Podcast

Why Nations Fail

Professor Robinson joins us for a candid discussion about his book, ‘Why Nations Fail’. In it, he makes the case that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

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Take a look at some of the book reviews on “Why Nations Fail”:

Uncontacted Peoples

How far do the limits of modern society reach? What is “modern society,” and who belongs to it? What happens when states, organizations, and other members of the “connected world” come into contact with groups that may have little intersection with it? Should these groups be actively protected, thoroughly researched, or simply left alone? Follow along with us as we wrestle with these questions and more during this week’s episode, “Uncontacted Peoples.”

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Emergency Warning Systems

Emergency warning systems are used by countries across the world to alert citizens about a variety of incidents, from natural disasters to military threats. Modern emergency warning systems are taking advantage of new technologies such as text messaging to ensure warnings reach the broadest possible audience. These systems, however, vary in their effectiveness and are vulnerable to human error and even malicious interference.

In this episode, we look into the history of emergency warning systems, provide examples of how these systems have been leveraged across various countries, and discuss their level of effectiveness in ensuring citizen safety.

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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Ethiopia and Eritrea’s Sudden Peace

Ethiopia and Eritrea have been in near constant tension over the past several decades. In recent months, however, the two countries have ended their state of war and are working toward full normalization of relations.

In this episode, we explore the history of conflict and tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea and then discuss the recent successful peace overtures between the two countries. Lastly, we examine whether or not the recent peace between these two nations is sustainable.

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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Photo Credit: Ministry of Information of the State of Eritrea

Bride Trafficking

The term “mail order brides” does not often invoke similar connotations to human trafficking, but bride trafficking is just that. Victims of this trade are forced to marry men they don’t know from foreign countries that are sometimes thousands of miles away from their homes and families. While it is worth noting that this industry isn’t exclusive to women, women and girls make up the majority of most cases.

People are trafficked for marriage, sex, and labor in virtually every country.  In this episode, we focus on bride trafficking in some of the countries where it is most prevalent. Marriage brokers provide men in developed countries with services to find women for marriage, often from developing countries. Sources for these brides often come from the Philippines, Vietnam, or Cambodia. In all of these source countries, marriage brokers are illegal.

China is one major destination of trafficked brides. Due to numerous demographic issues such as China’s one child policy, Chinese men source brides from countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, or even Ukraine. North Korea serves as a unique source for women in bride trafficking, as refugee flows coming out of North Korea provide a supply of exploitable women.

India is another common location for trafficked brides, most sourced internally. Young women or girls in India are often tricked or coerced, sometimes by family members, into marrying men from provinces in India with severe gender imbalances in the local populations. Other times, men from Middle Eastern countries travel to India for “contract” marriages, where men marry young girls for a limited period of time, before divorcing them upon return to their home countries. Contract marriages can also be permanent, where men will bring their Indian brides to their home countries. 

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National Apologies

Around the world, governments and nation-states have issued–and continue to issue–national apologies to victimized communities, populations, or countries. These apologies are often contentious and can cause ripple effects that influence foreign or domestic policies.

In this episode, we discuss what qualifies as a “national apology,” look at why national apologies are issued, and examine whether or not they achieve their intended goals.

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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Water Scarcity

In this episode, we examine the growing issue of water scarcity that has begun to plague cities and regions around the world. From California to Cape Town to Sao Paulo, we assess the causes and effects of water scarcity, and also discuss what to expect in the future.

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Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

Photo Credit: Zaian

Hello, Shadowlands – Organized Crime in Southeast Asia

In this episode, we speak with journalist Patrick Winn about his book, Hello, Shadowlands. Our conversation explores the various organized criminal groups, terrorist organizations, and even vigilante groups operating within Southeast Asian countries. Patrick provides insights into some of the causes of violence and drug trade in the region, describes the struggles of individuals caught up in the “shadowlands” world, and offers his perspective on what to expect in the future.

Australia’s Leadership Change

The top leadership job in Australia is like a revolving door: since 2007, not a single Prime Minister has been able to serve a full term. But why is this? Join us for a discussion on how the Australian political system, parties, and public all contribute to one of the toughest jobs in the Western democratic sphere. Read More

Ambassador Reuben Brigety on the African Union

Established in 2001, the African Union (AU) represents all African countries in the pursuit of economic development, human rights and security, and good governance. Africa is the youngest continent in the world with a booming population and several emerging economies, representing both immense potential and a serious challenge. 

In this episode, guest speaker Ambassador Reuben Brigety, the former US Ambassador to the African Union and current Dean of the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, discusses his experience representing the US within the AU.  Read More