Zimbabwe's per capita GDP is the third lowest in the world, yet the prices of items in the country—$2 for a Coke, $4 for a jar of peanut butter—is comparable to prices in large cities in the U.S. Why is that?
Britain is in the middle of a food crisis. For the first time since World War II, a significant number of Britons don't have enough to eat, and an even more significant number can only afford processed junk food, the biscuits and TV dinners that are always cheaper, always more available, than fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.
Who cares? I had a tasty meal at a reasonable price in a pleasant environment. It was precisely what I wanted.
When we write the history of how technology has made us happier, I hope there's a whole chapter about headphones. Life in the pre-headphones era was a dystopia of un-entertained silences, un-podcasted public transport. Bus rides without TED Talks, old magazines in waiting rooms, flights spent deflecting extroverted strangers. Going for a jog meant listening to yourself breathe.
I have been renting a room from Inge for four months now. She is in her mid-60s, tall and blond and slender, the glowing grandmother in a Nivea commercial.
Everywhere it's different but the same. In San Francisco it's the guy who could visit his sick sister in Portland if he could just get 10 bucks for the bus fare. In Paris it's children with their arms out. Why do we give or don't give?
This year, I took my first fundraising job. Asking for money is like dating: You hope you never do it enough to get good at it. Then suddenly you’re walking into a room full of strangers and telling them why you are more entitled to their money than they are, and you realize that that you have done this umpteen times, this is literally your umpteenth time, and you don’t even sweat a little bit the first time you say a number out loud.
The first thing that happens is someone tells you.
I've been thinking a lot about my marinara this week because I've been reading Michael Moss's Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Tricked Us. Company after company, product after product, Moss shows how Big Food formulates products for maximum addictiveness and overeatability. Oreos, Cheetos, Lunchables, Wonder Bread, they're all the same Iowa corn and Brazilian sugarcane, just liquefied, dyed and processed into different shapes and colors.
The best advice and the worst advice I've ever gotten were three words long. The best advice was "avoid the treadmill". It was 2003. I was coming to the end of a master's degree in a subject (political philosophy) and a city (London) I was ready to leave. I was 22 years old.
On the night when he first began his transition from IT administrator to freelance prostitute, Henrik opened the Excel file called "personal economy." He had taken out a loan of 50,000 kroner ($8,500) to pay for the kitchen remodel, and had overdrafted his credit cards in New York. He was paying them off, but not fast enough. He was still 40,000 kroner ($7,000) in debt.