Brink Lindsey, vice president for research at the Cato Institute, chronicles the ways material wealth has reshaped American society in The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America's Politics and Culture (Collins, 2007), excerpted on page 26. Our culture has changed for the better, Lindsey argues, but our politics has been slow to catch on. Traditional left-right debates are a dysfunctional "struggle between blind and blind," he says. "One side gobbles the fruits of capitalism and tries its best to hack down the tree. The other side defends the tree and condemns the fruits as toxic." Lindsey's blog, now back after a lengthy hiatus, can be read at brinklindsey.com.
In "Leftists for Hayek" (page 65), Steven Horwitz, an economist at St. Lawrence University, reviews Socialism After Hayek, an effort to incorporate Hayek's insights into a new, postmodern socialism. The ever-increasing popularity of and engagement with free market "Austrian" economics has surprised even Horwitz, who calls himself "an incorrigible optimist." If you had described the current state of economics to him in the 1980s, he says, "I would have thought you were nuts. We've pushed the line of scrimmage much farther toward the goal line than I thought was possible."
Art Director Barb Burch has been making Reason look good for the last 14 years. This month's cover is an example of how much the business has changed. "The Web has made my job 100 times easier," she says. Once upon a time, the two images she combined to form the psychedelic Jesus would have cost a few hundred dollars each from a traditional stock photography house, which sells only the work of professional photographers. Instead, she picked up images of Jesus and a groovy tie-dye pattern online in an open market where anyone can sell photos. Total cost: $9.