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For most of the twentieth century, the US and the dollar reigned supreme. But economic power is shifting more and more away from the US to China and the other emerging economies. How much longer can the world’s biggest borrower be the leading political power? Filmed at the battle of ideas debate gets heated as speakers move from assessing the state of the US economy to suggesting what’s needed to fix it. Speakers include Professor Iwan Morgan, author and head of US Presidency Centre, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London; Phil Mullan, economist, author The Imaginary Time Bomb; Martin Wolf, author, associate editor and chief economics commentator, Financial Times.
Have today’s statesmen and women lost the knack of serious, calculated diplomacy? Or is old‐style statecraft simply less relevant in a world increasingly dominated by international institutions? In this fascinating debate filmed at the Battle of ideas, panellists explain what’s changed as they see it and the debate gets heated on the best way forward. Speakers include Dr Kerry Brown, author and head of Asia programme at Chatham House; Dame Ann Leslie, journalist at the Daily Mail; Karl‐Erik Norrman, author, founder and secretary‐general, European Cultural Parliament; Brendan O’Neill, editor, spiked; Mark Seddon, writer, broadcaster and author.
Events in the Middle East last year caused panic as oil supplies were threatened, while the spectre of nuclear meltdown at Fukushima offered a grim reminder of the risks posed by moving beyond ‘dirty’ fossil fuels. With renewable energy still a long way from being able to meet the shortfall, many gloomily predict a future of brownouts, deep-sea drilling disasters and even bitter resource wars. But others see shale gas and the ‘fracking’ process as a reason for hope. What role can innovation play in keeping the lights on? Speakers include Professor Gordon MacKerron, director of Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex; Tanya Morrison, government relations manager, climate change, Shell International; James Woudhuysen, professor of forecasting and innovation, De Montfort University.
Ever thought of foraging for your own food but don’t have the know-how? The Sustainable Living Advice Guru shows us how to get all the food we need from hedge-rows and our own back yard. No more visits to nasty big, bright, brash supermarkets will be needed as this a recipe for guilt free, local, unpackaged, non processed, natural, organic, sustainable, delicious eating
For this new strand on WORLDbytes guest experts with a critical take unpick orthodox ideas which suggest we should all tighten our belts. For this first programme debt is the issue and with us in the studio is Phil Mullan, Business Transformation Director with Easynet Global Services. He is also researching global economic trends and writing a book on ‘The Limits of Fudge: why muddling through can’t work forever’.
The Welfare Reform Bill has been hotly debated in both the House of Commons and Lords. By 2013, the government hopes to implement £18 billion in welfare cuts. We are told this will help save cash, get the unemployed back into work and it is only fair that the unemployed do not receive more on benefits than working families on a low‐wage. On the streets of Barking, East London, we asked the public what they thought and the response was instructive.
Is the internet just an echo chamber for the already converted, another tool in the activists’ toolbox or has it brought about fundamental changes? Some argue the uprisings across the Middle East are ‘Wikileaks revolutions’. The English Defence League (EDL) counts the people who have clicked ‘like’ on its Facebook as members. Yet, less than a quarter of those said they’d attended a demonstration. As the audience twitter, Paul Mason, broadcaster; author, Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere; economics editor, BBC's Newsnight provides a short lecture with respondents David Babbs, executive director, 38 degrees; Martyn Perks, director, Thinking Apart; Phil Booth, director, TRUTH2POWER.
Gay rights have vastly improved over the decades, but have we progressed enough? This lively on-the sofa discussion with Jason Smith a freelance journalist and director of Birmingham salon explores the state of ‘queer progress’ today, from Clinton and Cameron’s advocacy of tying foreign aid to gay rights to Stonewall calling for a policing of anti-gay speech in the playground. Has intolerance of anti-gay intolerants lead to a tyranny of the minority? Are gay individuals so vulnerable they now need posh protectors to police our views and intervene in African states?
On the streets of Walthamstow in East London, we ask the public what they think about the European Union. It’s clear that opposition to the EU is not the preserve of bigoted ‘little Englanders’, far from it. Eloquent, well informed citizens are seriously concerned at the EU’s undemocratic set up and want to have their say. Individuals backing the EU are hard to find and are against a referendum as they see their fellow citizens as ignorant and too ill educated to ‘understand the issues’.
Are we are living in one of the most fatalistic times? Scientists claim everything from sexual preference to criminality is hardwired, behavioural economics suggests we are essentially irrational and what happens in your childhood is said to stay with you. Fighting against the fates in this thought provoking debate are: Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law, George Washington University; author, The Supreme Court: the personalities and rivalries that defined America; Steve Rayner, James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization; director, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford; Frank Furedi, professor of sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury, author of On Tolerance: in defence of moral independence and Peter Hunter OP, principal tutor, philosophy, Blackfriars Hall; Dominican Friar.
