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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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain