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Tackling Poverty and Preventing War with Chris Blattman
Episode 4419th April 2022 • Charter Cities Podcast • Kurtis Lockhart
00:00:00 01:15:32

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The Ukraine-Russia conflict has dominated headlines over the past few months, with countless theories and hypotheses being touted to explain Russia’s aggression. Join us as we talk to one of the world’s leading experts on violence and politics, Professor Chris Blattman. We start the episode with an explanation of why Chris chose to write his latest book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, and how he can apply the logic within to explain Putin's motivations and behavior. We learn why peace is a better driver for innovation and competition than war, and what Chris feels about the controversial observations made by John Mearsheimer about the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Tune in to learn what the George Washington example is, and the role of the COVID-19 pandemic in the rising levels of violence within the USA. We next move on to the role of CBT in reducing violence across the globe, with some insightful examples of Mr. Rogers-like personas across Africa who Chris has worked with. This episode is jam-packed with tons of fascinating insights into current affairs, how to best tackle poverty, theoretical debate and so much more. Join us today as we talk to a true role model and thought leader on another episode of the Charter Cities podcast.


Key Points From This Episode:


•   An introduction to Chris Blattman, author, economist, political scientist, expert on violence, and seasoned peacebuilder.

•   The inspiration behind why Chris wrote Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace.

•   Chris’s response to John Mearsheimer’s observations on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

•   Why Chris is content that his book was published before Russia invaded Ukraine.

•   The five logics of war applied to the Ukraine-Russia conflict: unchecked interests, intangible incentives, uncertainty, commitment problems, and misperceptions.

•   Why Chris feels that peace drives competition and innovation better than war.

•   The George Washington example: what it means and how it can be applied to other situations.

•   Why Chris is interested in applying Machiavellian logic to his research and blogging.

•   How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted levels of violence within the USA, and why.

•   Why the Mr. Rogers principle is so effective, and examples Chris has come across in other countries.

•   CBT and how it can be applied to reduce poverty.

•   The monetary values associated with CBT across different cultures.

•   Why oversimplifying complex problems is bad for the solution, and why including locals in the solution is key to success.

•   An example of one of Chris’ RCTs that failed!

•   Why Chris feels that he might have had a larger impact on society if he had moved into consulting in Africa.

•   The factors that helped to make the Harris School the success it is today.

•   Why Chris thinks giving cash is more effective at reducing poverty than other interventions.

•   How decentralizing power will be the ultimate solution to poverty.

•   Chris’s thoughts on the Charter Cities Institute and goals.

•   Where Chris is now, and the issues he will be researching in the next five years.  


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Chris Blattman on LinkedIn

Chris Blattman

Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

Charles Tilley on LinkedIn

John McCormick on LinkedIn

Inclusive Economy Lab

Anti-Politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho

Gambling on Development: Why Some Countries Win and Others Lose

Econlib: Chris Blattman on Chickens, Cash, and Development Economics

Nic Blum on LinkedIn

Michael Kremer

Daniel Diermeier on LinkedIn

Bill Gates wants to give the poor chickens. What they need is cash


International Rescue Committee

International Crisis Group

Human Rights Watch

Medecins Sans Frontieres


International Republican Institute

National Democratic Institute

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin

Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life

Charter Cities Institute

Charter Cities Institute on Facebook

Charter Cities Institute on Twitter