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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

No We Can’t

Daniel Geary
Barack Obama had all the qualities that make for a great president. Competent, incorruptible, calm yet decisive, he had a genuine care for how his governance affected ordinary people. He was truly a once-in-a-generation politician ‑ which makes his failures only more disheartening.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:54 PM

News from Nowhere

Michael Foley
Some of what passes for news comes not from ‘the coal face’ but from the fevered brains of its inventors. In a guide to news in the era of fake news Alan Rusbridger says Murdoch’s Fox News will have a ‘special place in journalistic hell’ for its Covid coverage, which contributed to numberless deaths.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:40 PM

Not for Gain Alone

Max Skjönsberg
Edmund Burke is often regarded as the father of political conservatism, but his views were in many ways quite different from those of a more recent Tory icon: society not only existed but was a sacred partnership between the living, the dead and those who were yet to be born.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:25 PM

An End to Growth

Tom Lordan
The catalyst for the growth of the world economy, manufacturing, which sparked into life in the nineteenth century and generated vast amounts of wealth, has finally exhausted itself, a new book argues. But will the end of growth also necessarily imply the end of work?
Jan 7, 2021, 16:43 PM

From Drift to Decadence

John Fanning
It has plausibly been suggested that we now have the capability to transform the five fundamentals of the global economy ‑ information, energy, transport, fuel and materials ‑ into sustainable production at minimal costs compared to the present. The problem is that we lack the will.
Jan 7, 2021, 16:39 PM

The C Word

Paul O’Mahoney
American business has been striking a newly pious note, emphasising its duties towards customers, employees, suppliers, communities. Unsurprisingly, there is nothing about the state, or a corporation’s obligation to pay taxes that can be used for the benefit of citizens.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:33 PM

The War on Words

David Blake Knox
Spoken Chinese is a tonal language quite unlike English – with four possible tones to each sound and a fifth atonal sound that can turn a sentence into a question. The chief problems that translators of ‘Ulysses’ have faced in mainland China are not, however, issues of language but of politics.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:04 PM

Two Legs Bad

Martin Tyrrell
George Orwell never wavered in his belief in democratic socialism, though he feared those in charge might succumb to the lure of totalitarianism. The author of a new study of the writer, however, argues that a socialist society is beyond human reach ‑ since we are simply not morally up to it.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:34 PM

The Liar’s Dividend

Luke Warde
If what passes for political satire has as its chief effect the buttressing of the belief that all politics is mired in deceit, then shameless, unconcealed mendacity can come to seem, however perversely, refreshingly honest ‑ with results that by now are too depressingly clear.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:12 AM

Empire Loyalists

Maurice Walsh
For Walter Bagehot, the best-known editor of ‘The Economist’, the prospect of workers organising to defend their interests represented ‘an evil of the first magnitude’. The paper’s first love, however, was always empire, British of course; but after that ran out of road American would do.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:06 AM

The Right People

Frank Callanan
It is offensive to regard true democratic values as the exclusive possession of classic liberalism. But perhaps we should all audit the prejudices we derive from our own political tribe and orientation and ask what in them might be inessential ‑ or even plain wrong.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:42 PM

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

John Fanning
Many huge companies continue to ignore environmental and societal issues and carry on despoiling the planet and exploiting their workers in the name of profit maximisation. But such organisations – let us call them the ‘hairy bacon capitalists’ – are not immune to public opinion.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:31 PM

Commodity Citizenship

Tadgh Healy
Citizenship is an arbitrary status that to a large extent determines the material conditions of one’s future. More than class, gender or race, it is the most important factor affecting one’s life chances. Put crudely, some passports come with an array of desirable entitlements; others do not.
Sep 3, 2020, 14:10 PM

A Modern Utopian

Bryan Fanning
Dominic Cummings favours government guided by experts trained in mathematics and scientific thinking. This idea of epistocracy, rule by those who know, is emerging at a time when the right no longer trusts global free markets and politics have considerably dumbed down.
Jul 2, 2020, 13:06 PM

The White Raven

Pádraig Murphy
Carl Schmitt, close to the authoritarians von Schleicher and von Papen, may have thought he would become indispensable in the new Germany as a useful legal expert. But Hitler, once in power, cared nothing for its legal basis, and still less for the intellectuals who trafficked in such matters.
Jul 2, 2020, 12:14 PM

The Political Anatomy of a Crime

Alice Stevens
Every conflict in Latin America is, at the heart of it, about land. Land tenure is vital in a region where such a large portion of the population is comprised of small farmers. Without much of a social safety net, land ownership is often the only security against starvation.
Jul 2, 2020, 12:00 PM

Time to Strike Out?

Rory Montgomery
That the EU functions as well as it does is an everyday miracle, made possible by an ingrained culture of compromise and commitment to ‘a shared Europe’. But from a basis of cautious pragmatism, there have also been times when the Union has deemed it essential to take a major step forward.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:53 PM


Sean Byrne
Bundesbank president Wilhelm Vocke retired, laden with honours, in 1957 and was replaced by Karl Blessing. Both men had cheerfully served the Nazi regime. They could be rehabilitated because they fell out with the Nazis on monetary policy, though not, it seems, on any other matter.
Jun 2, 2020, 12:04 PM

Get Happy

Michael Byrne
In a winner-takes-all society there will always be more losers, and the chance of becoming one of them is greater, breeding, in many people, anxiety, poor health, even addiction. What if economics were to treat human beings as something more than soulless choice-machines?
Jun 2, 2020, 12:01 PM

Ourselves Alone

Frank Callanan
As the scale of Labour’s defeat became clear, a succession of Corbynists emerged to insist that the voters’ rejection of their policies was not a rejection at all and that nothing need change: a strange product of a new ‘leftism’ that exists not to seek power but largely for its own sake.
Apr 30, 2020, 19:15 PM