When news spread in January of 2020 that the SARS coronavirus which killed 774 people worldwide in 2002-2004 had mutated, and spread once again from China to the rest of the world, it was not clear things would get so bad. Two years on, and six million people are dead, and many more injured by … Continue reading Market states and pandemic politics: Some lessons from coronavirus
Imagine yourself in Wittenberg, Saxony, 1517. Western Europe is uniformly Catholic and, reminiscent of the once-mighty Roman Empire, the “Holy Roman Empire” presides over what is now modern Germany. One day, you notice a young theology professor nailing a lengthy notice to the doors of All Saints’ Church. Reading it, you sharply draw in breath. … Continue reading Marx vs. Luther: Will China and the West clash?
An open letter to the London Review of Books. In his piece on global politics, Thomas Meaney critiques Chicago realist John J. Mearsheimer for advocating a policy of containment toward China. Meaney contends that the likelihood of China threatening America militarily is low for the reason Mearsheimer once gave: America is bordered on east and … Continue reading To contain or to collapse? Why China matters
My debut EP, Born, is premiering at the Quarry Whitehouse Auditorium in Selwyn College, Cambridge, on 25 March 2022. (See below for details.) Artwork by Denis Istomin. To attend the first event where my new music is played and performed to a live audience, follow this link to the Google form for the premiere.
The news is full of confusing narratives about the topic of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including comparisons to Nazi Germany, implying that any refusal to militarily challenge Russia would equal Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. The GDP of the leading economies. Where's Russia? This comparison makes no historical sense. Germany in the 1930s was a rising … Continue reading The China crisis: Why Russia is a dangerous distraction
In 1859, Darwin explained that species had their origin not in fate but blind chance: traits were passed on depending on how adapted they were to helping individuals survive, and reproduce, in a harsh world characterised by competition over scarce natural resources. Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species Societies, like species, survive … Continue reading On the origin of societies: A theory of social evolution
It is common to see the world as fundamentally divided. We think that we are separate from other people, and that people are separate from the natural world. Some philosophers agree. Nature, as early-modern Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza put it, is divided between the properties of thought and matter. Plato thought that the natural world … Continue reading On the Whole
We live in undeniably dark times. News headlines of death and despair abound. In such a climate, politics is hardly seen as our salvation. Indeed, politics is seen by many as the problem. One reason given for the decay of our political institutions is that politicians lie. The phrase ‘fake news’ also abounds news headlines … Continue reading The politics of truth: A manifesto
It’s fashionable to explain today’s world through two prisms: modern politics and modern economics—or the modern state and capitalism. Even the words sound slightly intimidating. So instead of defining them from a dictionary, I would like to give a historical account of how these pillars of the modern world evolved. Meet Niccolò Machiavelli, an early … Continue reading Everything ends: Explaining the modern world
Belief is a strange word. It’s often taken to have religious connotations, as in the Nicene Creed: ‘We believe in one God, the Father and Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible’ (penned at the Council of Nicaea of 325 CE). I would like to take the word belief in a slightly different direction, … Continue reading What I believe