What's in the Economist, Reason, and the New York Times Magazine.

What's in the Economist, Reason, and the New York Times Magazine.

What's in the Economist, Reason, and the New York Times Magazine.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
May 15 2009 6:06 PM

Work 2.0

Time on the future of American jobs.


Time, May 25 The cover package foretells the "future of work," predicting 10 ways that jobs in America will change. We already know "high-end talent" will be looking for alternatives to Wall Street. Past employment expectations—401(k)s, complete health coverage, "evergreen" retirement—will pass away in favor of a freelancer-friendly but less secure job market. Women will keep rising to the top as their consensus-building management style proves lucrative. And the corporate ladder will become a "lattice," with endless options for moving up, down, or sideways, depending on what life requires at the moment. An article finds 5 million American couples cohabiting as "committed unmarrieds." A few of these long-term couples remain unmarried as a gay rights statement but most have a "Why bother?" attitude. Studies show that cohabiting couples are twice as likely to break up as married ones, so the arrangement only works if both partners are equally committed to their nonlegal status.


Economist, May 16 The cover story argues that bank bailouts have set up a dangerous system in which financial institutions know they can take risks at taxpayers' expense. But rather than imposing draconian regulations to prevent future disaster, governments should focus on "sensible reorganization." Institutions that look like banks should be regulated like them, and none of them should be big enough to "hold the system to ransom." … An article surveys declining traditional news outlets and the online-business models likely to replace them. News itself isn't going anywhere. But the traditional news "package"—a blend of general-interest stories, plus sports, weather, and classifieds—is disappearing as aggregators make it easier for consumers to find exactly what they want. The restructuring will likely capitalize on the demand for niche content: Publications will present general stories for free online but will expect some readers to pay for specific types of news.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, May 17 An article profiles financial-advice guru Suze Orman, whose CNBC ratings are up 20 percent from last year. Her outsize celebrity is odd considering her "killjoy" message—Orman is famous for crusading against debt and excessive spending—but requests for advice keep flooding in. "She has figured out a way to channel an innate charisma and a televangelist's intensity into an otherwise bland message of fiscal responsibility." An article investigates how credit card companies are using psychology, based on vast databases of personal information, to get recession-battered debtors to pay up. Companies began using elaborate behavioral tests decades ago to determine which customers could be lured into a never-ending cycle of fees and unpaid balances and which ones might run up a huge tab and disappear. Now companies can predict with frightening accuracy which cardholders can be cajoled into making payments.


Reason, June 2009 An article by the former publisher of the Western Standard, a Canadian magazine, revisits his decision to reprint the Danish cartoons that infuriated Muslims in 2006. The Standard, which considered the media's self-censorship "cowardice masquerading as sensitivity," was the only Canadian publication to do so. After being investigated by the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the magazine uploaded videos of its questioning to YouTube, and a media storm forced the commission to dismiss its complaint. "My story isn't just about free speech," the author writes. "It's also about the way new technology has leveled the playing field between big government and private citizens." The cover story argues that massive alternative-energy spending has a long history of waste and overhype. "Instead of creating artificial alternative energy markets that depend on government support … policymakers should be focusing on removing barriers to the creation of revolutionary new technologies."

The Nation

The Nation, June 1 An article argues that the United Auto Workers union needs a dramatic plan for the nation's moment of crisis to win back public support. Walter Ruether, the union's "legendary" president, engineered the production of U.S. warplanes at Detroit's factories during World War II. The union could respond with a similar effort now to advance a fundamental restructuring: "For example, the UAW could forge a high-profile alliance with environmental groups to demand higher fuel standards." Most importantly, it should act "boldly and visibly," not just in backrooms. A column complains that "anguished valedictories" to the dying press are "like hearing the witches in Macbeth evoked as if they were the beautiful Aphrodite and her rivals vying for the judgment of Paris." Newspapers have long been more interested in profits than public service and have "obstructed and sabotaged efforts to improve our social and political condition."

Must Read
The New Yorker's study of "the science of self-control" is fascinating and offers numerous practical applications.

Must Skip
New York's cover story on the city's "withdrawal from money" is an overlong amalgamation of statistics and history that doesn't really lead to a coherent conclusion.

Best Politics Piece
The Economist's cover storymakes effortless sense of our troubled banks and suggests a clear, specific course of action.

Best Culture Piece
Esquire analyzes the complex modern woman and why she "doesn't want to have sex with you."

Serious Take on a Fluffy Topic
Ever groan when you saw another pseudo-scientific story on happiness on the cover of Time or Newsweek? The Atlantic's story on a 70-year Harvard happiness experiment is just what you've been waiting for.