Will Elections in France and Greece Ruin Europe?
Voters in France and Greece have strongly rejected the politics of austerity, electing a president and parliament that vow to soften Europe's plan to slash government spending.
What's the Latest Development?
France has a new president, Greece has a new parliament, and Europe may have a new financial and political agenda. In France, socialist party candidate Francois Hollande has returned his party to power for the first time since 1995. In Greece, disfavor for politicians who implemented budget cuts ran deep, with voters preferring to elect members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn than reinstate incumbents. Both countries' voters rejected the economics of austerity, where the solution to Europe's economic crisis has been to cut back on government spending, often in areas like health and education.
What's the Big Idea?
President-elect Hollande has spoken publicly about his desire to renegotiate continent-wide financial agreements which set targets for the reduction of government spending. The conditions were largely set by Germany in exchange for funding much of Greece's bailout package. During the campaign, Hollande threatened a 75% tax rate on the wealthy if the agreements were not renegotiated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her government considers a renegotiation of the agreements' financial terms "impossible". What remains to be seen is how the new Greek parliament will enforce austerity requirements.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.
- Try meditation for the first time with this guided lesson or, if you already practice, enjoy being guided by a world-renowned meditation expert.
- Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.