Disasters are inherently hard to predict. But when catastrophe strikes, we ought to be better prepared than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all. Yet the responses of many developed countries to a new pathogen from China were badly bungled. Why? While populist rulers certainly performed poorly in the face of the pandemic, Niall Ferguson argues that more profound pathologies were at work – pathologies already visible in our responses to earlier disasters. Drawing from multiple disciplines, including economics and network science, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe offers not just a history but a general theory of disaster. As Ferguson shows, governments must learn to become less bureaucratic if we are to avoid the impending doom of irreversible decline. In this interview, I speak to Niall Ferguson about how we should think about disasters & catastrophe and how society can (and should) be better prepared.

Thought Economics

In her new book THE LONELY CENTURY: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart, renowned thinker and economist Noreena Hertz investigates how radical changes to the workplace, mass migration to cities, technology’s ever greater dominance of our lives, and decades of neoliberal policies that placed self-interest above the collective good have coalesced to  create a society in which loneliness, atomisation and isolation prevail – which COVID has only amplified. Hertz provides an empowering and inspiring vision for how to mitigate this, reconnect with each other and come together again. Hertz combines a decade of research with first-hand reporting that takes her from ‘renting a friend’ in New York to family-friendly Belgian far-right festivals, from elderly women knitting bonnets for their robot caregivers in Japan to Ivy League colleges running ‘How to Read a Face in Real Life’ remedial classes. What she uncovers is a global population feeling more and more alienated and isolated. In this exclusive interview, I speak to Noreena Hertz about the causes of our loneliness epidemic, the consequences for each and every one of us, and what we can do to restore human connection in a world that’s pulling us apart.

Thought Economics

Kate Raworth is a renegade economist focused on exploring the economic mindset needed to address the 21st century’s social and ecological challenges and is the creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries. Her internationally acclaimed framework of Doughnut Economics has been widely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses and political activists, and she has presented it to audiences ranging from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement. Her book, Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist was published in 2017 and has been translated into 18 languages. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Kate Raworth, the creator of Doughnut Economics, about why we need to rethink economics, for the sake of all of our futures.

Thought Economics

In 2008, during the turbulence of a global financial crisis, a person (or group) called Satoshi Nakamoto released a white-paper called Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. The principle was simple but revolutionary- a technique to record digital transactions in a way that was public, permanent and verifiable without requiring a third party for trust. It is this principle that became more commonly known as Blockchain (or distributed ledger). Today, just 13 years later, the cryptocurrency market is valued at a staggering $1.6 trillion (around 2% of the entire global economy) and blockchain based companies are raising some of the largest rounds of funding in technology. To understand more about Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies I spoke to Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Professor Eric Maskin and a global expert on blockchain and cryptocurrency, Michel Rauchs.

Thought Economics

Free market capitalism is one of humanity’s greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilising society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short. Rebecca Henderson is an economist, and one of the world’s most influential thinkers in economics, psychology, and organisational behaviour. She is the John & Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard and for more than thirty years, has worked with some of the world’s largest organisations around purpose-driven capitalism and the role that business leaders at every level can play in reimagining our current system. In her seminal book, Reimagining Capitalism, she debunks the worldview that the only purpose of business is to make money and maximise shareholder value. She shows that we have failed to reimagine capitalism so that it is not only an engine of prosperity but also a system that is in harmony with environmental realities, striving for social justice, and the demands of truly democratic institutions. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Rebecca Henderson on whether our system of capitalism is broken and what can be done to re-imagine it for a better future.

Thought Economics

Jaron Lanier is a renaissance man, and one of the most profoundly important thinkers of our age on the relationship of technology to humanity. He is a computer scientist, composer, artist, and author who writes on numerous topics, including high-technology business, the social impact of technology, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism. He has been on the cusp of technological innovation from its infancy to the present. A pioneer in virtual reality (a term he coined), Lanier founded VPL Research, the first company to sell VR products, and led teams originating VR applications for medicine, design, and numerous other fields. Officially, Jaron is Microsoft’s “Octopus”, which stands for Office of the Chief Technology Officer Prime Unifying Scientist.. He was a founder or principal of startups that were acquired by Google, Adobe, Oracle, and Pfizer. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Jaron Lanier about the very essence of the relationship between technology and humanity, and why we need to evaluate the ethics of our platforms and our relationship to social media.

Thought Economics

Jacqueline Novogratz has made a remarkable impact on our world. Her work began in 1986 when she quit her job on Wall Street to co-found Rwanda’s first microfinance institution, Duterimbere. In 2001, she founded Acumen which has invested $128 million of patient capital to build more than 130 social enterprises across Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. These companies have leveraged an additional $611 million and brought basic services like affordable education, health care, clean water, energy and sanitation to more than 308 million people. Acumen has also built a global community of more than 500,000 moral leaders who together are driving solutions enabling millions of low-income people to change their lives. In this exclusive interview, I spoke to Jacqueline Novogratz about why we need a moral revolution in our world.

Thought Economics

I am one of the early birds…Ece Temelkuran told me, “I saw democracy collapse in Turkey and tried to warn the United States, European Countries and Britain about this.  I’ve been telling people that what you think is normal, or a passing phase, is part of a bigger phenomenon that affects us all.  Somehow though, European democracies feel they’re exceptional – and too mature to be affected by neofascist currents.Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator, whose journalism has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, New Statesman, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Der Spiegel. In this exclusive interview, we discuss the dangers of populism, authoritarianism and fascism, and why we need to act now.

Thought Economics

In this exclusive series of interviews, we speak to seven experts on conflict and peace building.  Four Nobel Peace Prize Winners; Prof. Jody Williams (Chair, Nobel Women’s Initiative), Dr. Shirin Ebadi (Human Rights Lawyer and Educator), President Maarti Ahtisaari (Former President, Finland and Founder of CMI – The Crisis Management Initiative), Lech Wałęsa (Former President, Poland) alongside Marina Cantacuzino (Founder, The Forgiveness Project), Ben Ferencz (Former Prosecutor, Nuremberg War Crimes Trial) and Bertie Ahern (Former Taoiseach – Irish Prime Minister).  We discuss the causes of war and conflict, the impact of these phenomena on society, and look at what it will take to achieve a world at peace.

Thought Economics

Hussain Sajwani has an extraordinary story.  From modest beginnings, he has become a self-made billionaire, recognised as one of the most powerful Arabs in the world.  Sajwani is Founder & Chairman of the DAMAC Properties, a global business with revenues of over $1.6bn and 2000+ employees which has delivered over 25,000 homes and has a development portfolio of over 40,000 units.DAMAC is now one of the largest businesses in the United Arab Emirates, a region which has taken its wealth of oil & gas reserves, to create a dynamic, diverse and fast-growing economy. I had the pleasure of catching-up with Hussain Sajwani to learn more about the DAMAC story, and his views on entrepreneurship and investment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Thought Economics

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