The Economist, Picasso, Oligarchy, weightlifting, Seymour Hersh, Keynes on Marshall


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Obituary: Brian Beedham

Ann Wroe (?) | The Economist | 14th May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

As The Economist's foreign editor for 25 years, Beedham fought the Cold War from St James's Street, conscripting colleagues when required. "Articles that arrived on his desk with no clear theme were turned into something perfectly sharp and coherent. More annoyingly for authors, articles that were perfectly coherent were sometimes turned into pieces that said something quite different from what had been intended" (850 words)

Pricing Picasso

John Gapper | Financial Times | 14th May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

The only way to prove that you are cultured and wealthy enough to own a major Picasso is to buy one. "Auction houses prosper by holding it in front of you briefly, while offering to sell it to your rival." Five minutes later Les Femmes d'Alger is yours. Not cheap at $179m, but something with which to impress your best friends — a circle that expands overnight to include the world's top museum directors and art dealers (890 words)

Do We Want People To Work More?

Matthew Yglesias | 13th May 2015

Thoughts on wealth and power. "The issue is not what ideology the state formally adheres to but who, in practice, the policy process is accountable to. If it's accountable to a narrow band of rich people that is worse than if it is accountable to the interests of average people. If it's accountable to an even narrower band of elite party members, that's even worse. But effective, accountable government is good for both equality and growth" (730 words)

Starr Light, Starr Gone

Marty Gallagher | Starting Strength | 13th May 2015

Eulogy to weightlifter and sportswriter Bill Starr, "a counter-culture radical operating within an athletic context". Starr wrote for Strength and Health magazine in the 1960s when S&H was "the finest source of progressive resistance information on the planet". He was "truly a lifting monk". When he turned later to mysticism and country music, his grey hair, pallid skin and sharp fingernails gave him "the appearance of a muscular vampire" (2,400 words)

An Interview With Seymour Hersh

Isaac Chotiner | Slate | 13th May 2015

Whatever you might think of Hersh's piece on Bin Laden (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden) , by which the scandal arrived, this interview rings true to a cringe-making degree, and will stand as a classic of its genre — the interview with the uncooperative subject, who is duly paid back by having all of his hesitations, curses and asides left in the transcript. It it not going to do Hersh's reputation any favours, but it gives new life to the word 'cratchety' (2,600 words)

J.M. Keynes on Alfred Marshall

John Maynard Keynes | Economic Journal | 1st September 1924

From the archives. Keynes's obituary of Alfred Marshall, author of Principles of Economics, exemplifies both Keynes's easy mastery of complex ideas and his condescension towards others less facile: "The task of expounding the development of Marshall's Economics is rendered difficult by the long intervals which generally separated the initial discovery from the final publication in a book to the world outside" (PDF) (15,000 words)

Video of the day: Fractal Lab 2015

What to expect: Tom Beddard manipulates wow-making 3D fractals in a browser window (16')

Thought for the day

Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be believed
Beachcomber

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