Being back in Finland and having to fix things in the house has given me an opportunity to listen again to the always very interesting LSE Public Lecture podcasts. The effects and implications of Brexit and the election of President Trump dominate the discussion at the moment but they are not the only themes. Here a couple of podcasts that I wanted to share with you:
Bill Emmont was the editor-in-chief of the Economist from 1993 to 2006, and is now a writer and consultant on international affairs. He is a regular contributor to the Financial Times, La Stampa and Nikkei Business. His latest book is The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea.
In this podcast Emmont explains how they must change in order to recover and thrive. When faced with global instability and economic uncertainty, it is tempting for states to react by closing borders, hoarding wealth and solidifying power. We have seen it at various times in Japan, France and Italy and now it is infecting all of Europe and America, as the vote for Brexit in the UK has vividly shown. This insularity, together with increased inequality of income and wealth threatens the future role of the West as a font of stability, prosperity and security. Part of the problem is that the principles of liberal democracy upon which the success of the West (i.e., countries who have embraced democracy and the rule fo law across the world) has been built have been suborned, with special interest groups such as bankers accruing too much power and too great a share of the economic cake. So how is this threat to be countered? States such as Sweden in the 1990s, California at different times or Britain under Thatcher all halted stagnation by clearing away the powers of interest groups and restoring their societies’ ability to evolve. To survive, the West needs to be porous, open and flexible. From reinventing welfare systems to redefining the working age, from reimagining education to embracing automation, Emmott will lay out the changes the West must make to revive itself in the moment and avoid a deathly rigid future.
Emont talks about the evolution of democracies rather than the development of democracies which I found quite interesting.
Professor Michael Cox is Director of LSE IDEAS and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at LSE.
Until very recently nearly everybody – with a few critical exceptions – insisted that globalization was the only way forward for the world as a whole. Yet globalization is now under challenge: and not in the developing countries where billions still live in poverty but in the rich nations of the West. How has this come about and how serious is the opposition to globalization? One point in Professor Cox discussion is that populists who are generally against evidence and facts that contractionist their perspective prose a big challenges to evidence-informed policymaking.
Professor Lord Stern and Professor Amartya Sen
Professor Nicholas Stern is the Patel Professor of Economics and Government at LSE, Director of the LSE India Observatory and President of the British Academy. Amartya Sen is the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics and is an LSE Honorary Fellow.
Professor Stern and his team have conducted research in the village of Palanpur in India over several decades. What do their findings tell about the evolution of social and economic systems, inequality and the prospects for India? This is a unique research project which has had the opportunity to last over a long period of time and therefore being able to capture the evolution of the social and economic system in the village of Palanpur over generations. To me it shows why a (very) long term perspective is needed when thinking about development and why evolution and systems are terms that provide a better perspective about how change happens in a society that development and sectors.