—Aaron Cantú focuses on the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, social inequality and post-capitalist institutional design.
“States Moving Beyond U.S. Minimum Wage as Congress Stalls,” by William Selway & Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg, November 12, 2013.
Earning a minimum wage in an expensive city makes for a generally unpleasant experience—but although I’m grimly acquainted with this situation, I can’t fathom how difficult it must be for those supporting dependents. There are rumblings within congressional bodies across the country to increase the minimum wage as popular support has surged in favor of the idea. Those within the business sector often allege the old lie that raising the minimum wage “hurts the very people it’s trying to help;” true that in the short term some miserly businesses may cut their number of workers to shield the revenue stream for shareholders and higher-level executives, but it’s completely medieval to keep the minimum wage at its current level. Had the wage kept pace with either worker productivity or inflation, it would now be somewhere between $21.72 and $10.52.
—Owen Davis focuses on public education, media and the effects of social inequality.
“Socialize Social Media!” by Benjamin Kunkel. n+1, November 8, 2013.
In light of the frenzy of Twitter going public, n+1 senior editor Benjamin Kunkel underscores the need to view the digital spaces in which we socialize as publicly owned commons. Profits drawn from the sum of our social interactions, he argues, degrade the quality of these “public utilities” and constitute “a form of social rent.” He unfortunately glosses over the possibility (or inevitability) of government snooping, but, well, it’s a manifesto. He gets some slack.
—Omar Ghabra focuses on Syria and Middle Eastern politics.
“The Video-Game Invasion of Iraq,” by Simon Parkin. The New Yorker, November 13, 2013.
This account of an 18-year-old Iraqi student’s obsession with violent American video games, which he describes as his only escape from the continued devastation of his country, illustrates the ongoing effects of the bungled American invasion and occupation of Iraq through a more personal lens. With the death toll rising by the month due to reignited sectarian violence, it is important to read personalized accounts of the lives impacted behind the headlines listing the number of dead.