Wednesday, July 29, 2009
African politicians have been rolling out the red carpet for Chinese developers. That’s because China is now Africa’s second largest business partner, with trade at more than $100 billion a year. For China Safari: On the Trail of Beijing’s Expansion in Africa, writer Serge Michel and photographer Paolo Woods follow poor Chinese workers as they emigrate to what they think are better opportunities in Africa. And in areas like the rainforest of Congo, they watch poor local workers endure racism. Michel and Woods discuss the Chinese empire builders, and the vulnerable citizens who are actually doing the building.
Over the years, high school shop class has been a place of refuge for some, and an hour off from math and English class for all who attend. But in many schools, shop class is now a thing of the past, replaced by classes aimed to turn students into “knowledge workers.” Philosopher and bike mechanic Matthew Crawford argues in his book Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work that the detailed work of craftsmanship teaches us to use our brains and our hands, and allows us to accomplish something truly useful.