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Human nature in 2013

Human nature in 2013

What is cutting-edge research likely to reveal about our human nature in 2013? Steven Pinker, professor at Harvard University, gives his predictions in an interview with The Economist‘s Lane Greene at The Economist’s World in 2013 Festival on December 8th 2012.


Pankaj Ghemawat: Actually, the world isn’t flat

Pankaj Ghemawat: Actually, the world isn’t flat

It may seem that we’re living in a borderless world where ideas, goods and people flow freely from nation to nation. We’re not even close, says Pankaj Ghemawat. With great data (and an eye-opening survey), he argues that there’s a delta between perception and reality in a world that’s maybe not so hyperconnected after all.

Our world is not flat, says ecnomist Pankaj Ghemawat — it’s at best semi-globalized, with limited interactions between countries and economies.

Why you should listen to him:

There seem to be two leading views of globalization: either that it is done and the world is flat (a view popularized by Tom Friedman) or that it has led to a world dominated by corporations (Naomi Klein). Pankaj Ghemawat disagrees with both — and his case, backed by data, can be convincing. His most recent book, World 3.0, based on extensive research and backed up with abundant data, explores the true face of globalization–and shows that the world is not one vast market, but many small, interconnected, discrete entities, with varying degrees of openness to one another. That even the most open economies are still relatively closed. That we live in a world of semi-globalization at best. Ghemawat also refutes the assumption that globalization leads to homogeneization. According to The Economist, World 3.0 “should be read by anyone who wants to understand the most important economic development of our time.”

Ghemawat is a professor of strategic management at IESE Business School in Spain. In his latest work, he explores another kind of networked economy–the cross-border “geography” of Facebook and Twitter followers.

“He refutes the idea that there is a single global economy…Instead, he argues, on the basis of various economic measures and indicators, nations are much more disconnected than we imagine. Regional differences exist and matter.”  Harvard Business Review‘s “Thinkers50,” 2011


Carl Honore: In praise of slowness

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world‘s emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there’s a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.

Journalist Carl Honore is best known for his advocacy of the Slow Movement. His book In Praise of Slowness dissects our speed-obsessed society and celebrates those who have gotten in touch with their “inner tortoise.”

Why you should listen to him:

Canadian-born journalist Carl Honore has written for The Economist, the Houston Chronicle, the Observer, and the National Post, but he is best known for his advocacy of the Slow Movement. A loose and international effort by the harried and haggard to decelerate the pace of their lives, the Slow Movement spans everything from telecommunications (slow email) and health care (slow medicine) to diet (slow food) and public space (slow cities).

Honore’s bestselling book In Praise of Slowness plots the lineage of our speed-obsessed society; while it recognizes the difficulty of slowing down, it also highlights the successes of everyday people around the world who have found ways of doing it. Honoré traces his “Aha” moment to his son’s bedtime, when Honore would race through storybooks — skipping pages, reading portions of paragraphs — to move things along. (He’s since reformed.) His next book, Under Pressure, is about how we are raising a generation of overprogrammed, overachieving and exhausted children.

“[Honore] shows us various methods to release ourselves … from what Baudelaire denounced as ‘the horrible burden of time,’ to break free of the Matrix-like illusion that we have no choice. ”  The Washington Post