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In the News 14.07.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 14.07.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 14.07.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 14.07.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Globalisation: The Rise and Fall of an Idea That Swept the World

The annual January gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos is usually a placid affair: a place for well-heeled participants to exchange notes on global business opportunities, or powder conditions on the local ski slopes, while cradling champagne and canapes. This January, the ultra-rich and the sparkling wine returned, but by all reports the mood was one of anxiety, defensiveness and self-reproach.

The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes. “Globalisation” can mean many things, but what lay in particular doubt was the long-advanced project of increasing free trade in goods across borders. The previous summer, Britain had voted to leave the largest trading bloc in the world. In November, the unexpected victory of Donald Trump, who vowed to withdraw from major trade deals, appeared to jeopardise the trading relationships of the world’s richest country. Forthcoming elections in France and Germany suddenly seemed to bear the possibility of anti-globalisation parties garnering better results than ever before. The barbarians weren’t at the gates to the ski-lifts yet – but they weren’t very far.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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The Rise and Fall of Working From Home

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Last year, Richard Laermer decided to let his employees work from home on a regular basis. “We hire adults, they shouldn’t be tied to the office five days a week,” said Laermer, who owns a New York-based public relations firm. “I always assumed that you can get your work  done anywhere, as long as you actually get it done.”

Turns out, he was wrong.

Employees took advantage of the perk, Laermer said. One was unavailable for hours at a time. Another wouldn’t communicate with co-workers all day, which Laermer found suspicious. The last straw, he said, was when someone refused to come in for a meeting because she had plans to go to the Hamptons. “That was the most unbelievably nervy thing I’d heard in years,” he said.

Ten months in, he scrapped the benefit and now requires all of his employees to come into the office every day.

While telecommuting, the umbrella term for any work occurring outside the traditional office, has ballooned over the last 20 years, some offices are rethinking overly broad policies. Flexible work remains popular at many organizations, but most companies want workers at work at least some—if not most—of the time. More than 60 percent of organizations surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management this year said they allow some type of telecommuting, up from 20 percent in 1996. But telecommuting comes in many flavors, and 77 percent of organizations don’t let people work from home on a full-time basis. Most employers allow ad-hoc remote work for the person who needs to stay home for the plumber or wait for a package.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

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Who I Became at the Running of the Bulls

I wanted danger. My identity as a liberated woman, or at least an adventurous girl, was inextricably linked to placing myself in the way of unnecessary bodily harm and, though I’d never have admitted to it, my blue U.S. passport seemed like a strong enough shield to stop anything truly bad from happening. So, although I was a demographic outlier — a 19-year-old American girl travelling alone—my presence in Pamplona made sense, at least in my mind. The running of the bulls presented itself to me as the ideal prepackaged brush with death, with the bonus of a possible existential realization. Knowledge of life and death, the value of every breath, etcetera.

Pamplona was just one in a series of strange places I’d found myself after neglecting to map out my trip any more definitively than a plane ticket from Jerusalem, where I had family, to Rome and another one home from Berlin two months later. I had been making strategically bad decisions all summer, using money my grandfather set aside for education to bankroll a solo-backpacking trip through Europe. Before I left, all my friends were gearing up for art gallery internships or ice cream shop jobs, and a flutter of joy ran through me every time somebody heard my summer plans and asked, “Isn’t that dangerous?” or, “Haven’t you seen Taken?”

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

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The Art at the End of the World

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We were taking an airplane, I told our children, to see what I dramatically billed as ‘‘the end of the world.’’

‘‘Can’t we go to a beach?’’ they asked. It was February. They were sick of the cold.

I promised them sand and plenty of water, but unless things went terribly wrong, we would probably not be swimming in it.

‘‘Where are we going?’’ they asked.

We were flying 2,000 miles to see more than 6,000 tons of black basalt rocks extending 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake in the shape of a counterclockwise vortex, designed by the most famous practitioner of ’70s land art, Robert Smithson.

‘‘It’s called the ‘Spiral Jetty,’ ’’ I told them.

I showed them pictures. I admitted that maybe ‘‘the end of the world’’ wasn’t the best way to advertise what I hoped we would experience, even though previous visitors had described the landscape as hauntingly spare, as resembling how our planet might appear following a nuclear holocaust. Smithson’s gallerist, Virginia Dwan, said the jetty ‘‘was something otherworldly, but I hesitate to say hell, because I don’t mean everybody being tortured and so forth, but the feeling of aloneness, and of it being in a place that was unsafe, and something devilish, something devilish there.’’

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times



Before You Can Be With Others, First Learn To Be Alone

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In 1840, Edgar Allan Poe described the ‘mad energy’ of an ageing man who roved the streets of London from dusk till dawn. His excruciating despair could be temporarily relieved only by immersing himself in a tumultuous throng of city-dwellers. ‘He refuses to be alone,’ Poe wrote. He ‘is the type and the genius of deep crime … He is the man of the crowd.’

Like many poets and philosophers through the ages, Poe stressed the significance of solitude. It was ‘such a great misfortune’, he thought, to lose the capacity to be alone with oneself, to get caught up in the crowd, to surrender one’s singularity to mind-numbing conformity. Two decades later, the idea of solitude captured Ralph Waldo Emerson’s imagination in a slightly different way: quoting Pythagoras, he wrote: ‘In the morning, – solitude; … that nature may speak to the imagination, as she does never in company.’ Emerson encouraged the wisest teachers to press upon their pupils the importance of ‘periods and habits of solitude’, habits that made ‘serious and abstracted thought’ possible.

In the 20th century, the idea of solitude formed the centre of Hannah Arendt’s thought. A German-Jewish émigré who fled Nazism and found refuge in the United States, Arendt spent much of her life studying the relationship between the individual and the polis. For her, freedom was tethered to both the private sphere – the vita contemplativa – and the public, political sphere – the vita activa. She understood that freedom entailed more than the human capacity to act spontaneously and creatively in public. It also entailed the capacity to think and to judge in private, where solitude empowers the individual to contemplate her actions and develop her conscience, to escape the cacophony of the crowd – to finally hear herself think.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @ruerodier; @vivaluxuryblog; @christinedovey