50 episodes

Amanda Vanstone tackles key social, economic and cultural issues in Australian life, challenging assumptions and giving voice to new and seldom-heard commentators.

Counterpoint ABC Podcasts

    • Society & Culture

Amanda Vanstone tackles key social, economic and cultural issues in Australian life, challenging assumptions and giving voice to new and seldom-heard commentators.

    Loyalty, loving and distance

    Loyalty, loving and distance

    Would you buy something from a company if they didn't agree with the same causes that you do? We know, or have heard about, Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution but did you know that he also went to the Middle East? We know the best way of avoiding the spread of COVID-19 is to isolate citizens and adopt stringent hygiene standards. How is this interpreted around he world? When Siri or Alexa speak to you do you speak back? Might we be a little in love with your technology?

    • 54 min
    Rules, rulers and ruling

    Rules, rulers and ruling

    How stable are the autocratic regimes in the Middle East? After the Arab Spring it seemed like possibly the end of authoritarian rule in the region, but was it? Why are there different reactions to COVID-19? Who is getting on with their lives and who is not? Rules are everywhere. Some make perfect sense but others seem to be there simply to annoy us, so how do we know which ones to ignore or break and which ones to follow? Superman has saved the world countless times, he did other things too, but why are he and his superhero cohorts so popular today?

    • 53 min
    Dominance, popularity and fear.

    Dominance, popularity and fear.

    The United States now has to share the globe with other great powers. What has happened to their sphere of influence? Who is in the middle class and is it the same now as it used to be? In the aftermath of the Arab Spring what has decentralisation meant for Tunisia? How are diseases named and why is that important?

    • 54 min
    Blame and shame

    Blame and shame

    It's easy for politicians to deflect the blame for their own policy errors by blaming someone or something else. Right now, especially in countries with nationalistic tendencies such as China, the Philippines and the United States, the favourite scapegoat is globalism. As China embraces its facial recognition technology for its Social Credit System, is it also changing the Confucius concept of face? Can proportionality save us from the wackiest of the woke? The beloved Aussie icon Holden cars will be no more by the end of the year...except they're not Australian.

    • 54 min
    Power, Puns and People

    Power, Puns and People

    Two years after Robert Mugabe was swept from power, how is his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa faring as President of Zimbabwe? The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper reinforced Australia's commitment to the Indo- Pacific region. Might this have been a mistake? Did you hear the one about Stalin? Life under Russian dictator Joseph Stalin wasn't funny and yet there were jokes. Is there a difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence and what effect will either have on our working lives?

    • 53 min
    Bold and brave

    Bold and brave

    What will the relationship between the EU and the UK look like post BREXIT and might it mean the beginning of the end for the EU? The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is not the first virus, nor will it be the last, that spreads from animal to humans. How can we stop the spread of these viruses or will they now always be with us? In 2018 Dr Francis Arnold was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. A few months later she retracted her paper because the work was flawed. Was it evidence that scientists can't be trusted or should she praised for her transparency? At the turn of the 20th Century Australia went through a bit of a fortune telling craze. The practise was illegal and the police tried to prosecute where they could but the women survived and in some cases thrived.

    • 53 min

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