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22 Ideas to Fix the World

Conversations with the World's Foremost Thinkers

Piotr Dutkiewicz

Publication Year: 2013

The aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis still reverberate throughout the globe. Markets are down, unemployment is up, and nations from Greece to Ireland find their very infrastructure on the brink of collapse. There is also a crisis in the management of global affairs, with the institutions of global governance challenged as never before, accompanied by conflicts ranging from Syria, to Iran, to  Mali. Domestically, the bases for democratic legitimacy, social sustainability, and environmental adaptability are also changing. In this unique volume from the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations and the Social Science Research Council, some of the world’s greatest minds—from Nobel Prize winners to long-time activists—explore what the prolonged instability of the so-called Great Recession means for our traditional understanding of how governments can and should function. Through interviews that are sure to spark lively debate, 22 Ideas to Fix the World presents both analysis of past geopolitical events and possible solutions and predictions for the future.
The book surveys issues relevant to the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Speaking from a variety of perspectives, including economic, social, developmental, and political, the discussions here increase our understanding of what’s wrong with the world and how to get it right. Interviewees explore topics like the Arab Spring, the influence of international financial organizations, the possibilities for the growth of democracy, the acceleration of global warming, and how to develop enforceable standards for market and social regulation. These inspiring exchanges from some of our most sophisticated thinkers on world policy are honest, brief, and easily understood, presenting thought-provoking ideas in a clear and accessible manner that cuts through the academic jargon that too often obscures more than it reveals.  22 Ideas to Fix the World is living history in the finest sense—a lasting chronicle of the state of the global community today. 
Interviews with: Zygmunt Bauman, Shimshon Bichler & Jonathan Nitzan, Craig Calhoun, Ha-Joon Chang, Fred Dallmayr, Mike Davis, Bob Deacon, Kemal Dervis, Jiemian Yang, Peter J. Katzenstein, Ivan Krastev, Will Kymlicka, Manuel F. Montes, José Antonio Ocampo, Vladimir Popov, Jospeh Stiglitz, Olzhas Suleimenov, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Immanuel Wallerstein, Paul Watson, Vladimir Yakunin, Muhammad Yunus

Published by: NYU Press

Title page, Copyright Page

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pp. ii-iv


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-x

Many people and organizations contributed to this book. Above all we are grateful to World Public Forum (WPF) “Dialogue of Civilizations” and personally to Dr. V. I. Yakunin (founding president of the WPF) and Dr. V. I. Kulikov (WPF executive secretary and this book’s project director) for their enthusiastic and very generous support for this ...

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pp. xi-xiv

It is trivial at this point to state that the world is in crisis. The aftereffects of the most recent global financial crisis continue to have major implications for the lives of tens of millions of people around the world, just as they continue to influence the fate of policymakers, political systems, and corporate behavior. Myriad other global crises—of democracy ...

Rethink the Nature of Humanity

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1. MUHAMMAD YUNUS: “All human beings have unlimited potential, unlimited capacity, unlimited creative energy”

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pp. 3-16

Muhammad Yunus is famous as an economist and a philanthropist, but he takes issue with both labels and with the way that mainstream economics and philanthropy are practiced.* He sees poverty, an issue he has sought to tackle in his writing and through his business endeavors, as a systemic problem that robs individuals of their ...

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2. WILL KYMLICKA: “Minority rights are a part of human rights”

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pp. 17-33

A world-renowned expert on minority politics, Will Kymlicka delves into a number of aspects of his field in this revealing and ultimately hopeful conversation with Raffaele Marchetti. The political theorist sees inequality, both social and economic, as one of the main problems fac-ing the modern world. He brief_ly traces the history of modern multi-culturalism and argues that progress, albeit fragile, has been made glob-...

Transform How the Global Economy Works

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3. JOSEPH STIGLITZ: “We can have faster economic growth if we reduce inequality”

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pp. 37-56

The Nobel laureate and renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz has long been a critic of many aspects of mainstream economic theory and policy. Here he delves into the history and failures of modern macroeconomics, which, most recently, failed to either foresee or address effectively the global economic crisis. He argues that other areas of economics have ...

