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Whose Century Is It?: Ideas, trends & twists shaping the world in the 21st century

Updated 12 days ago

News & Politics
Society & Culture
Technology
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"Whose Century Is It?" explores ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century, through a global lens. Host Mary Kay Magistad, a former NPR and PRI East Asia correspondent, offers interviews, stories and perspectives from around the world.

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"Whose Century Is It?" explores ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century, through a global lens. Host Mary Kay Magistad, a former NPR and PRI East Asia correspondent, offers interviews, stories and perspectives from around the world.

iTunes Ratings

43 Ratings
Average Ratings
38
2
0
2
1

Love it!

By consultingpiskies - Mar 04 2017
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Intelligent, interesting, thought-provoking.

Excellent listening

By podcastlistenr - Mar 20 2016
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Smart takes on global issues, very worthwhile!

iTunes Ratings

43 Ratings
Average Ratings
38
2
0
2
1

Love it!

By consultingpiskies - Mar 04 2017
Read more
Intelligent, interesting, thought-provoking.

Excellent listening

By podcastlistenr - Mar 20 2016
Read more
Smart takes on global issues, very worthwhile!
Cover image of Whose Century Is It?: Ideas, trends & twists shaping the world in the 21st century

Whose Century Is It?: Ideas, trends & twists shaping the world in the 21st century

Updated 12 days ago

Read more

"Whose Century Is It?" explores ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century, through a global lens. Host Mary Kay Magistad, a former NPR and PRI East Asia correspondent, offers interviews, stories and perspectives from around the world.

Rank #1: Is the American Century Over?

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Americans have been worrying that their country's best days are behind it since before the American century began. And now? China's economic rise has persuaded many that China will supplant the US, if it hasn't already. But China's challenges are bigger than they look, and the US still has an edge when it comes to smart power, argues Harvard Professor Joseph Nye, author of "Is the American Century Over?"
Oct 08 2015
21 mins
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Rank #2: China, the US and the lessons of history

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Talk about epic love/hate relationships. From the birth of the United States, China has loomed large in the American imagination, and America in China's, for better and for worse, often with surprising twists. Build a wall across the Mexican border? That was first proposed to stop Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. Mao Zedong's secret vice? American 'kissy' movies, to quote former Washington Post China correspondent John Pomfret, author of "The Beautiful Country and the MIddle Kingdom," an engaging new history of what America and China have meant to each other's citizens, as well as their governments, 1776 to now. And because this is a big and important topic, this is a long(ish) podcast — so break it up if you like. Want to hear about why the Founding Fathers admired China? Listen to the first 20 minutes. How America did — and didn't — promote its values in China in the 20th century? That'd be 20:00-53:00. Challenges for US-China relations now and going forward? 53:00 to the end. Enjoy!
Dec 29 2016
1 hour 15 mins
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Rank #3: Soul searching in China

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A resurgence of interest in religion in China, after more than half a century of Communism and in the midst of China's rapid economic transformation and global rise, comes as new generations search for spiritual meaning and an ethical foundation. Host Mary Kay Magistad talks with former China correspondent colleagues Ian Johnson, author of "The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao," and Jennifer Lin, author of "Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Faith in a Chinese Christian Family," about how her own Chinese family, including Watchman Nee, the Billy Graham of China in the first half of the 20th century.
May 03 2017
1 hour 13 mins
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Rank #4: Can Chinese pragmatism help save the planet?

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China's leaders may not exactly be evangelizing about the perils of climate change, but compared to Donald Trump, these days, they look downright statesmanlike on this front. And Chinese policies on renewable energy, while often driven by pragmatic self-interest more than selfless concern for the planet, may nonetheless help tip the balance in the right direction in this century.
Jun 16 2017
56 mins
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Rank #5: Young China

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Few generations in the world face a reality as dramatically different from all that have come before, as China's one-child generation. Since the one-child policy started in the early '80s, China has gone from aspiring developing country to powerful global player. It has shifted from being majority rural to majority urban, with per capita annual GDP rising from $300 to over $8,000 now. Young Chinese are more connected with the world than previous generations, thanks to the internet, smartphones, films, television and travel and study abroad, with some 330,000 studying in the United States alone. What does all this mean for the kind of power China might become in this century? Host Mary Kay Magistad talks with Alec Ash, long-time Beijing resident and author of "Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China," in this final episode as a coproduction with PRI's The World (but not the last of the podcast — details in the episode).
Aug 27 2017
46 mins
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Rank #6: Rebuilding Brazil's economy requires more than BRICS and China

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Brazil's economy was blazing along in the first decade of this century, turbo-charged by China's appetite for commodities. And there was the added boost of being named, by a Goldman Sachs exec, one of the rising economies to watch — the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Then China's economic growth slowed, demand for commodities dropped and Brazil fell into its worst recession in a century, intensified by its worst corruption scandal ever. Brazil is beginning to emerge now, after two years of economic contraction and political turbulence. What are its prospects for again being seen as one of the great rising economic powers of this century? Host Mary Kay Magistad visited Rio de Janeiro to find out.
Aug 15 2017
29 mins
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Rank #7: Why half the world's languages may disappear in this century

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Embedded in each language is a reflection of life as lived by its speakers, over thousands of years. And when a language disappears, that embedded knowledge is lost. As the world grows more connected, and as dominant cultures push their own languages for wider use – think English, Chinese and Arabic, for starters -- languages are disappearing. As many as half the world's 7,000 languages may be gone by the end of the century. The good news is that linguists are on it, like this episode’s guest Laura Welcher, who oversees the Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project in San Francisco.

Apr 08 2018
1 hour 2 mins
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Rank #8: Identity, adoption and China's one-child policy

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Identity can be a tricky thing, especially if you're adopted from a country and culture that sees ethnic identity as immutable, to one where people reinvent themselves and their identities all the time. So it's been for many of the Chinese kids adopted into the United States, after landing in Chinese orphanages as a result of the one child policy. One of those kids, now grown, and her journalist mom have launched a project that reflects on identity, and led to an American daughter returning to her Chinese village of birth.
Feb 11 2016
32 mins
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Rank #9: Are authoritarians gaining ground globally? (Hint: It's complicated.)

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Is the world facing an ebb in democracy and a rise of authoritarianism? Seems so when you look at some countries, but it all depends on your frame and expectations. Listen in and challenge your assumptions, with two guys who study this for a living: Harvard's Steven Levitsky and Northwestern University's Bill Hurst.
Mar 11 2016
43 mins
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Rank #10: We'd All Love to Change the World

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What happens when you mix the efficiency and energy of the entrepreneurial world with the idealism of philanthropy? A growing number of social entrepreneurs say, you can do a world of good. But just like real entrepreneurs, more such efforts fail than succeed, and both smarts and resilience are needed for the long haul. Jonathan Lewis, author of The Unfinished Social Entrepreneur and founder of the microcredit funder MCE Social Capital and cofounder of Copia, a kind of mail-order catalogue for poor women around Nairobi, shares what he's learned over years as a social entrepreneur. 

Jan 22 2018
49 mins
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Rank #11: Leading -- and following -- in turbulent times

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Populist leaders and strongmen often rise at times of dizzying, unsettling change. But what if that's exactly the wrong kind of leadership to face the challenges and seize the opportunities of this century? Futurist Bob Johansen argues the era ahead will be one with less hierarchy, more shared and shifting leadership, and clarity and agility will be rewarded, while rigid certainty will be punished. 

