How do we make sense of today’s political divisions? In a wide-ranging conversation full of insight, historian Yuval Harari places our current turmoil in a broader context, against the ongoing disruption of our technology, climate, media — even our notion of what humanity is for. This is the first of a series of TED Dialogues, seeking a thoughtful response to escalating political divisiveness. Make time (just over an hour) for this fascinating discussion between Harari and TED curator Chris Anderson.
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York City. He wrote Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism and founded www.democracyatwork.info, a non-profit advocacy organization of the same name that promotes democratic workplaces as a key path to a stronger, democratic economic system. Professor Wolff discusses the economic dimensions of our lives, our jobs, our incomes, our debts, those of our children, and those looming down the road in his unique mixture of deep insight and dry humor. He presents current events and draws connections to the past to highlight the machinations of our global economy. He helps us to understand political and corporate policy, organization of labor, the distribution of goods and services, and challenges us to question some of the deepest foundations of our society. For more of his lectures, visit the Democracy at Work YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/democrac….
Tragedy of the commons regulation for global shared stocks/sinks – e.g. there’s a single shared global atmosphere that we’re collectively not managing very well.
I don’t believe world government “would” necessarily solve this, but it might help.
Another question might be “what are the issues that a world government might cause”.
E.g. there isn’t a guarantee that world government is going to be representative, care about interests other than its own, not be repressive. At least with smaller scope governments it is in principle easier to flee.
Perhaps another question would be: why would member states / individuals voluntarily join a world government and choose to stay part of it? How would that be a good tradeoff for them?
Donald Trump slipped into the Oval Office through a wormhole of confusion about the American identity.
.. We were moving from a white-majority, male-dominated country and manufacturing base to a multicultural, multilateral, globalized, P.C., new energy, new technology world, without taking account of the confusion and anger of older Americans who felt like strangers in a strange land.
.. And we certainly don’t want men like Rob Porter who have punched, kicked, choked and terrorized their wives to be in the president’s inner circle, helping decide which policies, including those that affect women, get emphasized.
.. We don’t want the White House chief of staff to be the sort of person who shields and defends abusers — and then dissembles about it — simply because the abuser is a rare competent staffer. Or a man who labels Dreamers “too lazy to get off their asses” simply because they didn’t apply for legal protections in time.
.. John Kelly served as a character witness not only for Porter, after he didn’t receive security clearance because F.B.I. agents had heard the harrowing tales from his battered ex-wives. Kelly also testified as a character witness for Gen. Robert E. Lee and a former Marine who pleaded guilty to sending inappropriate sexual messages to female subordinates; who drove drunk to an arraignment; and who got charged in Virginia with sex crimes against children.
.. As a more lucid Trump tweeted in 2012 about Rihanna getting back together with Chris Brown, “A beater is always a beater.”
.. We don’t want a president who bends over backward to give the benefit of the doubt to neo-Nazis, wife beaters, pedophiles and sexual predators — or who is a sexual predator himself.
.. We don’t want a president who flips the ordinary equation, out of some puerile sense of grievance, to honor Russia and dishonor the F.B.I.
.. We don’t want a president who is too shallow to read his daily intelligence report and too obsessed with the deep state to deal fairly with our intelligence agencies.
.. We don’t want a president who suggests that Democrats who don’t clap for him are treasonous and who seems more enthralled by authoritarian ways than democratic ones.
.. who loves generals but trashes Gold Star parents
.. who wants the sort of chesty military parade that we mock Kim Jong-un for, a phallic demonstration of overcompensation that would only put more potholes in the D.C. boulevards.
.. one who could be so easily trapped in lies that he can’t even be allowed to talk to an investigator.
.. And, finally, we surely don’t want a president who seeks advice on foreign affairs from Henry Kissinger. Ever. Again.
One reporter asked Mnuchin of the Trump administration’s decision to send a large delegation to the event: “What is the point of the Trump administration going to a place that is regarded, usually, as a hangout for globalists?”
“Well, I don’t think it’s a hangout for globalists,” Mnuchin shot back.
.. The secretary said the economic team’s purpose at the high-profile gathering “is going to go over and talk about the America First economic strategy.”
President Donald Trump will attend Davos from January 23 to January 26 and it will be lead by Mnuchin. During Thursday’s briefing, Mnuchin said, “We’re thrilled that the president is coming, and I think what we know is that the economy that’s good for the U.S. is good for the rest of the world.”
Other members of the delegation include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Tom Bossert, Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser to the president Jared Kushner, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Mark Green, and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb.
.. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders later released a list of additional members that will travel as part of the delegation to Davos: Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn as well as other members of the White House staff. They will be traveling with the president.
Supporters of these disparate movements are protesting not just globalization—the process whereby goods, capital and people move ever more freely across borders—but globalism, the mind-set that globalization is natural and good, that global governance should expand as national sovereignty contracts.
The new nationalist surge has startled establishment parties in part because they don’t see globalism as an ideology. How could it be, when it is shared across the traditional left-right spectrum by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, George W. Bush and David Cameron ?
.. In the 1930s, nationalists were also expansionists who coveted other countries’ territory. Today, Mr. Trump and his ideological allies mostly want to reassert control over their own countries. Their targets are such global structures as the EU, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the U.N. and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
.. Little unites the new nationalists other than their shared antipathy toward globalism. Mr. Trump’s economic program is as far to the right as Ms. Le Pen’s is to the left. Nor do they have credible plans for replacing the institutions of globalization that they want to tear dow
.. In 1957, six European countries signed the Treaty of Rome, creating what would become the EU, hoping that economic and political integration would make war unthinkable.
