These days, a soccer World Cup is a multi-billion dollar project, with a number of financial "winners," such as FIFA, and many losers, given the development priorities that are sacrificed to build gleaming stadia. Does this also mean that one can explain a nation's success at the cup largely by money?
With midterm elections four months away, there are signs that a bitterly polarized electorate will again deliver a government incapable of working together. This is our era's sad twist on the maxim "all politics is local." You can win local elections at the extremes. But you can't govern from there.
A few years ago, a substantial majority of Brazilians supported holding the World Cup in their country. By last May, the share had declined to half - astoundingly low for some of the world's most enthusiastic soccer fans - with small but strident protests persisting across the country. The President's opponents want the protests to disrupt the games, damaging Brazil's international image; some are even hoping for Brazil's team to lose.
Visit an Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie or Free People clothing store, and you're likely to think, "They know their market." Yet Urban Outfitters, which owns all three stores, has leaders who are so out of touch that for years they have refused to have a policy to even consider having women and minorities on its board of directors.