Thursday April 06, 2017

Reflections on Global Affairs: Is the world really falling apart?

Demonstrators gather to protest a day after President-elect Donald Trump's victory, at a rally outside Los Angeles City Hall on November 9, 2016.

Demonstrators gather to protest a day after President-elect Donald Trump's victory, at a rally outside Los Angeles City Hall on November 9, 2016. (RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Listen to Full Episode 53:59

The news has been bleak: Brexit, populism, terrorism and, an America divided. The war in Syria continues to rage and the number of refugees and other migrants world-wide is soaring. Then, there's economic inequality and a host of other big concerns. It's tempting to think that everything is falling apart. But is that really true? IDEAS in partnership with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto reflects upon the state of the world, along with a razor sharp panel. **This episode originally aired December 19, 2016,


Michael Blake, Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Governance at the University of Washington; Randall Hansen, Director of the Centre of European, Russian & Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Professor of Political Science; Janice Stein, the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and an internationally renowned expert on international conflict and global governance; and moderator Stephen Toope, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, take the global view in a time of disruption and change.

Thing Fall Apart - Munk School of Global Affairs Panel

Left to right: Randall Hansen, Janice Stein, Michael Blake & Stephen Toope. (Lisa Sakulensky)


The panel was recorded in front of a live audience at the Munk School of Global Affairs on November 29, 2016. Listen to the Question and Answer session which followed the panel.


 

Panelists:

Michael Blake, Talking Philosophy - War

Michael Blake

"There's a wonderful line from a book that I read a long time ago which said that most people say they're going to fight for truth and justice. But what they really want is that tomorrow looks more or less like today did. And for the first time in my adult life I think a lot of us are genuinely worried about what shape tomorrow is going to have. We've always been aware of change. We've always been aware of risk, but for the first time there seems to be some genuine skepticism about the project of liberal democracy, global justice and the possibility of an order founded on right and something approaching justice."

Michael Blake is a Professor of Philosophy, Public Policy, and Governance at the University of Washington. Until 2016, he was the Director of the UW's Program on Values in Society. He received his bachelor degree in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from Stanford University. He obtained some legal training at Yale Law School, before running away to become a philosopher. He is jointly appointed to the Department of Philosophy and to the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.


Munk-Things Fall Apart

Randall Hansen

"We're seeing in Europe and in North America a degree of political polarization, of extremism and frankly a success of racism to a degree that I would never have imagined possible. And for the first time in my life, I am actually extremely worried about liberalism and about maintaining all the achievements that we have achieved since the 1960s for women, for LGBT people and for racialized minorities."
 
Randall Hansen is Director of the Centre of European, Russian & Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Professor of Political Science. He has a doctorate from Oxford, and taught at the Universities of London and Oxford before taking up a Chair at the University of Toronto. The author of 4 books, 4 edited books, and dozens of articles, he works on immigration and refugees, eugenics and population policy, and the effect of war on civilian populations. 


Janice Stein

Janice Stein of the Munk School of Global Affairs

"The phrase, "Is the world really falling apart?" has an apocalyptic quality to it, which probably is not merited. I think what we are talking about is a world that is being disrupted, not for the first time. And disruption, when we think about it, has positive elements to it. It shakes up a sometimes very sclerotic set of institutions that don't work very well for many people. And it has a very negative quality to it because it disrupts cherished values that are so important to so many people. It's important to talk about this because everyone in this conversation has so much at stake."

Professor Janice Gross Stein, the Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, is an internationally renowned expert on international conflict and global governance. Her analysis is regularly featured across Canadian media covering breaking developments around the globe, from military action in Eastern Europe to escalating conflict in the Middle East. Professor Stein's expertise is sought after by governments and foreign affairs specialists seeking council on negotiation, international security, and public education. As an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor Stein has been recognized for her outstanding contribution to public debate. She is member of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and holds Honorary Doctorate of Laws from four universities.

 
Moderator:

Munk Panel-Stephen Toope

Stephen Toope

Professor Stephen J. Toope is Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs. Before joining the Munk School in January 2015, Professor Toope was President of the University of British Columbia from 2006 to 2014. He represented Western Europe and North America on the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from 2002-2007. He continues to conduct research on many aspects of international law and is currently working on issues of continuity and change in international law, and the origins of international obligation in international society. Before joining UBC, Toope was President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Dean of Law at McGill. A Canadian citizen, Professor Toope earned his PhD from Trinity College, Cambridge, his degrees in common law (LLB) and civil law (BCL) with honours from McGill University, and graduated magna cum laude with his AB in History and Literature from Harvard University.
 

Reading list from Michael Blake:

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined  by Steven Pinker, Penguin, 2012
  •  Achieving Our Country by Richard Rorty, Harvard, 1998
  • "How Stable Are Democracies? 'Warning Signs Are Flashing Red'" by Amanda Taub,  29 November 2016, New York Times

Reading list from Randall Hansen:
 

  • The History of White People by Neil Irvin Painter, WW Norton, 2011
  • Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild, New Press, 2016
  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014

Reading list from Janice Stein

  • The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America's Role in the World by Derek Chollet, Public Affairs, June 28, 2016
  • China's Future by David Shambaugh, Polity, March 14, 2016
  • The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston, Melville House Publishing, August 2, 2016
  • Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, Penguin Canada, May 7, 2016
  • The Hacked World Order by Adam Segal, PublicAffairs, February 23, 2016
  • Islamic Exceptionalism by Shadi Hamid, St. Martin's Press, June 7, 2016
  • Objective Troy by Scott Shane, Tim Duggan Books, September 13, 2016
  • Blood Year: The Unraveling of Western Counterterrorism by David Kilcullen, Oxford University Press, March 8, 2016
  • Free Speech by Timothy Garton Ash, Yale University Press, May 24, 2016

Related websites:


The Sharing Economy and the Public Good - Munk School Logo

The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto  brings together the best minds to advance the latest thinking on  global issues. Its mission is to integrate research on global affairs with teaching and public education.



**This episode was produced by Sara Wolch