NLR 71

Wolfgang StreeckThe Crises of Democratic Capitalism

The roots of today’s Great Recession are usually located in the financial excesses of the 1990s. Wolfgang Streeck traces a much longer arc, from 1945 onwards, of tensions between the logic of markets and the wishes of voters—culminating, he argues, in the international tempest of debt that now threatens to submerge democratic accountability altogether beneath the storm-waves of capital.

Dylan RileyTony Judt: A Cooler Look

Few Anglophone intellectuals have received such posthumous acclaim as the Director of the Remarque Institute, leading contributor to the New York Review of Books, and late champion of social-democracy. Regularly compared to George Orwell, if not Isaiah Berlin, does any careful examination of his oeuvre sustain such panegyrics?

William DaviesThe Political Economy of Unhappiness

As the bill for mental health problems—iconically, depression—climbs, economists seek to quantify the efficiency costs of unhappiness. In such quests, capitalism is reverting to classical psychologies of well-being, the better to neutralize the meaning of the new forms of illness—and its authorship of them.

Mark ElvinChina’s Multiple Revolutions

Beneath the dramatic social, political and military turmoil of China’s last two centuries, Mark Elvin suggests, lay a series of existential crises amid the collapse of established pillars of authority, whose most vivid expression can be found in two largely forgotten novels of the 1920s and 1970s.

Andy MerrifieldCrowd Politics, Or, ‘Here Comes Everybuddy’

From Joyce to Lefebvre, sign-posts to a morphology of the demonstration in the age of Twitter and Facebook. Is the city still the indispensable arena of any collective uprising, and what would it mean to claim a ‘right’ to it?

Jacob EmeryArt of the Industrial Trace

Looking down at man-made landscapes from an airplane window: entry-point to an allegorical materialism, mapping art onto its double in production? The role of the indexical in earthworks, crop art and aerial photography, and the limits it places on allegory.

The Mythologian

Perry Anderson on Patrick Wilcken, Claude-Lévi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory. Deciphering the life and thought of the anthropological mage.

Dresden’s Clocks

Fredric Jameson on Uwe Tellkamp, Der Turm. Reunified Germany’s best-seller from the former DDR, and the way time was lived in it.

The Gadfly

Steven Lukes on John Hall, Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography. Heterodoxies, philosophical and sociological, of England’s outstanding post-war emigré.