Business

Sink and Swim

Bankruptcy helps the undeserving—and that’s the way it should be.

Do CEOs Matter?

Steve Jobs, Apple’s ailing CEO, is scheduled to return to work this month after a six-month leave, but investors are feeling skittish. Every time he sneezes, shares of Apple catch a cold. Can a CEO—even one as talented and visionary as Jobs—really make or break a corporation? Many business scholars have grown skeptical of the idea of chief executive as superhero. Cutting-edge research reveals that while some CEOs clearly do make a big difference, many are merely the most visible cogs in complex machines.

Fashion in Dark Times

During the fashion boom that began in the 1980s, the relationship between fashion and its customers was the same as the one between art and its rich, often unlovely patrons: all that money sloshing around led to excessive consumption, but it also created a fertile soil in which works of beauty and integrity could develop. Last year that boom ended with breathtaking rapidity and finality. Luckily, a contingent of people at the heart of American fashion has for years been readying for post-crash style.

Hope Floats

As the recession blows a gale, the world’s most expensive cruise ship nears completion.

The Quiet Coup

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

The Gift-Card Economy

For some people, spending just doesn’t come naturally—especially in a recession. Behavioral economists have a solution

Why I Fired My Broker

With his 401(k) in ruins, our correspondent visits investment gurus, hedge fund managers, and a freakish Arizona survivalist with one question in mind: How can the ordinary investor recover?

The Fed's Cash Machine

The fiscal stimulus is puny compared with the actions the Fed has been taking behind closed doors.

The Con Game

Jeffrey Goldberg tells Bob Cohn why he bought gold, stocked up on lanterns, consulted a survivalist—and finally fired his broker.

Macroegonomics

Economic policy makers thought they had tamed the business cycle. Not quite. Let’s hope their hubris doesn’t get in the way of our economic recovery

Disassembly Line

The unbuilding of an auto plant

Quick Study

The freest market; lottery melancholy

Dirty Sexy Money

Is porn recession-proof?

End Times

Can America’s paper of record survive the death of newsprint? Can journalism?

Pop Psychology

Why asset bubbles are a part of the human condition that regulation can’t cure

Why Wall Street Always Blows It

The magnitude of the current bust seems almost unfathomable—and it was unfathomable, to even the most sophisticated financial professionals, until the moment the bubble popped. How could this happen? And what's to stop it from happening again? A former Wall Street insider explains how the financial industry got it so badly wrong, why it always will—and why all of us are to blame.

The Case for Debt

Public anxiety over “excessive” consumer debt has a long, and misguided, history. By Virginia Postrel

The Great Depression

Atlantic articles from the 1930s reveal how Americans reinvented banking, restructured the economy, and dealt with challenges unsettlingly parallel to those of today.

Infectious Exuberance

Financial bubbles are like epidemics— and we should treat them both the same way.

The 11 1/2 Biggest Ideas of the Year

Mr. Murdoch Goes to War

Rupert Murdoch wants his Wall Street Journal to displace The New York Times as the world’s paper of record. His ambitions could be good news for the newspaper industry— or another nail in the coffin of serious journalism.

Electro-Shock Therapy

With the Chevy Volt, General Motors—battered, struggling for profitability, fed up with being eclipsed by Toyota and the Prius—is out to reinvent the automobile, and itself.

The Next Slum?

The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements.

Letters to the editor

The Pleasure Principle

Newspapers should try giving readers what they want, not just what editors think they need.

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

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