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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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
With rendition switcher


Question: What’s your outlook on Zimbabwe?


Richard Dowden: It’s very, very hard to be optimistic about Zimbabwe at the moment. I’ve always thought that [Robert] Mugabi would only leave office one way, and that was feet first. The more he feels embattled by the West, the longer he will stay on justice to snob them. And the longer he stays on, that means that the outside world won’t engage.

Africa’s failed this test. They would prefer to support him or at least leave him in office rather than pressurize him to leave. And he will, one way or another, continue to run and rule and ruin Zimbabwe. It’s a tragedy. It’s a sort of Shakespearian tragedy. Some people say he was always evil. But I don’t subscribe to that. You look at the early years, he did some very good things. He’s own reconciliation when he came to powers was quite remarkable. But he’s become like Macbeth. And as the play goes on, he becomes more and more self-centered and evil. I think, that’s really what has happened.

And I can’t see Morgan Tsvangirai at the MDC, even though they are in the camp now, being able to do very much about it. And here they are, trying to call; what would the Western countries going to do when he calls for them to reengage even though Mugabi is still in power? And so, he’s going to get caught out as well because, you know, there’s no way they’re going to reengage as long as Mugabi holds the ultimate power.

So he’s going to fail in that. And if he fails in that, he’s failure to turn Zimbabwe around now, economically, that’ll also happen.

So it seems to me; I don’t know where it’s going next. It’s already a humanitarian catastrophe. And the tragedy is, it was a great country and it was a rich country that exported food and, now, it’s completely wrecked.

I’m not sure what happens next. People say it’s going to hit the buffers. It’s going to go over the precipice. There are no buffers in Africa. There is no precipice. You just sink lower and lower and lower and people die in the dark, quietly. There’s going to be no great uprising. It’s… I don’t know what’ll happen. Maybe something will just suddenly trigger it and then it’ll all happen quite quickly. What that thing is? I don’t know. But it’ll have to mean the end of that regime before things can really turn around.


Recorded: March 16, 2009



Richard Dowden Laments the ...

Newsletter: Share: