Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

And Neither Will the 2017 Tremor—Unless Public Disillusionment Erupts

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?

This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, to the end of the PRI’s seven-decades-long rule of the country 15 years later. Their argument is not that the party was responsible for the loss of some 10,000 lives, but rather that the disaster exposed the incompetence and corruption of a regime that until then seemed to control everything. While the government of President Miguel de la Madrid looked …

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How Trump’s Staff Could Save Him from Himself

Collegiality and Careful Deliberation Can Overcome Cronyism and Chaos

The stupefying deeds of the Trump White House are passing in such a blur these days that it is hard to parse the incompetence. From policies foreign and domestic that …

The 1918 Flu Pandemic That Revolutionized Public Health

Mass Death Changed How We Think About Illness, and Government's Role in Treating It

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1918, the world experienced the greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, possibly in the whole of human history. We call that tidal …

How Mexico and India Fused in My L.A. Kitchen

A Friendship Reveals Two Cultures That Are Distant but Simpatico

It’s a paradox, both of our globalized culture and of Los Angeles: My mother’s quest to cook authentic Indian food when she visits here has taught me a lot about …

Risk-Taking Is Profitable—but Perilous in Our Interdependent World

From Freeway Speeding to Financial Instruments, Big Gambles Can Spin into Disaster

Risks are inherent in life and so, over the centuries, people have devised many mechanisms to pool and reduce risks.

These institutions range from families to religious tithing to formal …