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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Global Currency

The idea of a currency that is transacted internationally, with no set borders

New World Order

China: From Drag to Dragon

over 1 year ago

What's the Big Idea? The conventional wisdom among economists just a few years ago was that China was manipulating its currency, causing a significant drag on the global economy. Holding down the value of its currency made exports cheaper and thus China more competitive in the global marketplace ...

New World Order

State Capitalists Can't Have It Both Ways

about 2 years ago

With the European Union mired in crisis and the United States struggling to recover, it's easy to conclude that capitalist democracies' engines of economic growth have run out of steam.  While their elected politicians make myopic decisions to score political points, state capitalist leaders like ...

New World Order

Occupy Wall Street: A Giant Human Hashtag

over 2 years ago

Occupy Wall Street is a giant human hashtag -- a conversation, a thread, a way of organizing ideas. I resist calling it a “movement” because that may imply that people who do not yet consider themselves participants are excluded from the conversation. What Occupy Wall Street allows people to do ...

New World Order

A Little Thing Called General Equilibrium

almost 3 years ago

Economic growth is a tough thing to control if the tools you’re using only deal with one part of the economy.  The problem is that when you push on one end of an economy, you might be pulling on the other, and vice versa.  It’s a lesson that people who work in international development are finally ...

New World Order

Getting Too Tough on China?

almost 3 years ago

In recent weeks members of Congress have again moved to punish China for keeping its currency at a low value relative to the dollar.  It’s fashionable and easy to blame vast, mysterious, authoritarian China for our economic problems.  It’s also not quite fair.  In fact, China’s currency policy ...

New World Order

Asia's Rise, the West's Fall?

almost 3 years ago

Editor's Note: The following remarks are from a speech Lionel Barber delivered in Sydney, Australia on 11/17/2011, as part of the Lowy Institute for International Policy's lecture series.   The fundamental question I would like tonight to tackle the proposition head-on: Is the West ...

New World Order

The Euro Zone: It’s All Greek to Me

almost 3 years ago

What’s the Big Idea? How many drachmas do you want to bet that Europe’s not out of the woods yet? Faced with the prospect of a Greek default with dire repercussions for European markets, EU leaders Merkel and Sarkozy scrambled in October to craft a complex rescue package. Then at the 11th hour ...

New World Order

Why A Greek “No” May Be No Bad Thing

almost 3 years ago

Markets shuddered when George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, said he would call a referendum on the latest bailout package being offered by Europe’s economic powers.  What scared the markets most was apparently the possibility that the Greeks would choose according to their own interests ...

New World Order

Bernanke's Dilemma

almost 3 years ago

  When a country’s politicians can’t get their economic policies right, what’s a central banker to do?  Though central banks are supposed to control inflation, that’s not always their only job.  The Federal Reserve Act, for example, gives America’s central bank a mandate of “maximum employment ...

New World Order

Can The Euro Zone Survive?

about 3 years ago

  IT was one of Labour’s most successful – in terms of winning elections – leaders, Harold Wilson, who realised that the only way to lance the division in his party over Europe was to hold a referendum. That was back in 1975. Since then, Labour has gone from having a policy of quitting what was ...