Tuesday Reads

Globalization Spurring Growth Of Anti-Elite Sentiments
On the heels of remarks by Pope Francis and President Obama on the need to address economic inequality, Ian Buruma argues that despite its benefits, globalization has left many feeling left behind in the new economy. That sense of abandonment, the Bard College professor asserts, is creating a growing discontentment against “the elites.”

“Many people benefit from globalisation. But many others feel left behind and marginalised. This is why they are so resentful. Exploiting this feeling is politically expedient and wins a lot of votes. But there is a contradiction in much contemporary populism. In the US, populists who hate Wall Street almost as much as the UN are sponsored by billionaires whose interests are far removed from those of their supporters. Supporters of Ukip want Britain to break away from Europe and become a western Singapore. This might be good for London, but would surely be a disaster for provincial England – where most Ukip voters live,” says Buruma,

He continues, “The politics of hatred never result in anything good. But preaching the old liberal shibboleths about internationalism, the richness of immigrants’ cultures and the horrors of racism are not enough. The borderless economy must become more equitable to temper growing inequalities and to shield the vulnerable from global market forces.”

Top Ten Global Trends
Thomas Malnight, professor of strategy and general management at IMD, and Tracey Keys, director of strategy at Dynamics Global, have compiled a top ten list of global trends. Among the trends they forecast is a new globalization that will concentrate on hubs, rather than on nations.

Are The Chinese Lacking A Sense Of Innovation?
Con Cao, a professor at the University of Nottingham, attributes the lack of Nobel Prizes won by China to a deficit of imagination.

“There are many reasons for China’s failure to win the prestigious award. An education system enslaved to rote learning and test scores is one. Zheng Yefu, a sociologist at Beijing’s Peking University, insists that no matter what university you study at – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Yale – you have no chance of winning a Nobel Prize for science if you have spent your first 12 years in a Chinese school. An exaggeration perhaps but the premise of his argument is sound: individuality, curiosity, imagination and creativity are simply expunged by the Chinese education system,” he contends.

Equally, there are few incentives for researchers to risk exploring the unknown, as the system does not tolerate “failure” in research terms. Consequently Chinese scientists are more likely to conduct research that yields quick and achievable outcomes, rather than fostering grander aspirations for the advancement of knowledge.

The death of Nelson Mandela sparked a conversation about his path to president, including the periods during which he was an advocate for using violence to achieve his goals. It also elicited a broader conversation about which freedom fighters the US supports and those it condemns.

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