‘Now is the Time of Monsters’: The Painful Birth of a New World Order

President Trump calls the WTO a “disaster” and NATO “obsolete,” and seasoned diplomats and foreign policy experts react with reasoned disdain and moral contempt. His tweets and remarks are said to be reckless, needlessly destructive, and further proof—as if any … Read more

Eating Identity: Nourishment and the Cultural Contexts of Food

We eat for nourishment, but food is about much more than nutrition. What we eat is meaningful, and food is an especially intimate area of daily life, tightly linked to our conceptions of self. Think about your own food preferences: … Read more

Third Wave Coffee and the Formation of Taste (and Value)

“Orange blossom, white tea, syrupy” “Grapefruit, spicy pepper, olive oil” “Chocolate, red berries, roasted barley”   The language used to talk about new high-end coffee comes straight out of the wine world, with exotic and evocative descriptors and even a … Read more

Imagining the Future & Economic Fictions

“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living,” Marx remarked in The Eighteenth Brumaire, and although we may all make our own futures, we do not make them just as we please. … Read more

Health, Culture, and Wellbeing: Beyond Seeing Culture as Obstacle

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” And yet, for much of its history, it has (understandably) focused on eradicating disease … Read more

Key Words for Understanding the Germany Economy

We often speak of “capitalism” or “the market” as if they are singular things. We are comfortable talking about how the economy is doing, if “it” is up or down today. And in this globalized world it would seem that … Read more

Third Wave Coffees and Maya Farmers in Guatemala

$500 a pound coffee? Yes, the very best coffees these days are selling for astronomical prices. The $500/lb lot (from El Injerto in Guatemala) was a record, but the Wall Street Journal recently reported on the rising auction prices for … Read more

Measures for the Good Life: Stated Preferences and the Greater Good

The goal of the economy, politics, and social institutions should be to promote wellbeing among people as broadly as possible. Yet, the questions remain: what exactly is wellbeing? and, How do we measure it for public policy purposes? Economists privilege … Read more

The Political Economy of Malnutrition

Almost half of Guatemalan children under five are malnourished, the vast majority rural Maya kids. This is a hidden human tragedy of epic proportions, each of these lives stunted – corporeally and figuratively – just as they are getting started. … Read more

Higher Pleasures, the Work of Wellbeing, and Public Policy

Perhaps the good life is not a state to be obtained, but, as Aristotle suggests, it is the the pursuit and the journey that give meaning and fulfillment. Striving for the good life involves the arduous work of becoming: creating … Read more