A farewell to How the World Works

Coverage of politics, the economy, and globalization will continue, but the branded blog will not

Topics: How the World Works, Globalization,

Not quite six years ago, Salon encouraged me to launch How the World Works, a hybrid blog/column originally envisioned as “a conversation about globalization.” Some umpteen zillion posts later, the experiment is coming to an end, as part of larger changes at Salon you’ll be hearing about soon.

No, I’m not going anywhere, and yes, I’ll still be writing about most of the same things I currently cover (though maybe with a little bit less emphasis on Washington horse-race politics). There are interesting projects in the works, some of which will incorporate more honest-to-goodness reporting than I’ve been doing for a while. There’ll still be an RSS feed for everything I write, but it’ll be hooked to my byline rather than the title “How the World Works.”

And that’s probably a good thing. For reasons that only became clear in retrospect, HTWW wandered a long way from its early day obsessions, when I was looking for connections between all kinds of disparate phenomena and attempting to weave them into one reasonably coherent narrative. But one thing led to another. My background in China studies encouraged me to keep a close eye on the economic relationship between China and the U.S. When I realized during the housing boom that that relationship could basically be described as Americans pulling cash out of their homes to buy stuff from China, I started wondering what would happen to the global economy if there was a housing bust. And not too long after I started worrying about the state of the U.S. housing market, it started to crash. Right place, right time, I guess.

You Might Also Like

When the economy became the big story of the 2008 presidential campaign, Washington politics and economic policy became my beat, and I’ve never been able to get away since. How the World Works eventually became How Washington Doesn’t Work.

Was the experiment a success? I’d give it a mixed grade. Traffic grew steadily throughout the blog’s tenure (and peaked, actually, during the recent debt ceiling nuttiness), but there are definite limitations to how deeply you can report or think or how much you can craft your prose when you are attempting to post three times or more per day. When I was learning new things, the pace was fine — invigorating, even — but when I found myself simply reacting to news events with insta-analysis, and repeating myself over and over again, it became considerably less satisfying.

I’m sure I’ll still be doing plenty of quick response items, however — the Internet rewards a good rant, delivered in a timely fashion, and I do like getting my dander up. But nonetheless, it’s time for a reboot! How the World Works is done.

Andrew Leonard
Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.


    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments are not enabled for this story.