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Festival of Economics

How Has Economic and Political Change Shaped Our World? Helen Thompson

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Helen Thompson discusses the overlapping geopolitical, economic and political crises faced by Western democratic societies in the 2020s.

The twenty-first century has brought a powerful tide of geopolitical, economic and democratic shocks. Their fallout has led central banks to create over $25 trillion of new money, brought about a new age of geopolitical competition, destabilised the Middle East, ruptured the European Union and exposed old political fault lines in the United States.

Thompson offers an account of the shocks in recent years, pulling together three strands – the geopolitics of energy, the evolution of the world economy and the changing political landscape in Europe. She explains how in the years of political disorder prior to the pandemic the disruption in each of these became one big story. She shows how much of this turbulence originated in problems generated by fossil-fuel energies, and explains why as the green transition takes place the long-standing predicaments energy invariably shapes will remain in place.

In conversation with Sarah Smith, Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol.

Recorded in front of a live audience in May 2022.

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