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Episodes

How can we revive UK economic growth?

4/12/2019
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This is a recording from the Academy of Ideas Economy Forum on Monday 8 April 2019. The session title was ‘How can we revive UK economic growth?’ (academyofideas.org.uk/events/archive…conomic_growth) The speaker is John Mills, an entrepreneur, economist and author, noted for his writing on Brexit, the Labour Party and the exchange rate. In the political world, he formerly served as chair of Labour Leave, Labour Future, The Pound Campaign and LESC, and co-chair of Business for Britain and...

Duration:01:38:36

Culture: who pays?

4/5/2019
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Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018 at The Barbican, London. Should funding for cultural projects be scaled back in a time of fiscal crisis? As we approach the National Lottery’s 25th anniversary, many are asking questions about where funding for culture should come from. Some anti-austerity campaigners say that new projects like the V&A museum in Dundee, at a cost of £80million, put unnecessary pressure on already stretched budgets. Others argue that a vibrant...

Duration:01:15:20

From robots to UBI: is capitalism digging its own grave?

3/22/2019
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Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018. After the fall of the Soviet Union, a broad political consensus emerged that ‘there is no alternative’ to capitalism, which even the 2008 financial crash did little to disturb. But now things appear to be changing, with support for politicians like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders who call for a new way of organising the economy. A slew of recent books, epitomised by Paul Mason’s Post-Capitalism, argue that technological...

Duration:01:00:07

Do the right thing? The moral responsibility of the artist

3/15/2019
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Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018. ‘There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.’ Oscar Wilde’s view of art as essentially an aesthetic pursuit, one concerned with transcendent beauty and the human condition, has arguably now been superseded. But artists are routinely being ‘called out’ if their work represents minority groups in a light that is perceived as negative. The Globe’s new director, Michelle...

Duration:02:24:11

From anti-vaxers to Alfie's army: have we lost faith in medical science?

3/1/2019
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Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018. According to the 2017 Ipsos MORI Veracity Index, nurses and doctors are the most-trusted people in the UK. But in certain contexts, this trust seems to evaporate. Take the ever-present anti-vaccination (or ‘anti-vax’) movement, the popular reaction when medical professionals decide it is no longer right to try to keep very sick children alive or instances of apparent malpractice have also raised serious public concerns. In these...

Duration:01:16:42

Understanding anti-Semitism today

2/22/2019
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Recording of a debate from the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018. From racist attacks to ominous propaganda, anti-Semitism appears to be making a comeback in Europe. In the UK, the Labour Party has been very publicly split over how it deals with the issue. In one respect, it looks like the simple return of what has been called ‘the longest hatred’. But while anti-Semitism has long been seen as a right-wing phenomenon, particularly since the Nazis, today’s anti-Semites are more likely to rail...

Duration:01:20:10

How fear works

2/14/2019
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A recording of a discussion at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018. Published in 1997, Frank Furedi’s book Culture of Fear was widely acclaimed as perceptive and prophetic. In his new book, How Fear Works, Furedi seeks to explore two interrelated themes: why fear has acquired such a morally commanding status in society today and how the way we fear has changed from the way it was experienced in the past. How has fear become detached from its material and physical source, so that it is now...

Duration:00:43:40

Automatic lovers: should we be worried about sex robots?

2/8/2019
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A recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018. Science fiction has long explored the use of robots for sex, but the application of new technologies has been pushing the boundaries of sexuality towards the mechanical in real life. Interaction with fully functioning robotic sexual partners could soon be a practical alternative to actual sex. Advocates claim many people could benefit, from men who struggle with intimacy to women trafficked into sex work. Critics claim sex...

Duration:01:43:20

Does our DNA define us?

1/31/2019
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A recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018 at The Barbican, London on Sunday 14 October. In Blueprint: how DNA makes us who we are, the world’s leading behavioural geneticist, Robert Plomin, argues that our inherited DNA differences make us who we are as individuals. This conclusion is at odds with the importance ascribed to our education and the environment in which we grow up in shaping the person we become. But are there scientific or other good reasons to doubt...

Duration:01:01:14

Democracy under siege?

1/23/2019
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A recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival at the Barbican in London on 14 October 2018. Over the past year, debates about democracy and its woes have been ubiquitous. There are fears tech giants and algorithms are undermining elections. Liberal democratic values such as free speech and universalism are questioned, even by liberals. Populism is variously claimed to be a threat to democracy or its very embodiment. Some claim undereducated voters were conned into voting for...

Duration:01:21:06

What is a woman anyway?

1/14/2019
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A recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival 2018 in London on Saturday 13 October. What does it mean to be a woman? For some it’s about motherhood, others femininity, and some reject the whole idea of ‘womanhood’ outright. The Conservative Party’s proposed changes to the law around gender recognition have caused a fair amount of controversy around the question of what gender means and what it takes to be a woman. Is it about experience? Is it simply an identity which can be...

Duration:01:08:14

Podcast of Ideas: the 2018 culture wars

12/20/2018
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In the third of our end-of-year round-ups for 2018, the Academy of Ideas team - Claire Fox, Alastair Donald, Geoff Kidder, Rob Lyons, Jacob Reynolds and Ella Whelan - discuss everything non-Brexit in 2018. Is there a populist revolt spreading across Europe? What has happened in the gender wars of 2018? And is free speech still under threat?

Duration:00:32:39

Podcast of Ideas: Brexit special

12/20/2018
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In the second of our end-of-year round-ups for 2018, the Academy of Ideas team - Claire Fox, Alastair Donald, Geoff Kidder, Rob Lyons, Jacob Reynolds and Ella Whelan - discuss a year of Brexit battles, the prospect of a second referendum and what the future holds for British democracy.

Duration:00:34:01

Podcast of Ideas: sports review 2018

12/12/2018
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In the first of our end-of-year round-ups for 2018, the Academy of Ideas team - Alastair Donald, Geoff Kidder, Rob Lyons and Declan Rooney - discuss England's World Cup run, whether Luka Modric is the best footballer in the world, where Lewis Hamilton sits among the all-time great English sportsmen and what make's a 'people's champion'.

Duration:00:53:58

All change: navigating the new political disruption

12/7/2018
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Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas 2018. Whatever way we read today’s political disruptions, change is in the air. Mainstream political parties internationally, from Italy to Sweden, are being thrown into disarray by new challengers. Democratic votes, from Brexit to Trump, are seemingly giving two fingers to establishment norms. This turbulent atmosphere is undoubtedly unsettling. It is understandable that we can be tempted to resist change because of the risks associated with...

Duration:04:09:14

Rule Book Britain: are we in love with legislation?

11/30/2018
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A recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas 2018 festival at the Barbican on Sunday 14 October, produced in partnership with Diageo (full details here). Almost every aspect of life in the UK is heavily regulated, from housing and transport to food and energy. Public health authorities have extended the reach of government intervention into our personal consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, salt, sugar and fat. While many critics of the EU look forward to Brexit as a means of cutting...

Duration:03:04:23

Advertising: all-powerful or over-rated?

11/23/2018
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On Friday 23 November, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a ban on adverts for junk food on London's transport network. Posters for food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar will disappear from the Underground, Overground, buses and bus shelters. But just how effective is advertising? That was the topic of this debate at the Battle of Ideas 2018 festival, produced in partnership with Diageo. (More details here.) INTRODUCTION Advertising has become a familiar target of hostile...

Duration:04:17:57

From SJW to gammon: weaponising political language

11/16/2018
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A recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2018 festival on Saturday 13 October at the Barbican in London. Language has always been a source of political controversy as much as a medium for discussing politics. Terms like ‘terrorist’ and ‘freedom fighter’ reveal the politics of the speaker as much as the nature of those described. But recent years have seen the proliferation of completely new terms: white Brexit voters are ‘gammons’, women critical of feminism have ‘internalised...

Duration:01:17:04

Is free speech a fiction? In conversation with Lionel Shriver

11/8/2018
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Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas 2018 festival at the Barbican in London on Sunday 14 October (www.battleofideas.org.uk). Novelist Lionel Shriver isn’t afraid of speaking her mind. At the 2016 Brisbane Writers Festival, she caused a furore by calling into question the contemporary focus on identity politics, saying ‘I hope the concept of cultural appropriation is a passing fad’. More recently, she was accused of racism when arguing that diversity quotas in publishing mean...

Duration:01:13:49

Drones: will they ever take off?

11/2/2018
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Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas 2018. In the past few years, remotely piloted air systems and unmanned air systems – commonly called ‘drones’ or ‘multicopters’ – have become widely popular. A relative lack of regulation until recently has meant that drones are still a controversial if exciting new technology, and society is undecided how best to deal with the challenges they pose. But will the danger of excessive regulation and the attention given to a new technology when...

Duration:01:03:26