Barrels of whiskey are opened and poured into a blending vat below, circa 1940.

Bourbon Country

Examining the ingredients—time, grain, government regulations—that have made bourbon an enduring national favorite.
A duel between Charles de Lameth and the Marquis de Castries,November 12, 1790

A Slap, Followed by a Duel

Dueling was a dangerous, ritualized response to a real (or perceived) slight. It may also have been a means of proving one's social and economic capital.
Kazakhstan against a backdrop of bitcoin

Even in Kazakhstan, Bitcoin Can’t Escape Geopolitics

People in Kazakhstan have been protesting energy prices, and met with violence by the government. What does Bitcoin have to do with it?
US Airmail stamp: Inverted Jenny Air Mail Issue of 1918

Stamp Collecting as Metaphor for the Free Market

The hobby was originally pursued by middle-class women and children. But its resemblance to capitalist values made it attractive to men.
Lovers of the Sun by Henry Scott Tuke

The Market Will Bare It: Transnational Nude Tourism

As Europeans recovered from the devastation of World War II, nude beaches appeared in France.
Rear View Of Man Wearing Yellow Raincoat In Forest During Rain

Resilience: The Basics of a Concept

From the ecological to the social, “resilience” is a buzzword for our crisis-ridden age. But what is resilience exactly, and where did the idea emerge from?
Graffiti that says "The Only Sustainable Growth is Degrowth"

What If a Shrinking Economy Wasn’t a Disaster?

The degrowth movement is building a vision of a society where economies would get smaller by design—and people would be better off for it.
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, 2019 Laureates in Economic Sciences

Why Are Random Trials So Common in Anti-Poverty Work?

Three economists who have devoted their careers to studying poverty alleviation won the Nobel Prize in economics. How did their methods catch on?
A Hudson Bay Company trading post

Why the Dakota Only Traded among People with Kinship Bonds

“Trapping was not a ‘business for profit’ among the Dakota but primarily a social exchange,” one scholar writes.
The Indian's Vespers by Asher Brown Durand, 1847

Subscription Art for the 19th-Century Set

How the American Art-Union brought fine art to the people, via a subscription service, in the 1840s.