Essays

Photograph: In the notorious Port-au-Prince slum of Cité Soleil, voters cast their ballots in Haiti’s 2006 national elections. CHARLES ECKERT / REDUX

One after another, arguments that non-Western countries are not “ready” for democracy have been upended by experience.

Rahul Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi and possible next Prime Minister of India, visits the Maldives. Photo by Maldives Presidency via Flickr

Its political class may not be up to the task of leading India toward prosperity.

Propelled by economic success and a sense of its own exceptionalism, India stands poised to create a new role for itself on the world stage. But Indians do not agree on what that role should be.

India’s leaders have instinctively looked to China for the secrets to national success. The impulse often serves them poorly.

These are hard times for those who live by the pen. But technology will not decide their fate. The future of writers—and the articles, novels, and nonfiction books they create—ultimately rests with those who read them.

During World War II, villagers in a French farming community rescued thousands of Jews and other refugees, while most Europeans spectacularly failed to hinder the genocides in their midst. What set the villagers apart?

A new and better approach to shaping the places in which we live has emerged just as Americans responding to the rising cost of energy begin to crowd into older suburbs and cities.

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Though Americans see upward mobility as their birthright, that assumption faces growing challenges, with consequences not just for the size of our wallets but for the tenor of our politics.

They’re long, exhausting, and sometimes appalling, but America’s raucous presidential campaigns are also testimony to the success of its continually evolving democracy.

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Take some favorable demographics, add a generous shot of American ingenuity, and stir in a very large quantity of natural gas, and you have the beginning of a bright new American future.

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