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4 HA-JOON CHANG: “If you make consistent, gradual changes, they can add up to something enormous”

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pp. 57-69

Always one to give frank opinions about all matters economic, Ha- Joon Chang offers a no-holds-barred assessment of the current state of economic practice and theory. The diagnosis: neither is in good shape. While the recession, contrary to popular belief, is over in many countries, the crisis is not. Chang argues that if any theory had failed as badly in ...

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5. JOSÉ ANTONIO OCAMPO: “The new order is being born, but the old order is still strong”

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pp. 70-91

...“The new order is being born, but the old order is still strong”In a discussion that spans regions, economic systems, and modes of analysis, José Antonio Ocampo analyzes a changing global eco-nomic order. In clear terms, but without resorting to simplification, he outlines the primary challenges facing the global community in the wake of the current crisis and makes a number of suggestions ...

Recognize Everyone is Responsible for the Environment

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6. PAUL WATSON: “This is not Planet Earth; it’s Planet Ocean”

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pp. 95-110

Veteran environmental activist Paul Watson offers a provocative, counterintuitive, and iconoclastic view of the state of an environment in crisis. Basing his analysis on a long-term conception of ecological history as well as recent examples of environmental crises, his central premise is that the environmental movement is not about saving the ...

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7. MIKE DAVIS: “We need to become a planet of gardeners . . . to make our cities function as integral parts of nature”

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pp. 111-135

A stalwart of the American left, Mike Davis is not known for pulling punches, and he does not hold back in a wide-ranging discussion that covers population growth, urban decay, the end of U.S. hegemony, and the need for utopian thinking. In connecting the proverbial dots between many of the existential problems facing the world, he argues ...

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8. OLZHAS SULEIMENOV: “We are all interdependent on this earth”

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pp. 136-149

In this interview with one of Kazakhstan’s most renowned poets and public figures, Olzhas Suleimenov, Professor Rustem Zhangozha seeks insight from inside the Central Asian region into its recent social and political history. This conversation paints a dynamic picture of political and cultural contestation under Soviet rule and after the ...

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9. VLADIMIR YAKUNIN: “Think communally”

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pp. 150-165

In a rare interview, the Russian businessman and philanthropist Vladimir Yakunin shares his unique worldview with Vladimir Kulikov. Yakunin argues that the current global paradigm of human relations (interpersonal, international, and relating to the world’s environment and resources) is a predatory one. Eschewing mainstream critiques ...

Understand the Global Balance of Power

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10. IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN: “Recognize the structural crisis of the world-system”

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pp. 169-185

In a conversation that revisits and expands upon ideas that he has worked on throughout his career, Immanuel Wallerstein reflects on a world-system in crisis. He explains the origins and current applications of his seminal notion of a world-systems analysis and applies it to the current geopolitical landscape. He argues that U.S. hegemony ...

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11. ZYGMUNT BAUMAN: “Re-create the social state”

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pp. 186-201

In this challenging discussion with Vincent Della Sala, the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman focuses on the state of flux—the interregnum—in which the world finds itself. He suggests that we are seeing an increasing separation between politics and power, between the means avail-able to enact change and the vastness of the problems that need to be ...

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12. BOB DEACON: “Create global social policy”

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pp. 202-218

In a frank conversation, Bob Deacon, a preeminent expert on global social policy, explains the history of the concept as theory, policy, and practice, focusing primarily on welfarist policies since the acceleration of globalization in the 1970s. He argues that some problems, like disease, migration, and trade, cannot be dealt with at the level of the state ...

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13. PETER J. KATZENSTEIN: “Understand that power is diffuse and change is constant”

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pp. 219-244

A preeminent expert on international political economy, Peter Katzenstein offers a nuanced analysis of the current state of world power. Shying away from both misplaced optimism and economic apocalypticism, he argues that the main trend facing the modern, crisis- riddled world is a diffusion of power around the globe and among ...

