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IAI Live March: The Tears of the West

Can we rekindle faith in civilisation?

Angus Deaton, Arlie Hochschild, Rory Sutherland, Gillian Tett, Ruth Chang, Roger Hearing

Join us March 4th 17:20 GMT, 12:20 US EST, for 'The Tears of the West' - a unique programme of online debate, discussion, and discovery exploring the risks and rewards of pessimism and self-criticism in the West.

Once we believed in progress, and saw ourselves at the leading edge of culture and life as improving. Now we are more likely to see the negatives in both in society and in our future. 75% of millenials think they will be worse off than their parents. But some argue there is a risk this outlook is not only mistaken but bad for our health and society. The Swedish statistician Hans Rosling argued that we are systematically far more negative about ourselves and the world than is justified by the data. Despite a much higher standard of living we are more pessimistic than those in China, India, Russia and Brazil. Furthermore a recent study of 160,000 people showed pessimism negatively effects health with the most optimistic living 11-15% longer than the most pessimistic.

Have we lost faith in our culture and is our self-criticism at risk of becoming self-fulfilling? Do we need to identify and celebrate our strengths and our successes to build a brighter more positive future? Or should we see our self-criticism as rightly identifying injustice that urgently needs to be addressed?

Nobel prize-winning economist Angus Deaton, ideas man and advertising guru Rory Sutherland and renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild lock horns over whether we have lost faith in civilisation in our headline debate.

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