Best Business Longreads

From the man behind American suburban mindmeld to the famed Moon family, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of November 16, 2013.

WPA Pool

Simone Levitt’s Memories of Her Marriage to Bill Levitt, the Mastermind of the Suburb

Rich Cohen – New York

After promising the Navy during World War II to build quickly a number of houses that usually took four years, famed developer Bill Levitt turned an occupation (construction) that had once been done by artisans into another American assembly line. After the war, he predicted that millions of Americans would be pursuing the American dream of a house, but without affordable options. The result was Levittown, and American suburban life was never the same.

The Fall of the House of Moon

Mariah Blake – The New Republic

Sun Myung Moon and the commercial religious empire he built on his cult of personality have quite the salacious history. Sexual purification rituals, planting spies in Congressional offices, a media empire and arranged marriages are just some of lurid details in this profile of Moon and his Unification Church.

Congratulations, America. You’re (Almost) Energy Independent. Now What?

Daniel Yergin – Politico Magazine

The dramatic shift in the global energy markets has already had major ramifications in global politics (see: Saudi Arabia). However, the economic impact of what Yergin calls “energy a-lot-less-dependent” is just beginning to manifest itself.

Switzerland’s Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive

Annie Lowrey – New York Times Magazine

The basic-income movement, or payments by the government to all of its citizens without any strings attached, is a hot topic in certain circles in Europe, particularly wealthy and socialist Switzerland. Interestingly, there are proponents on the left and right. On the left, many see it as a civil rights issue–potentially ameliorating the problem of intractable poverty. On the right, the sums of money funneled through the basic income program would reduce federal bureaucracy (welfare, food stamps, housing subsidies) and put the government’s dollars back in the people’s hands.