What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Do we need new global institutions?

Peter Beinart: I think we have to begin the long-term process of reconstructing the institutions that . . . that . . . that were built, you know, roughly 60 years ago. And I think in certain circumstances we need to build whole news institutions. That is very difficult business and it will involve lots of frustration. Historically if you look at the United States, America has always shown some wariness of being . . . of being fixed into international institutions. We have been jealous of our sovereignty; jealous of our ability to act independently. And in today’s world where America’s relative power, vis-à-vis other nations, is not as great as it was when the institutions of the post-war period were built, the compacts that we will strike will in some ways be more difficult compacts than the compacts that Franklin Roosevelt, than Harry Truman struck. That there will not be an expectation necessarily that we can be as dominant in those institutions as we were, particularly at the beginning at the . . . at the UN, the IMF, World Bank, NATO, etc. But we must strike them nonetheless, and the . . . America’s best leaders have had the ability to convince Americans that in an interdependent world in which we were . . . in which our fate depended on what other nations did, and so we could not isolate ourselves; but in which we did not have the power, or indeed the legitimacy to act in an imperial way, doing whatever we wanted around the world, forcing other nations to bend to our will because there are limits to our power; that in fact we had no choice but to try to build the mechanisms for cooperation. So even though it’s a frustrating and difficult business, I think it’s an urgent business when one looks about trying to find a legitimate way to deal with jihadist terrorism; to deal with climate change; to deal with threats from global public health; to deal with the potential for the kind of dangerous financial instability that we saw in the East Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. So I do think it is going to be . . . It is central to a . . . It should be central to American foreign policy in the coming generation.

Recorded on: 9/12/07

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Governance

Newsletter: Share: