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Fiction

Hunger

Boarding school is like purgatory, or prison — being sent away to wait. That’s mainly what I do: wait for time to pass. There are five more hours to supper, and I’m hungry already. I’m up here in an empty classroom, writing in my diary when I’m supposed to be studying, ’cause it’s one week till finals. Three more long weeks, then home, home at last.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Cleaned Out

One of the steps AA asks of recovering alcoholics is to make “a searching and fearless moral inventory” of themselves, and now, alone in my motel room, I find myself fairly obsessed with my stuff: how much of it there is and how long it will last. I have my laptop and a suitcase containing T-shirts, jeans, and khakis, three long-sleeved shirts, one pair of shorts, vitamins, and an assortment of toiletries. I have a tote bag stuffed with books, which will, along with the hiking boots I have brought for weekends, turn out to be the most useless items in my inventory.

The Sun Interview

Amid Plenty

Anuradha Mittal On The True Cause Of World Hunger

The United Nations estimates that around 830 million people in the world do not have adequate access to food. Numbers, though, distance us from the real pain felt by the hungry. Hunger is a form of torture that takes away your ability to think, to perform normal physical actions, to be a rational human being. There are people in my own country, India, who for months have not had a full stomach, who have never had adequate nutrition. This sort of hunger causes some to resort to eating anything to numb the pain: cats, monkeys, even poisonous roots.

The Sun Interview

Capitalism And Its Discontents

Richard Wolff On What Went Wrong

Now let’s look at the history of the individual income tax. In the 1950s and 1960s the top income-tax bracket for an individual was 91 percent. That means that for every dollar an individual earned over a certain amount — let’s just say one hundred thousand dollars — he or she had to give Uncle Sam ninety-one cents. Even in the 1970s it was still 70 percent. What is the tax rate for the richest Americans today? Thirty-five percent. Think of it: the tax rate for the richest Americans went from 91 percent down to 35 percent. Now, that’s a tax cut the likes of which has never been enjoyed by the vast majority of Americans.

The Sun Interview

The Moral Universe

Barbara Kingsolver On Writing, Politics, And Human Nature

This isn’t about “paper or plastic” or some vision of self-congratulatory parsimony. It’s about replacing material gratifications with spiritual ones. I don’t know how much carbon I’m offsetting with my choices. I just prefer to be a good animal rather than one that fouls its nest.

The Sun Interview

If Your House Is On Fire

Kathleen Dean Moore On The Moral Urgency Of Climate Change

Every decision that we make — about where we find information, where we get food, what we wear, how we make our living, how we invest our time and our wealth, how we travel or keep ourselves warm and sheltered — is an opportunity for us to express our values both by saying yes to what we believe in and by saying no to what we don’t believe in.