Nov 19 2017
35 mins
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Rank #12: Women's work

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Women around the world face varying degrees of gender discrimination in the workplace — whether they're hired, how much they're paid, whether they advance as fast as men doing the same job. In Jordan, where girls and women generally do better than their male counterparts in school, and where more women than men attend college, startlingly few women participate in the workforce. Why? Asma Khader, a Jordanian lawyer, women's rights activist and former government official, weighs in, in conversation with The World's Shirin Jaafari.
Mar 08 2017
42 mins
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Rank #13: Make America Kind Again

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America became a global leader over the past century through openness, generosity, and soft power —the ability to attract, and to make others want to emulate your way of life, including inclusivity and equal rights. Donald Trump's vision of America, as voiced in his campaign and reflected in his first words and deeds as president, has caused more global dismay than attraction. Will the Trump era mark the end of the American century? Listen in to hear some early takes.
Jan 27 2017
22 mins
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Rank #14: American authoritarians for Trump

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What polling data best indicates whether someone will support Donald Trump? It's whether they skew authoritarian on a set of questions pollsters ask about child-rearing. (Hint: If you'd rather have an obedient, well-mannered child than a curious, independent one — you're skewing authoritarian, as some 18 to 30 percent of Americans do.) Career political consultant Matt MacWilliams talks about his research, for a mid-career PhD, on the political impact of authoritarian impulses, especially in the face of threat, and what it might mean for America's future.
Feb 25 2016
28 mins
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Rank #15: Seeing into the Future: A Practitioner's View

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The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed, science fiction writer William Gibson has famously said. But how do you separate the signal from the noise? It helps to ask someone who does it for a living. Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, shares the tricks of the trade, reflects on growing up in the former Soviet Union, and predicts that an age of transformation has just begun.
Oct 22 2015
32 mins
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Rank #16: Protecting internet rights in an age of anxiety

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How are we, and the rest of the world, doing in striking the right balance between protecting Internet rights and serving national security concerns? How much should citizens in democracies get a say in what that balance is? Rebecca MacKinnon, a former CNN correspondent in China and now director of the New America Foundation's "Ranking Digital Rights Project," weighs in.
Jan 27 2016
31 mins
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Rank #17: Keeping up with killer technology

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Drones have only been around for a couple of decades, but already, they're reshaping the contours of conflict and raising ethical quandaries. President Barack Obama launched more than 500 drone strikes during his tenure, 10 times more than President George W. Bush. But Obama's drones strikes killed far fewer civilians than did Bush's intervention in Iraq. Still, how much should drones and robotics be used in conflict, and when, and what unintended consequences might this unleash? Peter Singer, Strategist at the New America Foundation and author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" talks with The World's Jeb Sharp.
Feb 08 2017
36 mins
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Rank #18: Wizards, Prophets & the Fate of the Earth

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We're pretty clever, we humans, but we ignore unintended consequences at our peril -- like climate change, after a couple of centuries of fossil fuel-driven growth and innovation. Can we innovate our way out of that growing crisis, or must we cut back and conserve if we want a habitable planet? Or both? Science journalist and author Charles Mann, author of 1491, 1493 and The Wizard & the Prophet, tells the tale of these two competing approaches through the lives of the 'wizard,' Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, and the 'prophet,' William Vogt, early ecologist and author of the hugely impactful 1948 book, Road to Survival

Jan 11 2019
39 mins
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Rank #19: Ethnic cleansing, human tragedy & the future few saw coming for Burma

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Not so long ago, Myanmar (Burma) was a good news story, with democratic reforms, a booming economy and falling poverty rates. Then came ugly military-led attacks on Rohingya Muslims, who killed, raped and burned houses, and forced more than 700,000 Rohingyas to flee to camps in Bangladesh, with little pushback from pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. What does this mean for Myanmar's democratic future? Khin Ohmar, an exiled Burmese human rights and democracy activist for 30 years, shares her thoughts.

Mar 05 2018
44 mins
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Rank #20: Kicking China's Coal Habit

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After decades of dirty development, is China now on a path that could help save the planet? In important ways, it has started to move in the right direction.
Nov 19 2015
26 mins
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