December 1997

Robert D. Kaplan, “Was Democracy Just a Moment?”; Alan S. Blinder and Richard E. Quandt, “The Computer and the Economy”; Paul R. Ehrlich et al, “No Middle Way on the Environment”; Jonathan Scull, “All Sales Are Vinyl”; and much more.

  • Was Democracy Just a Moment?

    The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

  • No Middle Way on the Environment

    The authors, environmental scientists, warn that in the debate between "cornucopians" and informed prophets of the dangers posed by overconsumption, splitting the difference won't work -- and that the cornucopians are wrong.

  • Doggone

    Reflections on an unlikely family heirloom

  • Almanac

    Government December 31: A new security measure for domestic flights is scheduled to take effect today. According to a mandate from the Federal…

  • The Computer and the Economy

    Will information technology ever produce the productivity gains that were predicted?

  • But Not Least

    In tribute to those who are forgotten but not gone

  • Rails to Trails

    Across America disused railbeds are being converted to trails for hiking and biking. Soon a national trail will link the coasts

  • Pleasure Islands

    The Canaries offer different visions of the sublime

  • All Sales Are Vinyl

    Shopping for LPs in the many villages of downtown New York City

  • Sweetness and Light

    Wines for dessert that are neither cloying nor overwhelming.

  • The Idea of the South

    The American South may be joining the national parade, but writing about the South still tries to establish its distinctiveness

  • Toward a New Public School

    REINVENTING PUBLIC EDUCATION: How Contracting. Can Transform America's Schools by Paul T. Hill, Lawrence C. Pierce, and James W.…

  • 77 North Washington Street

    MORE than thirty years ago, in August of 1967, an essay by a distinguished thirty-seven-year-old novelist and critic then teaching at the State…

  • Letters

    A Grief Like No Other. Classical Appeal. Critical Theory. A Grief Like No Other. It's a shame that Eric Schlosser's well-placed compassion…

  • At Last Count

    RECENT discussions of the nation's physician work force have focused on its imbalance -- the oversupply of specialists and the…

  • Word Watch

    A selection of terms that have newly been coined, that have recently acquired new currency, or that have taken on new meanings, compiled by the executive editor of the


The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."


What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.


Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

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