The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems

There is a whole “indus­try” set up to nur­ture these desires and delu­sions — most notably, the 1.5 mil­lion non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions reg­is­tered in the U.S., many of them focused on help­ing peo­ple abroad. In oth­er words, the young Amer­i­can ego doesn’t appear in a vac­u­um. Its hubris is encour­aged through job and intern­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties, con­fer­ences galore, and cul­tur­al pro­pa­gan­da — encom­passed so ful­ly in the patron­iz­ing, dan­ger­ous­ly sim­ple phrase “save the world.”

The Microcomplaint: Nothing Too Small to Whine About —

It was once con­sid­ered unbe­com­ing, or annoy­ing itself, to moan pub­licly about tri­fling per­son­al ordeals. Now, in a seis­mic shift for the moral cul­ture, abet­ted by tech­nol­o­gy, we tol­er­ate and even encour­age the “micro­com­plaint”: the pet­ty, petu­lant kvetch about the quo­tid­i­an.

In Lending Circles, a Roundabout Way to a Higher Credit Score

Now these cen­turies-old net­works are being seen as a promis­ing tool to help low-income Amer­i­cans build cred­it records, part of a new fron­tier of the war on pover­ty that has attract­ed a crazy-quilt coali­tion of sup­port­ers that include major banks, immi­grant activists and aca­d­e­m­ic researchers. In August, Cal­i­for­nia became the first state to enact a law allow­ing non­prof­its to offer small no-inter­est, no-fee loans, attract­ing unan­i­mous sup­port from Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­ers.