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Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

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America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

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America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

iTunes Ratings

1613 Ratings
Average Ratings
1307
159
68
30
49

Stimulating, relevant, necessary

By thotsalot - Nov 30 2019
Read more
Everybody should listen to these debates.

Live the civil discourse

By Florida is weird - Sep 07 2019
Read more
Love this podcast. Sometimes it makes me change my mind. It always makes me think.

iTunes Ratings

1613 Ratings
Average Ratings
1307
159
68
30
49

Stimulating, relevant, necessary

By thotsalot - Nov 30 2019
Read more
Everybody should listen to these debates.

Live the civil discourse

By Florida is weird - Sep 07 2019
Read more
Love this podcast. Sometimes it makes me change my mind. It always makes me think.
Cover image of Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Latest release on Jan 10, 2020

Read more

America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

Rank #1: Is Islam A Religion Of Peace?

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That's how former President George W. Bush characterized it, but some take a different view. A panel of experts takes on the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

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Oct 14 2010

52mins

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Rank #2: Science Refutes God

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On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

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Dec 11 2012

52mins

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Rank #3: #104 - Should We Abolish the Death Penalty?

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A recent Gallup poll found that Americans are still largely supportive of the death penalty, with 6 in 10 in favor as punishment for murder. At the heart of the debate are many complicated questions. Within a flawed criminal justice system, is it possible to know every person’s guilt with a sufficient degree of certainty? Does the fear of death reduce crime? Are there race and class biases in sentencing? Are some crimes so heinous in nature that punishment by death is the only appropriate measure, or is capital punishment always immoral?

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Apr 22 2015

52mins

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Rank #4: Should Airports Use Racial And Religious Profiling?

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The recent furor over screenings and pat-downs has catapulted airport security back into the spotlight. Should airports be targeting their limited resources differently? A team of experts examines the question in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

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Nov 30 2010

52mins

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Rank #5: #101 - Are Liberals Stifling Intellectual Diversity?

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What is college for? For many, it’s a time for personal and intellectual growth, to meet new people, and to explore ideas and philosophies that challenge their beliefs. Or is it? Recent cancellations of conservative speakers, rescinded honorary degrees, and scrutiny of certain campus groups have heightened perceptions that there is pervasive liberal intolerance on campuses. Are liberals shutting down speech and debate on campus? Or is this theory a myth, based on the preponderance of liberals at universities rather than intentionally discriminatory actions?

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Mar 03 2015

52mins

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Rank #6: #171 - Should We Replace Private Insurance With Medicare For All?

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As the nation gears up for the 2020 election, Democrats are promising bold new changes to the American health care system, including scrapping private health insurance and adopting “Medicare for All.” Is this a bold and effective way to repair health care in America? Or will it inflate the already swelled federal deficit?

Learn more about upcoming debates at www.iq2us.org/buy-tickets

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Oct 04 2019

53mins

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Rank #7: #57 - Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion?

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A rabbi, a descendant of Charles Darwin, a philosopher and a scholar face off over religion in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

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Nov 21 2011

52mins

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Rank #8: Reconsidering The Minimum Wage

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Although widespread retail-worker strikes failed to enact a rise of the federal minimum wage in 2013, on the state level, the tide is turning. Last week 13 states started the New Year by raised their minimum wage, and as many as 11 states, and Washington, D.C., are considering  passing similar legislation in 2014. To shed light on the evolving public debate surrounding wage gaps in the US we are revisiting a debate we staged last Spring “Abolish the Minimum Wage.” That evening James Dorn of the Cato Institute and popular economist Russ Roberts argued for the motion, and faced Jared Bernstein from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Karen Kornbluh, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. 

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Jan 08 2014

14mins

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Rank #9: Are The Rich Taxed Enough?

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How do we fix the economy? The U.S. government's budget deficit is nearing a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year and unemployment remains high. With the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012, what is the best move for continued economic recovery? Are the nation's wealthiest paying their fair share, or should tax cuts be extended to everyone in the name of job creation? Debaters include Romney's economic supervisor, Glenn Hubbard, economist Arthur Laffer, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and economist Mark Zandi.  

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Oct 29 2012

52mins

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Rank #10: Does Affirmative Action On Campus Do More Harm Than Good?

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Affirmative action, when used as a factor in college admissions, is meant to foster diversity and provide equal opportunities in education for underrepresented minorities. But is it achieving its stated goals and helping the population it was created to support? Its critics point to students struggling to keep up in schools mismatched to their abilities and to the fact that the policy can be manipulated to benefit affluent and middle class students who already possess many educational advantages. Is it time to overhaul or abolish affirmative action? 

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Mar 26 2014

52mins

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Rank #11: #90 - Do Millennials Stand A Chance?

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Millennials—growing up with revolutionary technology and entering adulthood in a time of recession—have recently been much maligned. Are their critics right? Is this generation uniquely coddled, narcissistic, and lazy? Or have we let conventional wisdom blind us to their openness to change and innovation, and optimism in the face of uncertainty, which, in any generation, are qualities to be admired? The debaters are Binta Niambi Brown, David D. Burstein, W. Keith Campbell, and Jessica Grose.

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Apr 16 2014

53mins

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Rank #12: #97 - Should We Legalize Assisted Suicide?

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In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Since then, it has become legal in 4 more states, including New Mexico, where the state court ruling that it is constitutional is under appeal. Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone’s basic right to autonomy? The debaters are Peter Singer, Baroness Ilora Finlay, Andrew Solomon, and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy.

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Nov 20 2014

53mins

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Rank #13: #98 - Should We Genetically Modify Food?

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Genetically modified (GM) foods have been around for decades, and they are developed for a number of different reasons—to fight disease, enhance flavor, resist pests, improve nutrition, survive drought. Across the country and around the world, communities are fighting the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Are they safe? How do they impact the environment? Can they improve food security? Is the world better off with or without GM food?

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Dec 10 2014

53mins

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Rank #14: Are Men Finished?

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Last year, women made up the majority of the U.S. workforce for the first time ever. There are more women earning college degrees than men. Are women taking over the position of power in society, or are things just balancing out after years of male domination? A panel of experts debates.

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Sep 26 2011

52mins

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Rank #15: Is It Time To Clip America's Global Wings?

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As the United States grapples with a struggling economy and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some argue that it's time to scale back its role in the world. A team of experts discusses the pros and cons of this proposition in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.

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Apr 13 2011

52mins

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Rank #16: #96 - Does Income Inequality Impair The American Dream?

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Income inequality has been on the rise for decades. In the last 30 years, the wages of the top 1% have grown by 154%, while the bottom 90% has seen growth of only 17%. As the rungs of the economic ladder move further and further apart, conventional wisdom says that it will become much more difficult to climb them. Opportunities for upward mobility—the American dream—will disappear as the deck becomes stacked against the middle class and the poor. But others see inequality as a positive, a sign of a dynamic and robust economy that, in the end, helps everyone. And contrary to public opinion, mobility has remained stable over the past few decades. If the American dream is dying, is it the result of income inequality? Or is disparity in income a red herring where more complex issues are at play? The Debaters are Elise Gould, Edward Conard, Nick Hanauer, and Scott Winship.

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Oct 29 2014

53mins

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Rank #17: #91 - Is Death Final?

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If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? Is the prospect of an existence after death “real” and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality? The debaters are Dr. Eben Alexander, Sean Carroll, Dr. Raymond Moody, and Dr. Steven Novella.

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May 14 2014

52mins

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Rank #18: #143 - Do Liberals Hold the Moral High Ground?

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Motion: Liberals hold the moral high ground.

Do conservative or liberal philosophies lead to more just outcomes? Opposing moral philosophies have long fueled debate about America’s policy goals and national identity. For conservatives, morality is grounded in ideals such as patriotism, including a respect for order and authority; fairness and liberty in the sense that an individual’s actions yield just rewards, or consequences; and reverence for the sanctity of religious and moral tradition. Liberals place moral emphasis on caring: for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized; on fairness in the sense of redressing both historic wrongs and current inequalities of outcome; and on generosity extending beyond the bounds of nations or cultures. In today’s divisive political arena, which side best embodies the nation’s most cherished virtues? Morally speaking, is the left right?

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Dec 13 2017

53mins

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Rank #19: Does The President Have Constitutional Power To Target And Kill U.S. Citizens Abroad?

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With the drone strike on accused terrorist and New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, President Obama has tested the limits of the executive branch’s powers. Does the president have constitutional authority under the due process clause to kill U.S. citizens abroad, or is it a violation of this clause to unilaterally decide to target and kill Americans?

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Mar 12 2014

52mins

Play

Rank #20: #115 - Is Affirmative Action in College Admissions Constitutional?

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Students for Fair Admissions just challenged Harvard's affirmative action guidelines in federal court, and lost. But the advocacy group is gearing up to make their case again – this time, in the Supreme Court. In this episode, we revisit this timely and contentious debate: Does the Constitution allow racial preferences in university admissions?

Use code Friends30 for 30% off tickets to upcoming live debates: https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/buy-tickets

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Oct 18 2019

56mins

Play

Bonus Episode: Can Progressives Save Capitalism?

