Christopher Hayes

Christopher Hayes is the Washington, D.C. editor of The Nation.

Recent Articles

Are Depressions Necessary?

The current crisis has revived an old debate about the utility of economic downturns.

Breezewood, Pa.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Economists, particularly those of the ascendant Chicago school of free market enthusiasts, were in a triumphant mood at the beginning of this decade. Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in 2003, Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas went so far as to say that macro-economics -- with its focus on the stable maintenance of national economies -- could safely be retired. "The central problem of depression prevention," he said, "has been solved for all practical purposes." But if the technical challenge of depression prevention has rudely announced itself unsolved, the current crisis has also reawakened a long-obscured, but far more profound debate about the very nature of cyclical capitalism. That is: Are economic contractions, like the one we're currently experiencing, a good thing? You won't hear this question asked in most mainstream political discussion of the crisis. It would be career suicide for any elected official to suggest that the widespread stress,...

Student Body Right

It was over cantaloupe and cottage cheese that the Lord told Pat Robertson to build a university. The year was 1975, and the minister, then 45, was running so late for a meeting that he decided to head to a nearby coffee shop, get his “famous” snack, and wait the meeting out. It was at the beginning of this fateful, hooky-playing repast, as Robertson said grace, that the Heavenly Father told him to buy a vacant patch of land the minister had recently seen in Virginia Beach “and build a school for My glory.” Robertson was recounting the creation story of Regent University to a crowd of about 200 people inside a Baptist church on a cool May evening in Chesapeake, Virginia, 15 miles from Regent's main campus. Smiling beatifically, dressed in full academic regalia, and draped with a massive medallion reminiscent of Run-DMC–era bling, he seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself. And why not? Twenty-seven years after the school opened its doors to 77 communications (naturally) graduate...

Gun Point

CHICAGO -- While George W. Bush and other world leaders fret over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, former Costa Rican President and Nobel Prize Laureate Oscar Arias Sanchez travels the globe, talking to heads of state about the proliferation of small arms, which are currently far more deadly. "How," he asked during a recent speech to small-arms-control activists, "could killing many people little by little, day by day, be less objectionable than killing many in a single day?" Sanchez delivered his speech here earlier this month as the keynote speaker at a Northwestern University School of Law conference on the international small-arms trade. The event drew dozens of activists, doctors, public-health workers and lawyers, most of them members of the movement calling for an international treaty on small arms that would place uniform controls on the flow of such weapons among countries. A small arm is basically defined as a weapon that can be operated by one person --...

Drugstore Cowboys

It may be difficult to conceive of an American president doing more to alienate the French than George W. Bush has. But imagine, for a moment, how Paris would have reacted if, during Prohibition, Calvin Coolidge had begun paying the French government huge sums of money to burn its country's vineyards. It seems a safe assumption that the hypothetical French prime minister who collaborated with such a policy wouldn't have lasted long in office. Burning Prohibition-era French vineyards may seem like a ludicrous scenario, but it's more or less analogous to the current U.S. policy of coca eradication in Latin America. So it should come as little surprise that Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada resigned earlier this month amid growing popular opposition to his support of American eradication efforts in his country. For Bolivia's indigenous majority, coca is not just another plant. People have been chewing coca leaves on the altiplano -- the windswept Andean plateau that stretches...

Shelf Life

When progressive provocateur Michael Moore was down and out, he found help from an unlikely source. After September 11, Moore's publisher, HarperCollins, told him that his new book, Stupid White Men , wouldn't be released unless he cut some controversial sections and rewrote others. When Moore balked, HarperCollins told him it would simply cancel the book. That December, a few days after he learned that his book was destined for early recycling, Moore went to speak to a meeting of the progressive group New Jersey Citizen Action. He told group members of his plight and read a few chapters from the doomed book. When members asked him what they could do, Moore told them that there were more important battles to fight. Ann Sparanese, who was sitting in the audience, didn't see it that way. "Problem is, I am a librarian," says Sparanese, head of reference at the Englewood Library in New Jersey. "I was shocked . . . I think we're used to books being censored by the government for having...