The millennials Salon spoke to expect to see a grand societal shift in their lifetime, either toward socialism — a political and economic system in which the means of production are collectively and equally owned by everyone — or toward a sort of dystopian Mad Max nightmare in which resources have dwindled, rich plutocrats own everything, and ordinary people need to band together in small, autonomous communities to survive. To conservatives’ dismay, the modern idea of socialism, which has roots in Greek philosopher Plato but emerged as a popular political idea in the early 19th century among German radicals like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, has become increasingly popular among young people in the past several years, following Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’s underdog run for president and the authoritarian creep of the ultra-capitalist, anti-socialist Trump regime.
In contrast, capitalism has become markedly less popular among the younger generations, with The Washington Post noting in April 2016 that in one survey, a majority of young adults ages 18 to 29 said they reject it outright.
You have probably heard the word “capitalist” floating around in the past couple of years — maybe in relation to the anti-fascist, anti-capitalist protests at the Trump inauguration. So, what is capitalism, and why are people so passionate about it, one way or the other?
What do we know about time? Language tells us that it “passes”, it moves like a great river, inexorably dragging us with it, and, in the end, washes us up on its shore while it continues, unstoppable. Time flows. It moves ever forwards. Or does it? Poets also tell us that time stumbles or creeps or slows or even, at times, seems to stop. They tell us that the past might be inescapable, immanent in objects or people or landscapes. When Juliet is waiting for Romeo, time passes sluggishly: she longs for Phaethon to take the reins of the Sun’s chariot, since he would whip up the horses and “bring in cloudy night immediately”. When we wake from a vivid dream we are dimly aware that the sense of time we have just experienced is illusory.
Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist who wants to make the uninitiated grasp the excitement of his field. His book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, with its concise, sparkling essays on subjects such as black holes and quanta, has sold 1.3m copies worldwide. Now comes The Order of Time, a dizzying, poetic work in which I found myself abandoning everything I thought I knew about time – certainly the idea that it “flows”, and even that it exists at all, in any profound sense.
The setup for “The Sandman” is a bit of a stop-me-if-you’ve-heard-this-one-before joke, a familiar recipe: A serial killer, so intelligent and seductive he seems able to murder people from beyond his maximum-security cell, matches wits with a world-weary, brilliant cop. Add ice and snow; serve warm-blooded for a “Silence of the Lambs”-goes-Nordic noir thriller. Good genre writing, however, is all about creating a comfy amity whose expectations are overthrown, and “The Sandman” — written by Lars Kepler, the pen name for the Swedish husband-and-wife team of Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril — is a dandy exercise in surprise.
Much as she gave the in-laws a very particular kind of awfulness, Halpern crafts a gratifyingly unexpected, effective answer to the question of what happened between Kit and Cal, with outed secrets and surprising solutions that she plays for minimum melodrama and with realistic warmth. Like Riverton itself, “Summer Hours at the Robbers Library” feels artfully balanced between the reality of loss and a carefully guarded hope for renewal.