What is the likelihood of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe? These questions have returned to the centre of attention since the launch of NASA’s Kepler mission. Already, hundreds of so-called exoplanets have been discovered and the first potentially habitable planets are being identified. In this illuminating debate, filmed at the Battle of Ideas a panel of experts consider the possibilities and implications of sentient life being detected elsewhere in the galaxy and how this affects our perception of what it means to be human. Speakers include: Dr John Elliott Post Detection Task Force member, writer and teacher Richard Swan, author Mark Vernon and the Chair is Sandy Starr from the Progress Educational Trust.
The prestigious Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition runs this national debating competition for sixth form students in the UK and in partnership with the British Council in India. Honoured to be partners with this inspiring organisation which privileges content over style, WORLDbytes volunteers have filmed many debates and edited this short glimpse of the toughest intellectual challenge around for 16-18 year olds. With hundreds of schools involved and top level judges, the competition puts learning on a new level, deals with issues which affect us all and never fails to inspire. For full details of the competition and to take part visit http://www.debatingmatters.com/
This simple make-it-at-home hoe is a powerful device that enables you to plough vast fields in your own back yard, grow all the food and dig all the wells you need. No longer will there be any need for supermarket shopping for groceries or spending hard-earned cash on environmentally-unfriendly packs of bottled water. To top it all off, you get all your daily exercise and a trim figure, just like the cavemen.
Parents, it seems, are no longer trusted to parent. If you fail to take on the latest childcare fad deemed best by policy makers for your baby, then you risk being judged a ‘bad parent’ – guilty of some kind of negligence and abuse. Hence the recent story in the UK of four children being taken away from their parents, without a right to contact, because the family were fat. WORLDbytes Citizen TV makers visited Jennie Bristow, journalist and writer of Standing Up To Supernanny and Alison Small and Jane Sandeman, members of the Institute of Ideas Parents Forum who provide a critical and thought provoking perspective, questioning prevailing distrust.
In the run-up to Christmas, many charities are encouraging us to shop ethically. By making moral choices about what you put in your shopping trolley, these charities say, you will not only have a guilt-free shopping experience but you will be helping millions to escape the worst excesses of poverty. But what exactly are these ethical principles which underlie the fair trade label and what do we really know about it? In this revealing report, we ask the public if they buy into fair trade and the response is a mixed bag. Many base their purchasing decisions on price and need and plenty of people who know the score in the developing world see it as far from fair.
The wind up is a small gadget with big uses. This seemingly normal handle is a device designed to power any electrical appliance by simply winding it up. Tipped to become the century’s most important invention preventing trillions of units of carbon emissions from polluting the air, reports suggest the wind up could reverse the effects of global warming within our lifetime.
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A pot that will grow food for your family and the entire world from the comfort of your own home is now a reality. A breakthrough in food production, a single pot will grow food for an entire household. In less than a week, you can grow your own tomatoes, parsnips, peppers and greens without worrying about the well-documented health and environmental risks of genetically modified food. What’s more, famines will be a thing of the past and nasty supermarkets will die a natural death, as they should. So get your pot, some seeds and start growing.
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Few today believe women are less intelligent, but some scientists say it’s time to accept male and female brains are differently wired. With the world still divided according to gender, however, critics argue the development of the brain is always influenced by cultural assumptions. In this extraordinary debate filmed at the Battle of Ideas, the issue gets heated with ‘scientism’ turning the clocks back and insisting male and female capabilities are fixed. Speakers include Dr Ellie Lee, reader in social policy, University of Kent, Canterbury; Dr Maurizio Meloni, research fellow, Institute for Science and Society, University of Nottingham; Dr Anne Moir, neuropsychologist; author, Brain Sex: the real difference between men and women & Dick Swaab, professor of neurobiology, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, University of Amsterdam. The chair is journalist and writer Timandra Harkness. This debate formed part of the Battle for our Brains strand at the Battle of Ideas, supported by the Wellcome Trust.
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The accusations in late 2009 that the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia had been manipulating or hiding data struck a blow to confidence in the IPCC, with whom the CRU is closely associated. While the researchers were largely absolved, more scandals followed from ‘Climategate’ – IPCC claims about the retreat of glaciers and increased tolls from natural disasters were also questioned. When science and politics become so deeply entwined, can we trust the evidence? Speakers include Tony Gilland, science and society director, Institute of Ideas; director, Debating Matters Competition; Oliver Morton, energy and environment editor, The Economist; author Eating the Sun: how plants power the planet, and Fred Pearce, freelance journalist; environment consultant, New Scientist; author, The Climate Files: the battle for the truth about global warming and Peoplequake. This debate was filmed at the Battle of Ideas at the end of 2010.
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Welcome to Dharavi where residents are reaching for the sky. They want Dharavi to surpass London as a great city. Unlike the poverty tourism and accolades awarded to communitarian slum living by the likes of Prince Charles and Kevin McCloud, Dharavi residents think big. Sadhvi Sharma takes us through the streets and introduces us to aspirant families for whom Dharavi is a place of transition. The least we can do, she argues, is support their aspirations.
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