Longtime outspoken critic of globalism and what he calls the "rationalist elite," John Ralston Saul argues it's time for a big shift in our political and corporate thinking. Despite the promise of a shiny new world order of globalism for the past forty years, he argues, 19th century European ideas of progress borne out in the industrial revolution continue to dominate the direction of the world.
To a packed house at Melbourne's RMIT, Ralston Saul argues that the worldwide reliance on and faith in globalism has led to war, financial meltdown and a failure to find solutions to important challenges such as climate change.
John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul, a long-time champion of freedom of expression, was elected President of International PEN in October 2009.
An award-winning essayist and novelist, Saul has had a growing impact on political and economic thought in many countries. Declared a "prophet" by TIME magazine, he is included in the prestigious Utne Reader's list of the world's 100 leading thinkers and visionaries. His works have been translated into 22 languages in 30 countries.
Saul is perhaps best known for his philosophical trilogy - Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, The Doubter's Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense and The Unconscious Civilization. This was followed by a meditation on the trilogy - On Equilibrium: Six Qualities of the New Humanism.
John Ralston Saul, President of International PEN, frames the climate change debate as a gamble, calling it an "unacceptable risk" even if the odds are less than 50-50 that human actions are triggering environmental destruction. "You're willing to take this risk, even if it means your grandchildren fry?" Saul asks.
He blames European philosophy, Western methodology, and 19th-century English economics for preventing decisive action on the issue.