Matthew RadburnPostdoctoral Research Fellow, Keele University Clifford StottProfessor of Social Psychology, Keele University It seemingly can happen anywhere – and at any time. From London to Hong Kong, apparently peaceful cities can sometimes erupt suddenly into widespread, and often sustained, unrest. But what role does psychology play in this? And can it explain how, why and when crowds turn to violence? The recent film Joker tells the bleak story of how a mentally ill loner, Arthur Fleck, becomes the infamous comic book villain – and inspires a riotous popular movement. In the film, the stage seems well set for a riot. Gotham City is depicted as “… a powder keg of lawlessness, inequality, corruption, cuts and all-round despair”. But is the crowd protesting this – or acting as a mindless mob? As commentator Aditya Vats has pointed out, the film appears to reflect the views of the 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who argued that society has a drive towards chaos and destruction. In the film, Fleck is portrayed as the individual who unleashes these apparently innate tendencies when he brutally kills first three wealthy young bankers – and then a TV talk show host live on air. Subsequently, thousands of rioters in clown masks are shown rioting, looting and killing, seemingly inspired by his actions. This is a simple, and popular, representation of real-world crowd violence. But does it accurately reflect the true psychology underpinning “riotous” behaviour? There are three “classical” theoretical explanations of the crowd that endure in the popular imagination. The first, “mad mob theory”, suggests that individuals lose their sense of self, reason and rationality in a crowd and so do things they otherwise might not as an individual. The second is that collective violence is the product of a convergence of “bad” – or criminal – individuals enacting their violent personal predispositions together in the same space. The third […]
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by Joanna Rakoff Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistibly funny: a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself entangled with one of the last great figures of the century. At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches. At night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Williamsburg apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, and struggling to trust her own artistic instinct, Rakoff is tasked with answering Salinger’s voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agency’s decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger’s devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back. Over the course of the year, she finds her own voice by acting as Salinger’s, on her own dangerous and liberating terms. Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman navigating a heady and longed-for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self-awareness, the idea of a life with life itself. Charming and deeply moving, filled with electrifying glimpses of an American literary icon, My Salinger Year is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer. Above all, it is a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives and awaken our true selves.
The Great Resignation is an idea proposed by Professor Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University that predicts a large number of people leaving their jobs after the COVID pandemic ends and life returns to “normal.” Managers are now navigating the ripple effects from the pandemic, as employees re-evaluate their careers and leave their jobs in record numbers. Companies have a record number of open positions in the US, and to explore what has been driving this recent shift, a recent in depth analysis by Ian Cook and his team of more than 9 million employee records at 4,000 global companies revealed two trends: Resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees Resignation rates are highest in the technology and healthcare industries At the onset of the pandemic, the job market was full of uncertainty and mass layoffs: millions of people lost their jobs, and those lucky enough to remain employed remained put in their roles for survival. However, as we now turn towards recovery, workers in privileged positions who don’t live paycheck to paycheck are now finally moving on. Most in non-developed economies with the absence of social security and unemployment benefits cannot afford this luxury but may still be undergoing duress and pent-up frustration from the disruption caused by the pandemic. These trends highlight the importance to understanding why people are leaving and what can be done to prevent The Great Resignation. It also calls for a data-driven approach to determine not just how many people are quitting, but who exactly has the highest turnover risk. Given the buzz generated around the term “The Great Resignation”, we turned to Professor Dr. Isabell Welpe at the Technical University of Munich. Dr. Welpe conducts research in the area of leadership, innovation, and organisation from a behavioural science perspective, with a focus on the selection of managers, managing teams, […]
