A brief conversation with 2 students crystallized for me why two things I have been doing in my classes for a while work well, and I want to recommend them to other teachers; and also make a recommendation for students.

Background to the conversation. The class is very small, just 14 people (this is unusually small — my normal class sizes are around 25, 80-100, 150-170). R&M live together; G, who is also in the class, lives with them. They have a 4th roommate, MA. Class was once a week on Wednesday nights.

R: “MA might come to class on Wednesday. I mean, it’s like she’s in the class, so she might as well just come along”
Me: “What do you mean?”
M: “Well, we all just argue about class in our apartment for half the week, and she can’t really avoid it”
R: “Yes, as soon as the memos start coming in on Sunday, we start reading them to see what everyone says”
M: “We always look to see what S [a very poised, provocative, freshman] says, because at least one of us will disagree with her”
R: “And even if M and I agree, G always disagrees with us. Our apartment is just full of argument from Sunday through Wednesday”

So what are the two things I do?

[click to continue…]

Safe Harbor and the NSA

by Henry Farrell on December 16, 2015

Abraham Newman and I have a piece in the new Foreign Affairs, discussing the Safe Harbor decision, and arguing that it’s really an example of the US finding some of its own preferred extraterritorial rules being used against it. Since Foreign Affairs allows me to put the whole piece up for a few months, here’s the full text for anyone who’s interested …

[click to continue…]

*Capital in the Twenty-First Century* was a classic as soon
as it was published.[^21] It deserves a place on bookshelves beside its
illustrious namesake of the 19th century. Capital, in
*Capital*, is the wealth of nations. It extends beyond
firms’ traditional productive capital to encompass the entire public and
private patrimony that can be sold on a market (thus excluding
non-transferable forms of capital such as human, cultural and social
capital). The book is the culmination of fifteen years of individual and
collective research on the evolution of income and wealth inequalities.
Thanks to data based on the collection of income tax, Thomas Piketty and
his colleagues had already widely explored income inequality in France,
the United-States, India, China, and more generally in the world by the
early 2000s, fuelling a unique and remarkable dataset: the *World
Top Incomes Database.* However, this work focused on income
rather than wealth, and hence provided an incomplete account of economic
inequality. This new book fills in this gap in a very timely fashion. [click to continue…]