Arts and Entertainment Cash strapped: Leonardo DiCaprio (centre) stars in Martin Scorsese's raucously enjoyable 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

The film is one of Scorsese's bawdiest and most enjoyable efforts

Chris Harman: Editor of 'Socialist Worker' whose intellectual stature gave him an influence beyond party ranks

Chris Harman, editor of International Socialism Journal and, before that, of Socialist Worker, and a leading figure in the Socialist Workers Party for more than four decades, has died in Cairo of a heart attack. This was all the more shocking because it was so unexpected.

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & online postings (15 November 2009)

While it is disappointing that an effective deal on global warming is unlikely to materialise in Copenhagen in December, it is hardly a surprising outcome, as has been suggested by some green groups.

False Dawn, By John Gray

Events since False Dawn was first published in 1998 would seem to bear out John Gray's thesis that global capitalism leads not to universal prosperity but to chaos. In chapters on the US, Russia, China, Japan and developing countries, Gray shows again and again that laissez-faire capitalism is the problem, not the solution. On virtually every page there is some insight that makes you think: for instance, Gray points out that America's unemployment figures look far better than they are if you factor in the US prison population of more than a million.

Big Think: Philanthrocapitalism

Matthew Bishop discusses how the age of the ultra-rich created a new wave of philanthropy

Johann Hari: This is an idiot's version of her masterpiece

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is one of the most important political books of the past decade. She takes the central myth of the right, "that since the fall of Soviet tyranny, free elections and free markets have skipped hand in hand together towards the shimmering sunset of history", and shows that it is a lie. It is a major revisionist history of the world that Milton Friedman and the market fundamentalists have built.

Life Inc., By Douglas Rushkoff

When faced with windy laments of decline, you can always rely on British popular culture to worm its antic way into your brain. Throughout this overstated thesis in praise of bottom-up community against top-down capitalism, I kept seeing and hearing the frightening visages of the BBC's The League of Gentlemen: "We're local people... doing local things." Unfair, I know. But Douglas Rushkoff is so infuriatingly magisterial that you reach, with some desperation, for the nearest court jester.

Reason, Faith and Revolution, By Terry Eagleton<br />The Case for God, By Karen Armstrong

Saying that science has made religion redundant is rather like saying that thanks to the electric toaster we can forget about Chekhov, says Terry Eagleton in this gloriously rumbustious counter-blast to Dawkinsite atheism. Eagleton, who is perhaps Britain's most venerable cultural critic, is not a Christian, though he was in the 1960s. But he continues, unfashionably, to be a Marxist, and his critique of the New Atheists is rooted in the historical materialism of revolutionary socialism, but with a thread of poetry woven through it.

Michael Church: Ian Bostridge up a blind alley

It sounded a neat idea, as Ian Bostridge outlined it in the Guardian. The Threepenny Opera’s perennial relevance - particularly marked, as capitalist binge leads to universal bust - makes it worth looking at anew: singing Lieder with Dorothea Roschmann and Angelika Kirchschlager prompted him to wonder "how wonderful it would be" to hear them tackling Brecht-Weill

Observations: Time to join the grouchy club

I have fond memories of watching Lewis Black record one of his television specials on Broadway in 2004. Among the many grouches of this grumpy old man of American comedy was the weather. "What is all this about the wind-chill factor?" growled Black. "Why do I need to know what temperature it could have been if it hadn't been for the breeze?" Now arriving here for a brief tour, Black may have to get used to Britain's favourite obsession.

Take the power back: Art and social inequality

An eclectic touring show takes a long, hard look at 500 years of inequality in British society. Politicians could learn a thing or two from these straight-talking artists, says Tom Lubbock

Album: Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band, Outer South (Wichita)

With opening lines demanding "Dementia, you better treat me good/The human race is going through a second childhood," it initially seems as if Conor Oberst's latest album might involve a continuation of the infirmity themes which dominated his solo debut last year.

Deborah Orr: Chaos, conspiracy theorists &ndash; and a Putin fanatic

Eyewitness: 'Jump! Jump! Jump!' cried a group of protesters to City workers on a balcony

James Daley: Why is privatisation such a dirty word?

Walking through Waterloo station this morning, I was handed a flyer by someone campaigning against the privatisation of Royal Mail. Amongst its "10 reasons to SAY NO" was the rather rash and unsupported statement that it would "repeat the mistakes of privatisations in other industries".

Jeremy Warner: Out goes light touch, in comes the iron fist

Outlook As you would expect from McKinsey man, Lord Turner has done a masterful job in steering his way through the conflicting demands of the politicians for root-and-branch changes in the way banks are regulated and the need to preserve at least some elements of the free-market system.

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