Critical Mass Speakers on Current Pandemic: Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond

Critical Mass Speakers on Current Pandemic: Jared Diamond

April 21, 2020

IHC Director Susan Derwin asked Jared Diamond, UCLA Professor of Geography, a few questions about his work in light of the current pandemic.

Susan: “This past January, you spoke in the IHC’s Critical Mass series. In your talk, ‘Nations in Crisis, People in Crisis: Connecting Upheaval,’ you analyzed the selective changes that individuals and nations make when experiencing a crisis and the ways in which the former can shed light on the latter.  How is the current pandemic impacting your thinking about such responses to crisis? What are your thoughts about the ways in which nations and individuals are responding to the current world crisis?”

Jared: “Different individuals and different nations are responding well or badly to the crisis. The current pandemic illustrates well the outcome predictors that I discussed for individuals and for nations in my book Upheaval. Without my naming names, you can think of individuals and countries that either acknowledge or deny the crisis, that either accept responsibility or blame others, and that either learn or refuse to learn from models of how others are dealing with the crisis.”

Susan: “Are you envisioning how life will be once we transition out of this period of quarantine and acute crisis?”

Jared: “I hope that the world’s recognition of its need to work together against the common enemy of the virus will motivate the world to work together against its common enemies of climate change and resource depletion.”

Susan: “What are you reading, watching and/or listening to right now?”

Jared: “I am now re-reading, for the third time, Le due città, by Mario Soldati. I’ve reached nearly the end of his year in Roma, and I forget whether on his return to Torino he will reconnect or not with Veve.”