.. Between 1987 and 2008, total U.S. wages adjusted for inflation rose by 53%, while the profits that U.S. companies earned abroad soared by 347%.
.. President Bill Clinton signed Nafta in 1993 in part to embed a pro-American government in Mexico
.. The late political scientist Samuel Huntington applied the caustic label “Davos man” to those who see “national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing.” For globalists, this was a badge of honor, symbolizing not just an outlook but a lifestyle of first-class departure lounges, smartphones and stock options.
.. In 2000, Mr. Clinton blessed China’s entry into the WTO. Echoing Truman, he predicted China’s membership was “likely to have a profound impact on human rights and political liberty.”
It didn’t. China adhered to the letter of its WTO obligations while systematically violating their spirit with discrimination against foreign investors and products and an artificially cheap currency.
.. Economists warned that Italy, Spain and Greece couldn’t compete with Germany without the safety valve of letting national currencies periodically devalue to offset their faster-rising costs. Sure enough, their trade deficits ballooned, but low-cost euro loans at first made them easy to finance. The loans proved unsustainable, and the resulting crisis has still not run its course.
.. Chinese and German trade surpluses could wreak havoc thanks to expanding cross-border finance. To globalists, its growth was as inexorable as that of trade. In early 2008, President George W. Bush’s treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, put out a report arguing that globalization had made much of U.S. financial regulation obsolete. The priority was to maintain “American preeminence in the global capital markets.
.. Globalists were blind to the nationalist backlash in part because their world—entrepreneurial, university-educated, ethnically diverse, urban and coastal—has thrived as whiter, less-educated hinterlands have stagnated.
.. Many globalists now assume that the discontent is largely driven by stagnant wages and inequality. If people are upset about immigration, they reason, it is largely because they fear competition with low-wage workers.
In fact, much of the backlash against immigration (and globalism) is not economic but cultural
.. in the 1980s, economic issues such as taxes and welfare became less important than noneconomic issues such as immigration, terrorism, abortion and gay rights.
.. voters were bothered less by competition from immigrants than by their perceived effect on the country’s linguistic, religious and cultural norms.
.. Europeans’ opposition to immigration was driven less by pocketbook concerns than by worries about how changes to “the composition of the local population” would affect “their neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.”
.. Yet the new nationalism often thrives on xenophobia. Mr. Trump has been criticizing free trade since the 1980s, but his candidacy took off when he started attacking Mexican immigrants and Muslims. American Jewish groups heard unsettling echoes of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories when Mr. Trump accused Mrs. Clinton of meeting “in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty.”
.. In short, there is ample reason for skepticism about whether the new nationalists can prove themselves a genuinely secular, democratic alternative to globalism.
.. That globalization’s winners can compensate its losers makes impeccable economic logic, but it rings hollow among those too old to retrain or move.
.. globalists should not equate concern for cultural norms and national borders with xenophobia. Large majorities of Americans, for example, welcome immigrants so long as they
- adopt American values,
- learn English,
- bring useful skills and
- wait their turn.
Our previous Republican president fails to own up to his responsibility for our current one.
consider the many ways the Bush presidency has shaped and constrained all that’s come since
.. What I found extraordinary, however, was that in a speech littered with references to Russia and China and to the ongoing challenges facing European democracies, Bush never saw fit to utter the word Iraq.
.. if Iraq does indeed come apart, the chaos that would ensue would dwarf what we’ve seen over the course of the Syrian civil war. One would think Bush would have had a lot to say about the sorry state of Iraq and how his decisions might have contributed to it. Alas, he chose to elide such questions.
.. surely he can acknowledge that some of the backlash against the global engagement both he and I support stems from the fact that his war of choice in Iraq proved a discrediting disaster—so much so that when Trump falsely claimed to have opposed the invasion of Iraq from the start, it was enough to supercharge his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016... Lest we forget, most of Trump’s rivals were paralyzed by the sense that they had to defend the legacy of President Bush’s war.. Trump was under no such obligation. Indeed, he presented himself as a cold-eyed realist who’d only invade a country to plunder its resources, a bizarre homage to the old anti-war mantra that Bush’s invasion of Iraq was less a war for democracy than a war for oil... Bush and his allies insisted on creating a series of new guest-worker programs aimed at low-wage workers, who’d have limited rights and limited access to safety-net programs... some on the left, including several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who feared Bush’s guest-worker program would create a class of laborers who’d be vulnerable to exploitation... surely he can appreciate that not everyone sees guest-worker programs in such romantic terms. To many Americans, it looks as though the dynamism that low-wage immigrant workers with scant labor protections bring to America chiefly benefits people like George W. Bush... the president ignores the possibility that his own decisions played a major role in souring voters on free trade... Brad Setser, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and a former Obama administration official, has argued that had the Bush administration been willing to use the “special safeguards” provision that was part of China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, the U.S. manufacturing sector might have been in a much better position to adapt to Chinese import competition. Instead, the Bush White House stood by as the Chinese engaged in large-scale currency intervention, which in turn made the so-called China shock—the job losses that followed from Chinese import surges—far more severe than it would have been had the U.S. sent a clear signal that it would counter such manipulation... The former president had nothing to say about his role in the devastation of the Rust Belt. Instead, he treated the backlash against free trade as if it were some kind of mania, entirely disconnected from the fact that over the course of his presidency, the U.S. manufacturing sector hemorrhaged jobs, even as productivity outside of the computer and electronics industry was mostly stagnant... his refusal to face up to his own responsibility for the state we’re in is, to my mind, essential to understanding why so many Republican rank-and-file voters are at war with their party’s delusional elites.