An essay [NYT] by Kate Bowler, author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, following her diagnosis with stage 4 cancer. The prosperity gospel has taken a religion based on the contemplation of a dying man and stripped it of its call to surrender all. Perhaps worse, it has replaced Christian faith with the most painful forms of certainty. [more inside]
Every January 24, Alasitas or La Feria de la Alasita, a fair specific to Bolivia and especially La Paz, commences. Though its origin is somewhat unclear (Spanish-language), for the next three weeks, the fair will draw Bolivians seeking material abundance ("Alasita" translates as "buy me" in Aymara) in the year ahead by buying miniatures at the fair of those things they want and giving them to Ekeko, the Aymara god of prosperity, represented by a small figurine (Spanish-language video) covered in all the goods the petitioner would like to receive. As with a number of cultural and culinary items of the region, there is some debate as to whether Alasitas is properly Bolivian or Peruvian (Google translation).
Buying useful things, like roads and universities and health care and solar energy and spaceships, should be better stimulus than fighting wars.
"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs. I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously) on Why Liberalism Works.
The Global Middle Class Is Bigger Than We Thought A new way of measuring prosperity has enormous implications for geopolitics and economics.[...] the number of passenger cars in circulation serves as the most reliable gauge we have about the size of a country's middle class.
A former witch-doctor who now campaigns to end child sacrifice confessed for the first time to having murdered about 70 people, including his own son. Human sacrifice is on the increase in Uganda, and according to the head of the country's Anti-Human Sacrifice Taskforce the crime is directly linked to rising levels of development and prosperity, and an increasing belief that witchcraft can help people get rich quickly. Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo believes that "to punish retrospectively would cause a problem... if we can persuade Ugandans to change, that is much better than going back into the past." [more inside]
Ladies And Gentlemen… Dow 25,000! A few years ago, some financial wizards thought the good times would go on and on and on. The mega-market could bring Dow 30,000 or Dow 36,000. Maybe the real estate boom will not bust.
High salaries and rising property values in Sodom and Gommorah? There Goes the Neighborhood: How and Why Bohemians, Artists and Gays Effect Regional Housing Values.