was brought about by a lowering of the duty on tea"
Susan Berfield | Business Week | 3rd July 2013
Story behind the introduction of the McDonald's McWrap, "a 10-inch, white-flour tortilla wrapped around 3 ounces of chicken, lettuce, spring greens, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and cheddar jack cheese". Everything was focus-grouped, from the name to the dressing. First time cucumbers have been used in a McDonald's product. Gently does it. “We talked a lot about the veggies. But we went too far. People thought it was a salad”
Dana Goldstein | Daily Beast | 2nd July 2013
Review of Doing The Best I Can, by Kathryn Edin and Timothy Nelson, on the lives of poor single fathers in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J. They do love their children, they want to spend time with them, but they cannot or will not support them. "Lower-class fathers have tried to bargain for a wholesale reversal of gender roles, in which dads are the soft, emotional parents and moms are the tough, pragmatic ones"
Justin Fox | Harvard Business Review | 4th July 2013
If you tried to deduce American values from the behaviours that are subsidised or penalised by current fiscal policies, you'd conclude, among other things, that this is a nation which: doesn't want fellow-citizens to have more children; doesn't want young people to go to college; does want corporations to keep their money outside the country; does want people to drive a lot; and does want people to be fat
Megan Amran | McSweeney's | 4th July 2013
American history recapped as if it were a television series. "It may have veered off wildly from the pilot, but America is definitely worth a look. It’s an interesting experiment in the world of primetime sovereign nations. What the characters lack in consistency, they make up for in body weight, lingering racism, and inconsistency. But it makes for a quick and easy viewing, and can often surprise you with heartfelt turns"
Thought for the day:
"Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing" — Norman Mailer