Stephen ReicherBishop Wardlaw Professor in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of St Andrews Alex HaslamProfessor of Psychology and ARC Laureate Fellow, The University of Queensland Evangelos NtontisLecturer in Psychology, The Open University Klara JurstakovaPhD Candidate, Canterbury Christ Church University It was the moment that could have brought US democracy to its knees. One year ago, around noon on January 6, 2021, Donald Trump gave the concluding speech to a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington DC. Within an hour, protesters attacked and then breached barricades around the Capitol Building, seat of the US Congress. By 1.30pm, they had invaded the building itself. And by the time they left, five people had died. To what extent were the two events related? Did Trump’s words incite his followers to assault the Capitol? Or did the rioters act independently and of their own accord? These were the questions on which Trump’s second impeachment trial turned. More specifically, the debate centred on whether Trump’s words contained clear instructions that guided what happened next, with special attention given to a specific sentence in the speech: If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. For the prosecution, this was the smoking gun. For the defence, the word “fight” was a mere metaphor, akin to “fighting for one’s principles”. To quote from the opening statement of Trump’s lawyer, Michael van der Veen: This is ordinary political rhetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from the language that has been used across the political spectrum for hundreds of years. In the end, interpretation split clearly along party lines. In the Senate, 48 Democrats voted for impeachment, none against, while 43 Republicans voted against impeachment and seven for. The total in favour failed to reach the two-thirds threshold, so Trump was acquitted as not guilty. But whatever one […]
This is How They Tell Me the World Ends (Bloomsbury 2021), Nicole Perlroth’s alarming look at the world of underground cyberarms, has been named the 2021 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. “Digital sabotage,” Perlroth said after her win, “is the immediate threat that we can do something about—if we wake up. The goal of this book is to wake people up.” The book draws on nearly a decade of the author’s cybersecurity and digital espionage reporting for the New York Times, where she worked with hundreds of sources including hackers and government officials. On December 1, Perlroth left the Times to join a new committee with the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “Maybe one day I will hopefully get back to journalism,” she said, “but in the meantime, the threat is too great for me to keep doing what I was doing.” Nicole Perlroth has written a book that is more than just a timely wake-up call to the profound implications of the arms race among hackers, cybercriminals, businesses, and national governments. It is an alarming book, one in which the author makes a granular and matter-of-fact case demonstrating how vulnerable global computer systems have become and an urgent plea for specific and systematic action. The Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award is given annually to the book that provides “the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.” Each of this year’s shortlisted authors receives £10,000.
by Batya Ungar-Sargon, Newsweek magazine Something is wrong with American journalism. Long before “fake news” became the calling card of the Right, Americans had lost faith in their news media. But lately, the feeling that something is off has become impossible to ignore. That’s because the majority of our mainstream news is no longer just liberal; it’s woke. Today’s newsrooms are propagating radical ideas that were fringe as recently as a decade ago, including “antiracism,” intersectionality, open borders, and critical race theory. How did this come to be? It all has to do with who our news media is written by―and who it is written for. In Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy, Batya Ungar-Sargon reveals how American journalism underwent a status revolution over the twentieth century―from a blue-collar trade to an elite profession. As a result, journalists shifted their focus away from the working class and toward the concerns of their affluent, highly educated peers. With the rise of the Internet and the implosion of local news, America’s elite news media became nationalised and its journalists affluent and ideological. And where once business concerns provided a countervailing force to push back against journalists’ worst tendencies, the pressures of the digital media landscape now align corporate incentives with newsroom crusades. The truth is, the moral panic around race, encouraged by today’s elite newsrooms, does little more than consolidate the power of liberal elites and protect their economic interests. And in abandoning the working class by creating a culture war around identity, our national media is undermining American democracy. Bad News explains how this happened, why it happened, and the dangers posed by this development if it continues unchecked.
The powerful, urgent manifesto on never giving up from Booker prize-winning trailblazer, Bernardine Evaristo. Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker win – the first by a Black woman – was a revolutionary moment both for British culture and for her. After three decades as a trailblazing writer, teacher and activist, she moved from the margins to centre stage, taking her place in the spotlight at last. Her journey was a long one, but she made it, and she made history. Manifesto is Bernardine Evaristo’s intimate and inspirational, no-holds-barred account of how she did it, refusing to let any barriers stand in her way. She charts her creative rebellion against the mainstream and her life-long commitment to the imaginative exploration of ‘untold’ stories. And drawing deeply on her own experiences, she offers a vital contribution to current conversations around social issues such as race, class, feminism, sexuality and aging. This is a unique book about staying true to yourself and to your vision. It’s about how to be unstoppable – in your craft, your work, your life. It is Bernardine Evaristo’s manifesto for never giving up.
Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu, President, Investment Office of the Presidency of Turkey. Climate change has been on the international agenda for a long time, but recent developments have upped the urgency of taking immediate action for both humanitarian and developmental reasons. World leaders gathered in Glasgow to discuss climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26, following the G20 summit in Rome in late October, which also prioritised sustainability. Keeping climate change at bay through mitigation and adaptation is imperative to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were set by the United Nations in 2015 and made social, economic and environmental sustainability central to economic development. Achieving the SDGs will, in turn, require an integrated approach and close cooperation among all stakeholders. Mobilizing financial resources will play an especially important role in reaching the SDGs and addressing the adverse effects of climate change. In this regard, foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a significant source of external finance for many countries, especially developing economies, to help achieve sustainable economic development. Commitment to SDGs can mobilise foreign direct investment Today, all economies vie for greater FDI inflows as it not only brings capital but also generates employment, transfers technology, and helps move up the value chain. Moreover, FDI can be instrumental in a country’s economic transformation towards a greener economy, as multinational corporations (MNCs) have both the financial wherewithal and technical capacity to help transform local operations to greener global best practices. MNCs have been increasingly incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into their investment strategies, not only to achieve ESG investor score targets but also to save costs and mitigate risks, helping achieve both more sustainable and more profitable operations. The international community is putting more efforts into scaling such investments through establishing effective mechanisms to support cooperation on investment […]
Covid-19 revealed that modern supply chains are a house of cards, collapsing the moment they come under any kind of sustained pressure. Many businesses that were caught flat-footed by global lockdowns have found the speed of the recovery just as treacherous to navigate. Clogged ports and widespread shortages have led to record order backlogs across major supply chain hubs. The crunch on container capacity could last until Q4 2022, according to maritime research firm Drewry. Shortages of key components, including semiconductors, could take even longer to resolve. Is the answer to carry on pushing orders through in the hope that these problems resolve themselves? Two years into the pandemic, there are strong signs global businesses are starting to realise that supply chains actually need root-and-branch reform. Bursting at the seams Recent data from Tradeshift suggests buyers are beginning to question the wisdom of putting fresh orders into a system that is coming apart at the seams. Global order volumes fell by 24 points in Q3 2021 (see figure 1), the biggest quarterly drop since the first lockdowns in early 2020 and 15 points below the pre-pandemic forecast range. Rising invoice volumes provide an indication of how supply chains are reacting to demand signals. Invoice numbers moved five points closer to the expected range in Q3 2021, but the upward trajectory is flatter than anticipated given the significant spike in order volumes during the previous quarter. The data suggests it may be some time before order volumes start to align with invoice flows. The longer this gap persists, the more likely it is that the downward trajectory in Q3 signals the beginning of a more prolonged slowdown. The International Monetary Fund recently cut its forecast for US growth by 1 percentage point to 6%, citing supply chain disruption and weakening consumption. Tradeshift’s data indicates that activity across US supply […]
As it marks its 10 years anniversary, the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community continues to drive change and disrupt the status quo in cities and communities across the world. The community is a network of more than 14,000 young people driving dialogue, action and change in more than 450 hubs across 150 countries and territories around the world. Their projects range from providing disaster relief to combating poverty to fighting climate change to building inclusive communities. This is an incredibly diverse community, but they all have one thing in common: they want to create real, meaningful change. For many people around the world, 2021 has been a reminder of the fragility of our global system. For others, this year has been a time of hope as countries race to vaccinate their population with the aim of going back to normal. But for many members of our community, “normal” is the problem. Young people today believe that they can and will change the world for the better. The Global Shapers Community was created with the mission to empower young people through enabling them to self-organise and amplifying their voices. Global Shapers have sense of shared responsibility, an urgency to make the world a better place and an attitude of cooperation irrespective of differences. The ambition is to support a global community of young changemakers taking action to improve the state of the world, one local community at a time. To achieve this goal, the Global Shapers Community seeks to create meaningful impacts on individual Shapers, who in turn create change within their communities through city-based Global Shaper hubs and the projects these hubs develop, launch and implement. Through the work of Shapers, hubs and their projects, citizens become engaged in their communities, become proud of their communities, and develop a greater sense […]