POWER and POLITICS (1)

This new way of learning for iU3AVivek
                      Nanda uses a Massive Open Online Course called “Power and Politics in Today’s World” by Professor Ian Shapiro of Yale University. This ranges from the euphoria that accompanied the collapse of communism in the late 1980s to the politics of fear and resentment that has overtaken much of the world since 2016, focusing on how did we get from there to here, what comes next and what could lead us to better politics? Members watch one video lecture at home, and then meet fortnightly to discuss it (online currently).

Group Coordinator: Vivek Nanda (click to contact)
When

On the first and third Fridays of each month from 10.30am for about 90 minutes
Where

While you are at home via your computer, smart phone, tablet, traditional phone and when possible at Islington Town Hall.

Overview
elephant in the roomThis friendly and welcoming group discusses Power and Politics together, sharing different perspectives and priorities, to enrich the learning experience of all in a sociable and enjoyable way. A short description of the first meeting can be found here. For our third Friday monthly meetings, the outline structure of the Yale course can be found here. The Yale essay questions for discussion — no iU3A essays — for the course can be found here.

Our additional online meetings are on the first Friday monthly from May 2020, at 1030, to discuss issues not covered by Prof. Shapiro, which we call 'Power and Politics in Tomorrow’s World.' Discussion themes proposed and agreed by group members are here, and the resources recommended by Group Members to support these meetings can be found here.


Next Month's Meetings
On Friday 5 June 2020 at 10.30am, Members will present for three uninterrupted minutes on “The evolution of Social Care”, followed by six minutes of Q&A on the issue just presented, followed by a general discussion about next steps.

On Friday 19 June 2020 at 2.30pm, we will discuss together online Lecture 6: Reorienting the Left: New Democrats, New Labour, and Europe’s Social Democrats. In Lecture 6, Prof. Shapiro revisits the psychology of distributive politics that he had introduced in Lecture 5 to walk learners through the logic of absolute versus relative gains, Loss Aversion, Endowment Effect, and Prospect Theory. He uses these concepts to help us better understand the evolution and importance of unions in the US and Europe, Left and Centre Parties and distributive politics in two-party versus multiparty systems, questioning the idea that multiparty systems are more redistributive in today’s world. Lecture 6 can be found here. The optional readings for Lecture 6 can be found here.
 

Our Past Meetings

The 15th May 2020 meeting discussed Lecture 5: The Resurgent Right in the West. In Lecture 5, Prof. Shapiro walked learners through the sources and implications of the rise of right wing politics in the West in the late 20th century? Prof. Shapiro discussed how the collapse of communism was (maybe counterintuitively) beneficial to the right, two logics of distributive politics, the median voter theorem, and how interests, institutions and ideals influence individuals’ ideas of fairness in politics. He then discussed the implications of the rise of the right in two-party versus multiparty systems. This lecture can be found here. The optional readings for this lecture can be found here.

At the end of our online meeting in April 2020, members agreed that we’d like more opportunities to discuss issues not covered by Professor Shapiro in this series of lectures, as the Covid-19 crisis has increased the scope of this more than we first discussed. These discussion meetings are identified as 'Power and Politics in Tomorrow’s World' and we agreed to hold these extra meetings on the first Friday of each month from May 2020.

Thank you to members who joined us online for the first of these extra meetings of ‘Power and Politics in Tomorrow’s World’ on 1st May 2020 and made interesting suggestions (“Five Minute Fixes”) for subjects for these extra meetings. The main themes that emerged during this discussion can be found here. Members agreed that as well as continuing our iU3A Power and Politics in Today’s World course, which follow Professor Shapiro’s Yale University videos, we will continue to hold these extra meetings online each month, until further notice.

The 17 April 2020 meeting discussed Lecture 4: Fusing Capitalist Economics with Communist Politics: China and Vietnam. In this lecture, Prof. Shapiro discusses China and Vietnam as the two most successful examples of capitalist authoritarian regimes that have emerged in the post-communist era. He talks about causal drivers of growth in both countries, the reform era in China before the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the sequencing debate of political and economic change, on why we should rethink modernization theory and expectations for the future of democracy in China. The video of this lecture can be found here. The optional readings for Lecture 4 can be found here.

The 20 March 2020 meeting discussed Lecture 3: Advent of a Unipolar World: NATO and EU Expansion. In this lecture, Prof. Shapiro walks leaders through the international architecture of the early Post-Cold War world. He first discusses three lenses of thinking about politics (interests, institutions and ideals) and then applies them to guide his students through the first post-Cold war crisis, the role of NATO after the fall of the Soviet Union, the origins and meaning of the Washington Consensus, and the formation and expansion of the EU. This lecture can be found here. The optional readings for Lecture 3 can be found here.

The 21 February 2020 meeting discussed Lecture 2: From Soviet Communism to Russian Gangster Capitalism, which focused on what led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and why did it collapse so peacefully? Professor Shapiro discusses the events leading up to the fall of the Communist regime and its aftermath, including the rise of "gangster capitalism" in Russia, the transition from President Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin, and why corruption is still so prevalent in Russia today. This lecture can be found here. The iU3A slides used at the start of the meeting can be found here.

The 17 January 2020 lecture provided an examination of political dynamics and institutions over the past 30 years, and the implications of these changes for what comes next. Among the topics covered were the decline of trade unions and enlarged role of business as political forces, changing attitudes towards parties and other political institutions amidst the growth of inequality and middle-class insecurity, the emergence of new forms of authoritarianism, and the character and durability of the unipolar international order that replaced the Cold War. This lecture can be found here. The iU3A slides can be found here.




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