February 25, 2021
To solve a puzzle, you never just look at one piece of it. So why do we try to tackle the most complex problems of modern life in such a piecemeal fashion?
From pandemics to politics, we discuss whether shifting to so-called “systems thinking” unlock hidden solutions to the world’s biggest problems.
From The Reading List
New York Times: “To Understand This Era, You Need to Think in Systems” — “So as a million media theorists before me have argued, in a few short decades, or depending on how you want to rate it, a few centuries, we’ve moved from the defining problem of human civilization being information scarcity.”
The Hill: “Systems Thinking — the new American idea” — “Systems Thinking is a somewhat vague concept, but one that is getting increased attention thanks to the news about coronavirus. The premise is simple, but putting Systems Thinking into practice can be challenging, especially for individualistic-minded Americans.”
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The Atlantic: “It Wasn’t Just Trump Who Got It Wrong” — “Many will be tempted to see the tragic coronavirus pandemic through a solely partisan lens: The Trump administration spectacularly failed in its response, by cutting funding from essential health services and research before the crisis, and later by denying its existence and its severity.”
New York Times: “How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right” — “When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans in January that they didn’t need to wear masks, Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar, a professor at the Mayo Clinic and the editor of the Blood Cancer Journal, couldn’t believe his ears.”
The Atlantic: “America’s Next Authoritarian Will Be Much More Competent” — “Now that Joe Biden has won the presidency, we can expect debates over whether Donald Trump was an aberration (‘not who we are!’) or another instantiation of America’s pathologies and sins.”
This program aired on February 25, 2021.