Similar to most people, I visit many web sites where the pundits are commenting about high-brow concepts such as national politics, international relations, and macroeconomics. Every now and then, it’s important to take a look at the world from the viewpoint of the individual citizens — i.e., what topics are of most interest to people around the world. Since it’s not realistic to frequently travel the world to interview people, I find that the best “leading indicators” are the local newspapers.
No, I don’t have subscriptions to newspapers from North America and Europe… Instead, I frequently visit the Newseum website (see snapshot below) where they have a really nice feature that allows you to browse the headlines from local newspapers. It’s very interesting to contrast the priorities at the local level (schools, roads, taxes, etc.) versus those that are the focus of the New York Times, Washington Post, National Review, etc.