Question the Role of Democracy

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14. CRAIG CALHOUN: “People want and need solidarity and social reproduction”

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pp. 247-265

In this unique take on the nature of modern political economy, Craig Calhoun argues that the ongoing crisis is not simply a crisis of capitalism but is instead a crisis of the modern “package” that linked politics, economics, and social relations in a specific way. Bringing a sociologist’s sensibility to the issue, he claims that the most worrisome aspect ...

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15. IVAN KRASTEV: “It is increasingly difficult to anticipate the future of democracy by looking back at its past”

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pp. 266-285

In a conversation with Richard Sakwa, Ivan Krastev paints a picture of not only a shifting global social and political landscape but of a new iteration of modernity itself. He argues that the modern crisis is unique in that public trust in both the market and political elites has been shaken simultaneously, leaving us to contend with a politics ...

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16. FRED DALLMAYR: “Genuine dialogue requires not only talking but a great deal of listening”

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pp. 286-301

Fred Dallmayr has written and lectured extensively about the need to respect plurality and foster dialogue among cultures, civilizations, and religions. In a thought-provoking conversation with Ghoncheh Tazmini, he expands upon many of the major themes of his life’s work in the context of continuing political crises. Challenging the ...

Respond to the Economic Crisis

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17. MANUEL F. MONTES: “People who want to change things must keep pushing for change”

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pp. 305-325

Manuel F. Montes brings a wealth of academic knowledge and a long list of credentials at various international and intergovernmental organizations to bear on the current economic crisis in this discussion with Adrian Pabst. He argues that the Asian crisis of 1997 was in many ways a “dress rehearsal” for the current global crisis and was ...

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18. SHIMSHON BICHLER AND JONATHAN NITZAN: “Capitalism as a mode of power”

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pp. 326-352

In a unique two-pronged dovetailing discussion, frequent collaborators and coauthors Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler discuss the nature of contemporary capitalism. Their central argument is that the dominant approaches to studying the market—liberalism and Marxism— are as flawed as the market itself. Offering a historically rich and ...

Make Development Possible

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19. JOMO KWAME SUNDARAM: “The best approach to economic development is pragmatism”

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pp. 355-376

Few people understand as well as Jomo Kwame Sundaram the economics of development and the field of development economics and have his range of analytical experience in the field. In this historically rooted and policy-oriented interview, he delves into the characteristics of development and growth. He argues that in examining development ...

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20. KEMAL DERVIŞ: “Developing countries can bring in advanced technology and actively catch up with developed countries”

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pp. 377-393

An expert on economic trends, poverty, and governance, Kemal Derviş focuses in his discussion with Kemal Kirişci on a number of such issues. One of his primary concerns is the paradoxical parallel reduction of the per capita income gap between developed and developing states and the increase in the income gap within states. The very same ...

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21. VLADIMIR POPOV: “Because the Chinese growth model became so successful in ensuring catch-up development it has become extremely appealing in the developing world”

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pp. 394-413

Vladimir Popov brings decades of policymaking and analytical experience to bear on the current state of the global economy. He argues that while the global economy is highly unstable, capitalism itself is not in crisis. In fact he suggests that there have been periods in recent history when socioeconomic instability has been greater than today. On the other hand, he points to the dramatic decrease in the ...

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22. JIEMIAN YANG: “Developing countries are in an unprecedentedly strong position in the world economy”

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pp. 414-424

The rise of China is, for the most part, either overhyped or downplayed, depending on the context and the economic and political opinions of the commentator. Yet fairly infrequently are Chinese experts actually consulted. In this detailed interview, Jiemian Yang delves into the importance of China and other emerging developing ...

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pp. 425-434

If there is a single central feature of the Great Recession as outlined in these conversations, it is that the contemporary crisis is one of the reproduction of social forms and ideas, if not of the social and environmental bases for the sustainable development of humanity itself. This comes out explicitly in the conversation between Craig Calhoun and ...


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pp. 435-442

Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 443-453


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pp. 455-466

E-ISBN-13: 9781479897506
E-ISBN-10: 1479860980
Print-ISBN-13: 9781479860982
Print-ISBN-10: 1479860980

Page Count: 492
Publication Year: 2013