As a nation, the Brits have been through quite a bit over the last year. A sort of late midlife health and emotional crisis. The twin demons of pandemic and Brexit have scarred and divided us. But what is the collective mindset that led to the Brexit vote? And how have our values determined how we have coped with the pandemic: the wishes and needs of the individual do not always coincide with those of the group, our nation. Face masks don’t just protect us they are intended to safeguard others. How has pandemic changed our values and priorities – both on a personal and public level? Or will it be back to business as usual once we are all vaccinated?
In the latest in its series of podcasts supported by the investment bank Stifel and its European President Eithne O’Leary, Jericho Chambers Partner, Matthew Gwyther speaks to Eithne plus three book authors and a young, American colleague of Eithne’s who has only recently joined the bank after completing a Masters at LSE in London.
“Privacy is one of the great inventions and privileges of the Modern world”
The author, academic and critic Stephen Bayley’s new book is called Value: Thirty Conversations on What Money Can’t buy. It is more ludic a work than Sanghera’s but none the less important for it. Where Sathnam deals with the big, national and political Bayley looks at the personal, the intimate and how our values have been appraised by the pandemic or The Great Isolation, as he calls it. His work is “an elegiac account of what has been recently lost in the digital apocalypse. But also as steadfastly enthusiastic and optimistic look at what we can regain in a post-viral more analogue and more thoughtful world.” “Since the industrial revolution,” he writes. “When everything ran by clockwork, people have understood how important it is to live in the moment. But over time our world has grown increasingly busy and we’ve lost the ability to truly savour each unique experience and the simple pleasures the world has to offer.” And on Big Tech which has become even bigger in the last 12 months, he pulls no punches. “Apple? A huge and cynically manipulative organisation. Far worse than General Motors ever was.”
Stephen Bayley’s final paragraph in his book contains a lot of good sense: “you need to keep asking questions. Cultivate the senses. And enjoy the mysterious glory of the everyday. Because that is all we’ve got. And there is huge value to be had in realising and enjoying that.”
This podcast is part of The Double-Wicked Challenge; COVID and Brexit conversation series, curated by Jericho on behalf of Stifel Europe.
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