John Ralston Saul on the Collapse of Globalization During Coronavirus
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequences of the pandemic. It’s our new daily podcast trying to make longterm sense out of the chaos of today’s global crisis.
On today’s episode, John Ralston Saul, award-winning essayist and novelist, discusses what his books have gotten right (and gotten wrong) about the current COVID-19 crisis.
From the episode:
John Ralston Saul: It’s fascinating to watch this seamless movement of “There are no borders” to “Everything is borders.” I thought the latest little detail, which was both horrible and funny at the same time was that it’s clear that right up to the airplanes taking off, people are out bidding and trying to get medical supplies away from other countries. I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not, but it’s astonishing. You know, the plane is loaded and suddenly somebody appears on the tarmac offering double or whatever.
Andrew Keen: It’s an international version of the bidding that’s going on amongst American states for ventilators.
John Ralston Saul: And probably in many places. We are in a world which is not, at this point, globalist at all. It’s not even regionalist.
John Ralston Saul is an award-winning essayist and novelist. A long-time champion of freedom of expression, he was the elected President of PEN International from 2009 to 2015. He is a leading voice in the international movement supporting immigrants and refugees. Saul is perhaps best known for his philosophical trilogy—Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, and The Unconscious Civilization. This was followed by a meditation on the trilogy—On Equilibrium: Six Qualities of the New Humanism. Born in Ottawa, Saul studied at McGill University and King’s College, University of London, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1972.