An email exchange with Financial Times assistant editor Gillian Tett prompts reflections on the profit motive, technology, inequality and moral blindness. Tett takes the lead role, with guest appearances by Adam Smith, Silvio Berlusconi, and “Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc”.
The lack of an effective moral framework in post-reform China means that people’s daily activities are easily exposed to the anomic consequences of profit-seeking and unconstrained desires. The moral crisis underlies the crisis of the government that fails to be the moral exemplar for the people.
Legal scholar Eva Nanopoulos meets Jemima Stratford QC, one of two barristers who advised MPs on the legality of GCHQ’s electronic surveillance activities. She uses the opportunity to consider, via Orwell and Zamyatin, whether the legislation that seemingly authorises those activities is itself illegal under domestic law and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Related: read our interview with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.
Should people be helped to die? Professor Patrick Bateson weighs in on the enduring debate on the legalisation of assisted suicide.
Today, the intricate relationship between Russia and Ukraine is, as ever, decisive for the future of this part of the world. And, as ever, it remains largely simplified as either antagonistic or fraternal. Russian‐speakers in Ukraine effectively topple this dichotomy, Tanya Zaharchenko argues.
Some legends stick like magnets to our minds and blur the lines between what is, and is not. When in crisis, this can have detrimental effects. How will we perceive Spain’s economic crisis in the future? Will we see Spain as an overblown and excessive public spender that had to be put in its place? While Spain’s condition has various roots, none of them grew from overblown public expenditures or labour protection. A call to leave the legends to the tourist guides and take a closer look at the young democracy.
King’s College Provost Michael Proctor in conversation with Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, on subjects as varied as the past and future of cosmology, our knowledge of the the Big Bang, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
“When Du Bois wrote about the recently emancipated slaves, he said they certainly need food, clothing and shelter, but at the same time, to learn to communicate with the stars. Now that fourth item is not something about which you can just say, “oh well, that will be easily taught, because after all, they’ve suffered, and so they’re pure of soul”. All these mantras of “feminism is the secret”, or “the indigenous know the answer”, that one can just do anything with any group and they will just retain their purity. That is a very idealistic denial of history.”
King’s Review editors Sarah Stein Lubrano and Johannes Lenhard sat down with Nancy Fraser to have a discussion about the ongoing crises. We spoke about the potential for critique, new forms of capitalism and the possible role for academia, social movements and journalism.
A recent UC Berkeley #GlobalPOV video with professor Ananya Roy demonstrates that the issue of welfare dependency is just as bad among the middle classes and corporations as it is among the poor. KR editor Johannes Lenhard extends the case to Britain and links it up with recent ideas on the Universal Basic Income and the development of new welfare states in Asia and South America in this small blog-post.
On Wednesday March 26th, the day before US President Obama formally announced his intention to end the NSA’s bulk collection of data, Josh Booth spoke to the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger about press freedom, spies, and how not to hide journalism behind a paywall.
Related: read Nicholas Mulder’s piece on democracy and the national security state
The history of sanctions during the last century shows that those sanctions that are forceful enough to change the course of political history for the better are also destructive enough to change the course of economic history for the worse. Given this mixed record, and the strong integration of Russia into the world economy, American and European leaders should be extremely cautious in the use of sanctions.
The past few weeks I’ve been following the many journalists and bloggers who’ve had a sudden affinity for debating the scarcity and shortcomings of academics in the public sphere. From the spark of a single tweet or article, ideas often spread like wildfire in digital media.
How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation: A Conversation with Sydney Brenner
Nobel Prize winner Professor Sydney Brenner tells us that the key to encouraging innovation in research is to foster “deviant studies,” where researchers work in areas in which they are ignorant, allowing for fresh perspectives and new ideas. Unfortunately, academia today discourages this sort of creativity.
The composer Thomas Adès discusses his conception of beauty in relation to a photograph of his niece.