Tom Swain and Minnesota since World War II

Trying to understand how Minnesota became “above average” since World War II is one of my intellectual passions.  I just finished Citizen Swain: Tales from a Minnesota Life by Tom H. Swain (with Lori Sturdevant) and came away with a much improved understanding on how Minnesotans accomplished this feat.  At the center of it was active civic engagement by men and women who moved between the public … [Read more...]

What’s the value of the liberal arts?

Yesterday in Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio joined the discussion about the value of the liberal arts. According to Inside Higher Education, Rubio made the same point in the past: "'So you can decide if it's worth borrowing $50,000 to major in Greek philosophy,' The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported Rubio as saying. 'Because after all, the market for Greek philosophers has been very tight for … [Read more...]

China devalues – what it means

The New York Times reports that China "on Tuesday sharply devalued the country’s currency, the renminbi, a move that could raise geopolitical tensions and weigh on growth elsewhere."  Why?  What's the big deal about changing the value of a currency by two percent?  Three reasons: 1. The value of the renminbi relative to the dollar is part of what determines the price of Chinese imports in the … [Read more...]