Munk debate on CApitalism

Is the capitalist system broken?

Aiming to help the world rediscover the art of public debate, the Munk Debates convene the brightest thinkers of our time to weigh in on Capitalism, something that touches on everything from the 2020 U.S. election cycle to climate change to economic inequality: “The capitalist system is broken. It’s time to try something different.”

Munk Debates| Capitalism recorded December 4, 2019
Courtesy Munk Debates

Munk Debates

Premiered January 28, 2020

There is a growing belief in western societies that the current capitalist system no longer works for average people. Economic inequality is rampant. Life expectancy is falling. The environment is being destroyed for profits. Political power is wielded by wealthy elites and big business, not the people. For capitalism’s critics, the answer is a top to bottom reform of the “free market” along more socialist and democratic lines.

The Fall 2019 Munk Debate moved the motion: Be it resolved, the capitalist system is broken. It's time to try something different.

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The Munk Debates

The Munk Debates: Capitalism | Preview


WNED PBS presents The Munk Debates: Capitalism, a discussion on the capitalistic system.

The Munk Debates, now entering its 12th year, are held twice a year in Toronto and tackle major policy issues, such as whether American foreign policy emboldens terrorists, whether men are obsolete, and whether religion is a force for good in the world. The Munk Debates are Canada’s preeminent forum to discuss the pressing issues of our time. Previous Munk Debate participants are a who’s who of world influencers, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, and David Frum.

Munk Debate  featuring Yanis Varoufavis, Katrina VandenHeuvel, David Brooks and Arthur C. Brooks

Arguing against the resolution will be Arthur Brooks, Harvard professor and Washington Post columnist. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America” and “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.” Joining him will be New York Times columnist, political commentator, and bestselling author, David Brooks.

For proponents of capitalism, it is the engine of economic and social progress, full stop. Not only has capitalism made all of us materially better off, its ideals are responsible for everything from women’s rights to a cleaner environment to greater political freedoms. The answer to society’s current ills is more capitalism, more economic freedom, and more free markets.

Arguing the affirmative is Editorial Director and Publisher of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel. vanden Heuvel writes a weekly column for The Washington Post, and is a frequent commentator on U.S. and international politics for ABC, MSNBC, CNN, and PBS. She will be joined by Yanis Varoufakis, who is the former Minister of Finance for Greece.

Munk Debates China: Friend or Foe

Is China a threat to the liberal international order?

Tickets to the Munk Debates in Toronto can sell out in just 15 minutes, but WNED PBS viewers don’t need to leave their living rooms to catch the latest debate on China and its impact on the world. “China: Friend or Foe?” which premiered June 18, on WNED PBS, with renowned panelists H.R. McMaster and Michael Pillsbury arguing one side and Kishore Mahbubani and Huiyao Wang arguing the other. Rudyard Griffiths is the organizer and moderator.

Munk Debates| China: Friend of Foe? recorded May, 9, 2019
Courtesy Munk Debates

Munk Debates
China: Friend of Foe?

Premiered Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Increasingly in the West, China is being characterized as a threat to the liberal international order, one that must be overcome through economic, political, technological and even military means. Supposedly, free and open societies, led by the United States, need to push back against the policies of the Chinese Communist Party to preserve a rules-based international order in 21st century. For others, this approach spells disaster. It ignores the history and dynamics propelling China’s peaceful rise to superpower status. Rather than undermining the post-war order, China is its best, and maybe only, guarantor in an era of declining U.S. leadership, increased regional instability and slowing global growth.

The Spring 2019 Munk Debate moved the motion: is China a threat to the liberal international order?

The Munk Debates

The Munk Debates: China | Full Program


WNED PBS presents The Munk Debates: China, a discussion on China’s impact on the world.

The motion for the Spring 2019 Munk Debate, held May 9: is China a threat to the liberal international order? Arguing for the resolution is H. R McMaster, who served as the 26th Assistant to the President for National Security before retiring from the U.S. military as Lieutenant General in 2018. He is a New York Times bestselling author, and a West Point graduate with a PhD in military history. He is joined by Michael Pillsbury, one of Donald Trump’s top advisors on China. Pillsbury is the author of The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower, and the director for Chinese strategy at the D.C.-based Hudson Institute.

Arguing against the resolution is Kishore Mahbubani, former President of the United Nation Security Council and past dean of the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Mahbubani is the author of numerous bestselling books, including 2018’s Has the West Lost It? A Provocation. Joining him will be Huiyao Wang. Dr. Wang is the Founder and President of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) in Beijing. He was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Rudyard Griffiths is the organizer and moderator of the Munk Debates. He is the author of the 2009 Globe and Mail book of the year, Who We Are: A Citizen's Manifesto, and has edited various essays on Canadian and international political and historical themes. He has been a television anchor on BNN, CTV News Channel, and Bloomberg TV Canada.

The Munk Debates are a signature initiative of the Aurea Foundation, founded in 2006 by Peter and Melanie Munk to support Canadian institutions involved in the study and development of public policy.

Support for airing The Munk Debates was provided by Empire Communities.