Leo Tolstoy

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When land carries no penalty for being unimproved, it is taken out of supply and the overall supply of land for development falls causing land prices to rise. Photograph: iStock

Economics is counterintuitive – and maybe this is the most important lesson in macroeconomics. Here’s a good example. A responsible household will try(...)

Temur Akhmedov was accused of acting as his oil tycoon father’s ‘lieutenant’ in schemes to hide assets from his mother. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty

The son of an oligarch caught up in the world’s largest divorce case has been told to pay £75 million, or more than €85 million, to his(...)

Vaccination against Covid-19 has been developed and is being tested. File photograph: iStock

In 1944, a somewhat cranky old man wrote a long letter to The Irish Times in which he gave out about “the dangerous and grossly unscientific operation(...)

Dublin-born journalist EJ Dillon was regarded as an authority on the politics and culture of the Russian Empire. Photograph: Library of Congress/Public Domain

Late in his era-spanning career, the Irish journalist EJ Dillon would write about the day in December 1890 when he walked through a Russian forest wit(...)

Michael Davitt’s grave in Straide, Co Mayo

The month of June 1904 has been monopolised in Irish memory by James Joyce, whose first date with Nora Barnacle – on the 16th – later became the setti(...)

David Brooks: America needs to resist the growth of tribalism – what he calls ‘a bad attempt to create community’

You can tell the sort of guy David Brooks is from his Twitter feed. A polite comment about women’s sport being better to watch than men’s is condemned(...)

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” so wrote the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy. It is the opening line t(...)

Chinese president Xi Jinping spent seven years in Liangjiahe living in primitive conditions. Photograph: Mark R. Cristino/EPA

In the cave in Liangjiahe where the 15-year-old Xi Jinping was sent in 1969 during the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, there is a felt mattress on(...)

‘Have a Nice Day’ is populated by desperate, violent people who are motivated and victimised by capitalism

Don’t mind that title. Nobody is having a nice day in Chinese animator Liu Jian’s gritty, gut-wrenching crime saga. It took three years for him to dra(...)

Ernest Hemingway: “Always stop while you are going good.” Photograph: Lloyd Arnold/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Over the past year, Helen Gordon and I have been putting together Being a Writer, a collection of musings, tips and essays from some of our favourite (...)

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