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The Spectator podcast: Trump takes charge

5 January 2017

12:21 PM

5 January 2017

12:21 PM

On this week’s podcast we discuss President Trump’s arrival on the world stage, the problem of medicating adult ADHD sufferers, and how virtual reality headsets might change the way we think and work.

First up, Lara Prendergast speaks to Andrew J. Bacevich about his cover story in this week’s magazine. With Trump’s inauguration just a couple of weeks away, his fans and critics have been paying extra attention to the President-elect’s pronouncements, particularly on that most nuanced of platforms, Twitter. Bacevich asks the question of whether Trump will win big, or destroy decades of American foreign policy doctrine. He’s joined on the podcast by the Spectator’s Deputy Editor Freddy Gray.

In this week’s magazine, Andrew J. Bacevich writes that:

“It now falls to Trump to correct the imbalance, something he claims with his trademark swagger that he will do in short order. Should he succeed — should the United States ‘win so much people will say we can’t take it any more’ — some modified version of American globalism may persist. Should he, along with the generals and billionaires comprising his inner circle, come up short, then the tentative retreat from globalism that began under Barack Obama will continue and even accelerate, with large implications for the United States and the world as a whole.”

Next, Elisa Segrave‘s son suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and also, according to his psychiatrists, ADHD. But his reaction to the prescribed drug – Atomoxetine – has left his mother despairing. Was his manic behaviour a symptom of his condition or a side effect of the medication?

Professor Philip Asherson from King’s College London, outlines the potential issues with Atomoxetine:

“I think this, what I would call a manic reaction to the medication he took, is very unusual. I wouldn’t like to say it’s altogether unexpected, because we know that anti-depressants, and Atomexetine isn’t a stimulant drug like Ritalin, can sometimes trigger mania. Most usually that’s in people who have some kind of propensity towards mania or depression.”

And finally, we called up Hugo Rifkind who was working at home or, perhaps, from underwater or a rollercoaster or outer space. That ambiguity is thanks to his new virtual reality headset, which he writes about in this week’s magazine. But will this sparkly technology change the way that we view the world? And what impact will it have on the job market? Hugo, for one, is worried:

“It’s about having better things to do than having jobs. So when people talk about this technological future where robots do all the work and we all have a universal basic income and all that kind of stuff, we talk about it as happening as a result of human obsolescence, that robots can do our jobs better and cheaper. What interests me is the idea that it might not happen that way round. Perhaps long before we’re obsolescent we’ll just go ‘you know what? Nah, not going to do this’ and we will survive on the absolute basic we can and spend our time doing more engaging things than having jobs.”


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