Social Fabric

Age of Incivility

“Graffiti is beautiful; like a brick in the face of a cop” ― Hunter Thompson

Efficient high-speed French TGV trains showcase cartoon posters instructing you how to help a little old lady to get her luggage into the overhead rack. When you arrive in Paris a variety of scooters, pushbikes and mono cycles threatened the same old lady as they whizz from all angles. With no signs saying that this is not permitted, the assumption is that it’s OK. Are we living in an age where civil behaviour has to be instructed?

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Game of Thrones

Is winter here?

“A coin is as dangerous as a sword in the wrong hands” – Tyrion Lannister

A world of inequality, migration, odd banking system, populist politics and apocalyptic climate change, does that sound familiar? Ignoring the lack of dragons and replacing zombies with humans surgically attached to their smart-phones, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking that Game of Thrones was an archetypal portrayal of today’s world. What will GoT fans do now? Will fans cancel their monthly HBO subscription?

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Plastic Planet

Rubbish or Resource?

“Plastic is indeed now on the menu” – Prince of Wales

Imagine an island three times the size of France in the Pacific. Idyllic, right? Hardly. This 1.6 million square kilometre floating mass is made of more than 1.8 trillion pieces of rubbish. Add to this that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea and the future looks bleak. Yet, plastics is now in the throes of a revolution. How can both people and the planet profit from plastic?

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Brazil

Waxing or Waning?

“Brazil is very unpopular in Brazil” – Nelson Rodrigues

Consider the Portuguese word saudade. Delicious nostalgia and hope. Almost untranslatable because it relates to something that has not (and may never) happen. Five world cups, but beaten 7-1 by Germany in 2014. The most abundant nature in the world and a literacy rate of almost 92%, but nearly 25% of the population live below the poverty line. Try telling a Brazilian that their economy has promise. Will the new President change the destiny of Brazil?

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The XX Factor

Gender Equality

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women and girls,” – Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

The UK’s current head of state celebrated 67 years on the throne. During that time, Communism has risen, fallen and then risen again. The Beatles have come and almost gone. And Britain is now the world’s 5th most economically powerful nation, with the Queen outlasting every other head of state. So, why is workplace inequality still even a subject?

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Human Impact

Apocalypse When?

Despite the Doomsday Clock hand remaining at two minutes to midnight for 2019, the imminent threats to humanity and the planet continue as world security enters a period of ‘new abnormal’. Most of the risks by likelihood and impact in the 2019 Global Risk Perception Survey are environmental, but weapons of mass destruction remain a risk in a world where fact is indistinguishable from fiction.

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Brexit’s Off

brexit image

Was Banksy’s wall premature?

“[Referendums are] a device of dictators and demagogues” – Margaret Thatcher, quoting Clement Attlee.

The story behind the wall on which Banksy painted the Brexit-inspired mural in Dover is almost as farcical as the bungled politics that got Britain to where it is today. In May 2016, our article imagined a world where the ‘Leavers’ won the Brexit referendum to point out what a truly terrible job Britain’s politicians were doing in leading a debate. Plus ça change?

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Well-being

© Niki Natarajan

Economics of Happiness

“The greatest wealth is health” – Virgil

Two thousand years ago, Virgil made a very good point. Today, wellness—the quality or state of being healthy—is a significant creator of wealth. Funded by the stressed-out city-living executive and the youth-seeking ‘Silver Tsunami’, the wellness economy is now converging with the global health care industry, and, at a rate of 6.4%, the $4.2 trillion industry of wellness is growing faster than the global economy.

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Immigration

immigration blog visual

Political Kryptonite

“Go you to France or Flanders, To any German province, Spain or Portugal, Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England: Why you must needs be strangers”.

In 1517, a group of writers including Shakespeare wrote a historical play where Sir Thomas More attempted to quell an anti-immigration riot with an impassioned defence of a compassionate refugee policy. Today, there are 68.5 million people displaced from their homes because of conflict, disaster and oppression, but immigration is political kryptonite.

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Overtourism

Impact of Insta Travel

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts” ― Mark Twain

Snap, crop, filter, geo-tag, share. Repeat. At more than 300 million Instagram posts, #travel is today’s postcard. It is hardly surprising therefore that millennials pick their travel destination according to ‘Instagram-ability’. But beyond the Clarendon filter, there is a darker side to those roads no longer less travelled to Insta-worthy places.

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