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Does capitalism need saving? In this special episode, Intelligence Squared partners with Foreign Affairs to take a nuanced look at the state of the capitalism debate in America, and the potential problems facing our economic system. Joining host John Donvan is Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz with recent Intelligence Squared alum and Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward.


A message from our sponsors: Watch or listen to Argumentation – and any of The Great Courses Plus’ thousands of lectures - Free for an Entire Month! Get started now thegreatcoursesplus.com/DEBATE


A message from our partner: Go to www.ForeignAffairs.com/faiq2 and enter the promo code faiq2 for a discounted issue.

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Jan 10 2020

45mins

Play

#97 - Should We Legalize Assisted Suicide?

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Now legal in nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia, physician-assisted suicide has a growing contingency that want to legalize the practice. Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone’s basic right to autonomy, the right to end pain and suffering, and the right to choose to die with dignity?


FOR THE MOTION:

Peter Singer - Philosopher & Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University

Andrew Solomon - Author, "Far From the Tree" & Prof. of Clinical Psychology, Columbia University


AGAINST THE MOTION:

Baroness Ilora Finlay - President, British Medical Association & Member, House of Lords

Dr. Daniel Sulmasy - Prof. of Medicine and Ethics, University of Chicago & Member, Presidential Bioethics Commission

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Dec 27 2019

53mins

Play

Bonus Episode: How Do We Make Our Debates Happen?

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In this special episode of Intelligence Squared U.S., host and moderator John Donvan sits down with our newly appointed CEO Clea Conner to pull back the curtain on how we make our debates, choose debaters, and talk about what happens off the stage.


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Dec 13 2019

48mins

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#174 - Is Capitalism a Blessing?

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Capitalism has always had its critics. But now, a new generation of political leaders, scholars, and activists are calling the free-market system into question. Has capitalism been a force for good? And should it be the economic model of the future?


FOR THE MOTION:

John Mackey - Co-Founder & CEO, Whole Foods Market

Katherine Mangu-Ward - Editor-in-Chief, Reason


AGAINST THE MOTION:

Bhaskar Sunkara - Founding Editor, Jacobin

Richard D. Wolff - Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst


GETQUIP.COM/debate for your first refill free!

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Nov 29 2019

54mins

Play

#173 - Is Parenting Overrated?

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How much does our DNA shape who we become? Four experts in science and psychology debate the classic "nature versus nurture" question with a eye toward recent breakthroughs in genetic science and DNA testing.

FOR THE MOTION:

Robert Plomin - Professor of Behavioral Genetics, King’s College London

Nancy Segal - Professor of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton & Director, Twin Studies Center


AGAINST THE MOTION:

Paige Harden - Psychology Professor, University of Texas

Ann Pleshette Murphy - Author & Parenting Expert


Cast your vote at www.iq2us.org

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Nov 15 2019

53mins

Play

#172 - Has Europe Declared War on American Tech Companies?

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Should we look to Europe for the future of big tech regulations? Four leading thinkers in tech, governance, and law debate the state and future of big tech, and whether it's time to impose greater regulations on companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

FOR THE MOTION:

Roslyn Layton - Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Berin Szóka - Founder and President, TechFreedom


AGAINST THE MOTION:

Marietje Schaake - International Policy Director, Stanford's Cyber Policy Center & Fmr. Member, European Parliament

Ramesh Srinivasan - Director, UC Digital Cultures Lab & Professor, UCLA


Cast your vote at www.iq2us.org

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Nov 02 2019

53mins

Play

#115 - Is Affirmative Action in College Admissions Constitutional?

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Students for Fair Admissions just challenged Harvard's affirmative action guidelines in federal court, and lost. But the advocacy group is gearing up to make their case again – this time, in the Supreme Court. In this episode, we revisit this timely and contentious debate: Does the Constitution allow racial preferences in university admissions?

Use code Friends30 for 30% off tickets to upcoming live debates: https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/buy-tickets

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 18 2019

56mins

Play

#171 - Should We Replace Private Insurance With Medicare For All?

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As the nation gears up for the 2020 election, Democrats are promising bold new changes to the American health care system, including scrapping private health insurance and adopting “Medicare for All.” Is this a bold and effective way to repair health care in America? Or will it inflate the already swelled federal deficit?

Learn more about upcoming debates at www.iq2us.org/buy-tickets

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Oct 04 2019

53mins

Play

#170 - Unresolved: Shifting Power in the Middle East

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Saudi Arabia and Iran are vying for regional dominance. Turkey is cozying up to Russia and China. And instability, conflict, and proxy wars have engulfed Syria, Yemen, and beyond. How should the United States respond to shifting power in the Middle East? Five leading national security experts debate.

