Shedding Light

A historian explores the global impact of the credit crisis, and a legendary war photographer exposes the toll of an awful plague

James Nachtwey / VII for TIME

A boy experiencing severe pain from TB meningitis is comforted by his mother at Svay Rieng Provincial Hospital, Svay Rieng, Cambodia.

One of the jobs of politicians in a democracy--and our job too--is to help voters understand complex issues. After all, that's how you earn what the Declaration of Independence calls "the consent of the governed." As the financial crisis has deepened, Washington has done a downright lousy job of explaining things--of connecting the dots between Wall Street and Main Street. The simple fact is that almost every American--whether it's through his pension or her business or his 401(k)--is deeply affected by failures in the banking system. Time has been telling this story for the past several weeks, and in this issue,...

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