The 10 Biggest Ideas of the Year

By Derek Thompson
2011 Year in Review bug
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:

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