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How the pandemic made us hate each other

On Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released a survey on the impact of the pandemic on political attitudes across 17 advanced economies. The results are startling and alarming.

A median of 60 percent say that COVID has increased political polarization in their countries. Just 34 percent said their nation feels more united. In some cases, perceptions of polarization have jumped by more than 30 percentage points since the pandemic began.

We encourage you to read the report itself, but today we want to focus on the underlying question of WHY the pandemic has widened divisions among voters in so many countries.

Here are a few theories….

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Is modern society broken?

What does President Biden's "build back better" slogan really mean? If you asked him, he'd likely say that life after the pandemic shouldn't just be as good as it was before COVID hit…it should be better. Who would disagree with that? But beyond the sloganeering, the need to create a much improved "new normal" has never been greater. With global inequality on and extreme poverty on the rise, how do we patch up the many holes in the world's social safety nets? Renowned economist and London School of Economics director Minouche Shafik has some ideas, which she shared with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Podcast: The LSE’s Minouche Shafik on how to fix our broken society

Listen: It was an ongoing question before the pandemic, but coronavirus has made it all the more urgent. With global inequality and extreme poverty on the rise, how do we patch up the many holes in the world's social safety nets? The idea of governments providing all adults with a set amount of cash on a regular basis, no strings attached, is gaining attention worldwide — especially given the need to expand post-pandemic social safety nets. But for London School of Economics Director Minouche Shafik, universal basic income "is like giving up on people." Shafik speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World Podcast.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

One economist’s argument against universal basic income

The idea of governments providing all adults with a set amount of cash on a regular basis, no strings attached, is gaining attention worldwide — especially given the need to expand post-pandemic social safety nets. But for London School of Economics Director Minouche Shafik, universal basic income "is like giving up on people." Find out why on the latest episode of GZERO World, which begins airing on US public television Friday, May 28. Check local listings.

A Brazilian hip hop artist who brings his community not just music, but food

An intimate look at a popular Brazilian rapper who has become an unlikely hero for the poorest of the poor in a sprawling community outside of Brasilia, Brazil's capital. Marcos Vinícius de Jesus Morais, aka Japão, has organized an effort to supply poor families with critically needed food and medical equipment, because "they put me in the position where I am. So today I just give them back everything they did for me. You see that today in the capital of Brazil, people are going through this kind of need, it is sad, regrettable, and cruel."

Watch the episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Brazil on the brink

Episode 10: Can private companies lead the way on climate action?

Listen: With bold commitments coming from both political and business leaders around the globe, 2021 could be a critical year in the fight against climate change. As sustainable investing moves from being a nice idea to a necessary move, what does it mean for your bottom line?

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Don’t tax the dead: Colombia’s crisis

There's never a great time to impose higher taxes on funeral services — but doing it in the middle of a raging pandemic is an especially bad move. Yet that was one of a number of measures that the Colombian government proposed last week in a controversial new tax bill that has provoked the country's largest and most violent protests in decades.

In the days since, the finance minister has resigned, the tax reform has been pulled, and President Iván Duque has called for fresh dialogue with activists, union leaders, and opposition politicians.

But demonstrations, vandalism, and deadly clashes with police have only intensified. Two dozen people are dead, 40 are missing, and the UN has criticized Colombian police for their heavy-handed response.

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No, Joe Biden, America is not back. It will take time.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, kicking off the week as we head into spring. And I thought I'd talk a little bit about where US foreign policy is and is not heading.

We keep hearing from President Biden and the Biden administration that the United States is back. And certainly when you talk about the fact that the United States is rejoining and recommitting to a lot of institutions like the nuclear agreement on START, five-year extension, trying to get back into the Iranian nuclear deal, Paris Climate Accord, World Health Organization, where there's been a lot of criticism of late from Secretary of State Blinken saying the Chinese are all over that, and were writing basically the report that came out from the WHO, my God, that's a hit, but they're still engaging with WHO as they should. Internationally, that means that the level of diplomacy looks a little bit more normal than it did under the Trump administration, but that's not the United States is back.

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