• Essay

    How Norway Taught Me to Balance My Hyphenated-Americanness

    A Minnesotan Grapples With Identity in His Scandinavian "Homeland"

    By Eric Dregni

    During the year I spent studying at the university in Trondheim, Norway, I sometimes learned more about my own country than Norway. One day, in my immigration studies class, my professor David Mauk, who hailed from Ohio, asked, “What does …

  • The Takeaway

    China Soon Could Dominate the Global Economy—but Leading It Will Be Tougher

    Though Flush With Cash, the Asian Giant Must Cope With an Aging Population and Lackluster Innovation

    By Joe Mathews

    For China, pursuing global economic leadership is not just a goal. It’s an imperative.That was the message from panelists at a Zòcalo/UCLA Anderson School of Management event, “Is China Prepared to Lead the Global Economy?” at the National ...

  • Essay

    Want to Take My Civics Class? Get Ready to Squirm

    Learning How America Works Should Be Hard on You, Not Just Good for You

    By Sarah Cooper

    In many conversations, the topic of civics education comes with its own halo. The conventional wisdom is that it’s good, clean medicine, and if our children just get enough of its inoculation, the American body politic will be healthy enough …

  • Essay

    Can a Corrupt Politician Become a Good President?

    A Mysterious Woman’s Letters Made Chester Arthur Fit for the White House


    “Who you are, what you are, it doesn’t change after you occupy the Oval Office,” President Barack Obama said during the 2016 election campaign. “It magnifies who you are. It shines a spotlight on who you are.”But at least …

New at Zócalo


Surviving Managua's Government Crackdowns and Torrential Rains

A Refugee Couple Tends Their Garden in Nicaragua's Ruined Capital

By Douglas Haynes

On an overcast afternoon, Julio Baldelomar carries his metal ring of bagged chips past a new tourist attraction called Paseo Xolotlán, named for the nearly Los Angeles-sized lake on Managua, Nicaragua’s north side. Families flock to the high-walled complex to see a miniature replica of old Managua and walk on the waterfront promenade. But 31-year-old Julio is not allowed to enter while he’s hawking the plantain and yucca chips that his family makes. ...


American Populism Shouldn't Have to Embrace Ignorance

Rejecting Authority and Expertise Doesn't Make All Opinions Equally Worthy

By Daniel R. DeNicola

Public ignorance is an inherent threat to democracy. It breeds superstition, prejudice, and error; and it prevents both a clear-eyed understanding of the world and the formulation of wise policies to adapt to that world.
    Plato believed it was more than a threat: He thought it characterized democracies, and would lead them inevitably into anarchy and ultimately tyranny. But the liberal democracies of the modern era, grudgingly extending suffrage, have extended public education in parallel, in the hope of cultivating an informed citizenry. Yet today, ...

Connecting California/Joe Mathews

  • How Data Is Making California's Water Wars Worse

    An Explosion of Information May Allow Californians to Track—and Fight About—Every Drop

    If you thought California’s famously bitter water wars were hard-fought, just wait until you see our water data wars.
        Californians fight over water because we all need it and there is rarely enough to satisfy the full needs of many competing interests—farmers and fishermen, ...

  • California's Fear of High-Rise Living Is Blocking Our View of the Future

    Tall Residential Housing Would Spur Retail, Ease Homelessness, and Curb Pollution and Traffic

    Want to spook your neighbors this Halloween? Don’t bother with big displays of goblins, ghouls, or ghosts. Instead, just decorate your door with a picture of an eight-story apartment building. ...

  • All California Is Wine Country—and the Wildfires Make It More So

    Our Thriving Vineyards Put People in Harm's Way, but They Also Bind Us Together

    The deaths and damage of this year’s Wine Country wildfires are a historic disaster. They are also the product of an epic California success.
        That triumph is the growth of ...

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