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The Determinant Power of Geography and the Coming Disorder with Peter Zeihan
Episode 615th June 2020 • Charter Cities Podcast • Kurtis Lockhart
00:00:00 01:18:48

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Joining us on the show today is geopolitical strategist, speaker and author, Peter Zeihan! Our conversation spans a wide range of connected topics, centering on the immediate future facing the United States and the global economy, with particular attention given to the question of China. Peter holds a somewhat less common position on China's supposed power, arguing that the country is a paper tiger, waiting to ignite. He does a clear job of explaining this perspective and how so many casual theorists seem to have got it completely wrong. Drawing the argument back to the US, Peter then explains the stability, even in today's chaos, that the country has and by extending his scope to Europe and the Middle East, he shows the huge part that geography plays in the unfolding of political and economic power struggles. We discuss the examples of France and Germany, as well as outlying African countries and Peter underlines the central part that geography and access play in all of their destinies. Bringing the conversation firmly into the present, we then consider the role of technology and particularly the latest tech innovations in possibly disrupting the established order that Peter is describing. According to our guest, even AI and the rest of the digital revolution is not yet enough to overhaul the legacy of the industrial revolution and it will still take many further developments for this to occur. We get into the question of the global economy and the trajectories of the world's strongest currencies; again Peter demonstrates why America's positioning will allow it to be non-reliant on others, a definite strength moving into an uncertain age. For a fascinating chat, and a brilliantly articulated argument you may have not encountered before, join us on Charter Cities today!

Key Points From This Episode:

•   The coming global disorder and the focus of Peter's latest book Disunited Nations

•   Considering different theories of the current global economy and trade. 

•   Ideas of China's growing economic and militant power and the holes that exist in these theories.

•   China's political immaturity and fallibility and what a spectacular fall might look like.

•   The part that geography plays in the unfolding events in China and the rest of the world.

•   Europe's outlook; geography and the areas that have historically lent themselves to control.

•   The role of technology in disrupting the deterministic power of geography in European development.

•   American geography and the coincidental advantage that it offers the country.

•   The power of shale gas and how this can affect the US' need for involvement in foreign energy markets.

•   A future where the US disengages from relationships with the rest of the world.

•   The links between culture and geography and how this influences technological adoption.

•   Technology and geography and what this combination means in a modern, AI context.

•   The limits of the digital revolution in heralding a new age.

•   The interesting example of India; population, poverty, positioning, and continuity. 

•   Looking at the Saudi Arabian economy and their dysfunctional education and military systems.

•   The broader Middle Eastern dynamic and looming conflicts.

•   Expectations for Africa and the lasting effects of coronavirus on immigration.

•   The two paths for Africa's continued industrialization and how they diverge.

•   Currency flows, the ultimate power of the dollar, and the trajectory of other historically strong currencies.

•   Human capital and looking to the examples of Israel and South Korea as outliers.

•   Long-overdue shifts in the American political system and where this is leading. 

•   The future of the nation-state and possible neo-imperialism. 


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Peter Zeihan on Twitter

The Accidental Superpower

The Absent Superpower

Disunited Nations


Adam Smith

Elon Musk