Joseph Brodsky thought that art, especially literature, was a form of “moral insurance”, and had suggested that public policy advocate its wider dissemination. In his open letter to Havel (reprinted in On Grief and Reason), he called for a democracy of (before?) culture.
Via Anna Hall, the BBC reports on a new experiment along these lines in Mexico City. Can reading books help alleviate corruption and indolence in the police force?
Police in Mexico City, one of the most crime-ridden capitals in the world, have been told they must read at least one book a month or forfeit promotion.
The mayor of the district where the scheme is being implemented believes that it will improve their work.
There is a popular conception that Mexican police are corrupt, incompetent and lazy.
Mayor Luis Sanchez believes he can fight low standards in the force by encouraging higher levels of literacy.
Along with guns, bullet-proof vests and handcuffs, police in the district of Nezahualcoyotl will now have to take a book with them.