The 10 Biggest Ideas of the Year

Atlantic writers survey the biggest stories on their beats See full coverage

Three years after the peak of the Great Recession, 2011 was a year of Great Confrontation. The "Arab Street" against the despots. Weak Europe against strong Europe. The House of Representatives against the White House. The global 99 percent against the global 1 percent.

When we studied the year's biggest stories to glean the year's biggest ideas, the theme of confrontation and juxtaposition was fresh in our brains. Maybe that's why our 10 final ideas emerged in tandem, spanning entertainment, political scandal (Women Are Funny vs. Men Are Pigs) culture, and technology (Institutional Failure vs. the Do-It-Yourself Revolution). Here are the ideas of the year:

>

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in National

Just In