Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria spoke at the Ath last night. I enjoyed his stories and fun facts, but when you try to be funny and don't cite things I'm not going to be very convinced about the points you're making. I am skeptical of using narratives and making predictions as a way of explaining the world. First he pointed out that the world is much more stable than it was, and listed three reasons why that was the case, about technological progress and central banks dealing with inflation and so on. Also he said that one main reason is we're not fighting the Soviet Union anymore, and that none of the top seven economies are fighting each other. He is right that the world is much more stable than it was before, but I disagree that we can project this peace out into the future. For one thing, we've been lucky in terms of natural disasters. One giant volcano eruption and a whole lot of people would go hungry fast as global crop supply would fail to meet demand. Or a solar eruption could cause such a large burst of electromagnetism that it would wipe out the entire East Coast transmission bank. Or some leader could decide to be unhappy with his lot and invade another country, or start boosting his army. He also pointed out that the USA is losing its competitive edge, and that we lack the political will to impose any short-term pain for long term benefit. Very well. I guess when you pay Fareed Zakaria to come to your school you should expect wide geopolitical commentary. I was concerned about the shaman-like nature of the questions in the Q&A session. He sounded smarter than he does on TV.

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