Day: May 1, 2022

Background Briefing: May 1, 2022


How Escalating Commodity Prices Will Cause a Decade of Global Turmoil

We begin with an analysis of a feedback loop between chaos in the markets and chaos in the real world as conflicts trigger price shocks, and those high prices spark more conflicts, causing prices to spike again. With the war in Ukraine causing global turmoil with commodity prices, we assess how these conflicts, whether realised or anticipated in the future, will raise prices as traders factor in the “risk premium”. And, in turn, those high prices will fuel the very conflicts the premium is supposed to hedge against. Joining us is Rupert Russell, a writer and filmmaker who has filmed in twenty countries and made two award-winning documentaries. His first feature documentary, Freedom for the Wolf, tells the story of the global crisis of democracy from the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong to the failure of the Arab Spring in Tunisia to the rise of Donald Trump in America. He is the author of the new book, just out, Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World, and we discuss his article at The Guardian, “Unless we act, escalating commodity prices will cause a decade of global turmoil.”


Echoes of the 1930’s and Could Putin be Fairly Described as a Fascist?

Then we examine how the Ukraine crisis has disturbing echoes of the 1930’s and the extent to which Putin could be fairly described as a fascist given the irony he is supposedly de-Nazifying Ukraine while in Ukraine the pejorative name for Russia is “rasha” and now as their country is being destroyed, the Ukrainians refer to Putin’s Russians as “rashysts”. Joining us is Cristina Florea, a professor of history at Cornell University who teaches courses on East European and Soviet history, World War II and interwar Europe. Her work examines the relationship between nationalism and empire, the importance of imperial legacies in modern European history, and the centrality of imperial competition to East European politics and societies. She is the author of Crossroads of Empire: Revolutions and Encounters at the Frontiers of Europe and we discuss her article at CNN, “Putin knows that controlling history is the key to total power.”