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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Authentically reckless: Why Trump's anti-trade policies win him support

Free trade may be the best system for the global economy but there are legitimate reasons for why some people had enough of it, says political scientist Ian Bremmer.

So I think we should understand that a system of free trade is clearly the best system for the global economy. There is nothing else that will work as well. It drives more growth; It makes your products cheaper; It is vastly more efficient than anything else we’ve ever found.

So if we move away from free trade the American economy will grow less, the global economy will grow less. I support free trade. But I fully understand that there are very legitimate reasons why lots of Americans do not, because despite all the growth of the U.S. and global economy and despite the share prices of corporations being through the roof—many at record levels—they, the average Americans, have not benefitted from free trade in the way that they said, that the leaders have said they were going to.

Yes, prices of good have gone down, but if you lose your job because it went to another country and if no one is investing in your kid’s school system or in your health system or in your infrastructure locally, if you’re in a rural area or a blighted second- or third-tier urban area, there’s no reason for you to say “Oh, I’ll continue to support free trade agreements,” because you’ve been lied to from presidents and CEOs and the mainstream media and political leaders from both parties for decades now! They haven’t cared about you. So when Trump comes along and says the system is rigged—EVEN IF he’s not the answer, EVEN IF he’s not going to make it better for you—you kind of feel like yeah, the system is rigged against me! All these people have lied, and I’ll tell you, you know, my brother voted for Trump. If my mother were alive she would have voted for Trump. She read the National Enquirer every week and it felt more “real” to her than the Boston Globe did or even the Boston Herald, because the National Enquirer was all about telling people that the system is rigged against them. And so I think this has been coming for a long time.

I think that one of the reasons why Trump has maintained the very consistent and strong support from his Republican base that he has is because he has been quite consistent in trying to implement many if not almost all of his campaign promises, no matter how well or badly that would work out for him.

So, for example, he wants to build a wall.

I think most people that understand policy understand that’s a waste of money, it would be a stupid idea, and it’s only going to symbolically serve to get people to not want to come to the U.S. —that we might want to attract, i.e. the people that really have choices.

But he promised a wall and he is actually trying really hard to build a wall. He said “the Chinese are taking us to the cleaners. They’re ripping us off.” That “the Europeans are ripping us off.”

His pushback against the Europeans, the Chinese and others, both in terms of trade directly and with our allies in terms of “you better spend more money on defense or else” has been much harder than we’ve seen from previous presidents. So I’m not suggesting that these policies are actually going to work; So far I would say the jury is very much out and initial results are extremely mixed.

But I do believe that if you’re thinking about voting for someone because they are a different style of politician, that everyone lies to you—and we know that Trump is a very damaged individual and you don’t want your kids to grow up to be like Trump; He doesn’t lead by example—But you wanted someone who would at least shake things up and maybe break things, that wasn’t like every other politician.

Well Trump’s promise of shaking things up and breaking things, back when he was running for president, does appear to actually be authentic in that desire.

Free trade may be the best system for the global economy but there are legitimate reasons for why some people had enough of it. Ian Bremmer, political scientist and founder of the Eurasia Group, says that those who don't benefit from international economy support trade wars, giving President Trump his base. But will his policies actually succeed?

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

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How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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