Politics on the Couch

A podcast about psychology, politics and anything else that comes up along the way.

The Megacrisis – how the world's problems piled up – a conversation with Helen Thompson Politics on the Couch

This week, Rafael Behr and Professor Helen Thompson discuss her new book Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century. The book, which was released on the day Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, recounts three histories—one about geopolitics, one about the world economy, and one about western democracies. She explains how a confluence of different crises, building over many years, has created the current mood of global, epoch-defining disorder. It shows how much of this turbulence originated in problems generated by fossil-fuel energies, and it explains why, as the green transition takes place, the longstanding predicaments energy invariably shapes will remain in place. In light of her new book and the war raging in Ukraine, in this edition of Politics on the Couch Rafael and Helen discuss a wide-range of ideas and issues: Topics discussed: Was the Russian invasion of Ukraine an inflection point in history and how do we know if we're living through one? Do individuals and charismatic personalities shape history or merely express longer-running trends and bigger forces? Does Johnson have any ideology? If so, what is it? Can the year we're born can shape our optimism about the future? Has the pandemic affected the way citizens view making big sacrifices for a greater good? How can strong political identities be forged from adversity? Do Western liberal democracies have the capacity to drive through the change needed to make the green transition? Is China as an authoritarian state at an advantage? What lessons has the Ukrainian war taught us about energy policy and green transition? Helen's new book: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/disorder-hard-times-in-the-21st-century/9780198864981 Helen's Cambridge University page: https://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/Staff_and_Students/dr-helen-thompson Politics on the Couch has been chosen by Feedspot as one of the Top 25 UK Psychology Podcasts and Top 25 Political Science Podcasts on the web. https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_psychology_podcasts https://blog.feedspot.com/political_science_podcasts
  1. The Megacrisis – how the world's problems piled up – a conversation with Helen Thompson
  2. Is Democracy Rational? A conversation with Steven Pinker
  3. Order and chaos – why the left keeps losing
  4. Empire State of Mind, with Sathnam Sanghera
  5. Radicalisation – how minds go to extremes, and how to turn them back

The full Politics on the Couch archive is here.