Learn more about the upcoming season and buy tickets to a live debate at www.iq2us.org/buy-tickets

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Sep 20 2019

53mins

Play

Bonus Episode: Are We In a New Authoritarian Era?

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In this special episode, host John Donvan sits down with two of America's leading thinkers on politics and foreign policy: Susan Glasser and Yascha Mounk. They discuss the rise of authoritarian leaders around the world and their featured articles in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs magazine.

Go to www.ForeignAffairs.com/faiq2 and enter the promo code faiq2 for a discounted issue.

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Sep 06 2019

48mins

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Chris Anderson on Ideas & Inspiration

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How do good ideas and persuasive arguments change the world? In this episode, host John Donvan speaks with TED curator Chris Anderson about how bringing people together to share new and innovative ideas will shape our collective future.  

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Aug 30 2019

53mins

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#169 - Is U.S. Policy Toward China Productive?

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Are recent U.S. policies toward China tough and focused enough to achieve key economic and strategic objectives? Or will U.S. policy escalate tensions too much, ultimately reducing the
chances that the world’s two major powers can achieve a sensible accommodation? Join four leading experts for a debate on the motion, “The Recent U.S. Policy Toward China Is Productive.”
Learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. and cast your vote to decide the winner at IQ2US.org. Charles Duhigg's "How To" podcast

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Aug 23 2019

53mins

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Simon Johnson on Science & the Economy

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Can focusing on science and technology transform how Americans think about the economy and the future of the nation's working class? In this episode of Discourse Disrupters, former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson joins host John Donvan for a conversation about his new book, "Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream."

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Aug 16 2019

56mins

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Allison Schrager on Risk and Reason In Everyday Life

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What happens when an economist walks into a brothel? In this episode, economist and author Allison Schrager talks with host John Donvan about her new book, “An Economist Walks Into a Brothel,” and how you can use reason to assess risk in your everyday life.

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Aug 09 2019

46mins

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Nadine Strossen & Thane Rosenbaum on Hate Speech in America

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In this episode of Discourse Disrupters, two of America’s top legal minds tackles one of the most pressing questions of the day: what should we do about "hate speech."

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Jul 26 2019

57mins

Play

#168 - Has the Transatlantic Relationship Been Irreparably Damaged?

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Populism is on the rise. Relations between American and European leaders are often tense. Is the transatlantic relationship beyond repair? Four of the brightest foreign policy minds gather in Brussels for this timely and thoughtful debate. This debate is presented in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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Jul 12 2019

53mins

Play

Bonus Episode: How Europe Is Answering to "America First"

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Team IQ2US is busy in Brussels, getting ready to bring you our next debate, “The Transatlantic Relationship Has Been Irreparably Damaged.” This one will be presented in partnership with the German Marshall Fund. In this episode, get ready for the debate with a special episode of “Out of Order,” created by our partners. In this podcast, the German Marshall Fund's president Karen Donfried sits down with senior fellow Peter Sparding to discuss the future of the transatlantic relationship. 

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Jun 28 2019

32mins

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#153 - Is Social Media Good for Democracy?

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A decade ago, Facebook and Twitter promised a digital revolution that would bolster democratic values and empower users around the world. Did that work out? In this episode, we take a look back at one of our most important debates to date. Join four leading thinkers in tech, policy, and media for spirited and timely debate on the motion, "Social Media Is Good For Democracy."

Cast your vote on the motion at iq2us.org

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Jun 14 2019

51mins

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#126 - Should the U.S. Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship?

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There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today. In a divided and contentious political climate where immigration is a key issue for voters across the ideological spectrum, what should happen to these individuals? This episode, we take a look back at our debate on the motion, "Give Undocumented Immigrants a Path to Citizenship." 

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May 31 2019

55mins

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#134 - Is Universal Basic Income the Safety Net of the Future?

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Presidential contender Andrew Yang wants to give every American a monthly check from the government, just to cover the basics. And he's not alone. Business leaders, particularly those in Silicon Valley, and some Democratic politicians are warming up to the idea of a universal basic income as a means to offset the impacts of automation in the workforce. In this episode, we take a look back at our debate on the motion, "The Universal Basic Income Is the Safety Net of the Future."

Receive your free 7-day trial at blinkist.com/debate

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May 17 2019

53mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

1613 Ratings
Average Ratings
1307
159
68
30
49

Stimulating, relevant, necessary

By thotsalot - Nov 30 2019
Read more
Everybody should listen to these debates.

Live the civil discourse

By Florida is weird - Sep 07 2019
Read more
Love this podcast. Sometimes it makes me change my mind. It always makes me think.