In June 2022, the famous Portuguese analyst and consultant Bruno Maçães was in Prague. He presented the Czech edition of his latest book A world of change. Civilization on the threshold of a new era.
You write that the pandemic has brought us closer to creating two distinct worlds, the world of nature and the world of people. What do you mean?
In the book, I propose the idea that nature cannot be permanently subjugated and all we can do about it is to create an artificial world separate from nature. This lesson can work in two directions. First, to the artificial digital environment. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve been interested in the idea of a metaverse for a few months or years. (Three-dimensional Internet – Note DK). The zoom our governments ordered us to use was safe, but it wasn’t for life. For example, memory worked differently on Zoom. Many people have told me that from Zoom meetings during the pandemic, they remember who joined from where, but worse, what was said, and most importantly who said it, how they talked to each other. Metaverse is a safe solution in this regard. The second direction is, of course, biotechnology. The idea behind mRNA vaccines, that we will make humans immune to natural threats, will be applied against other diseases, including malaria. We follow the technological acceleration.
In another of your books, you write about Eurasia. I had the feeling while reading you that you would be in favor of the creation of a common economic space from Europe to China. Is the war in Ukraine a blow to this concept?
In this book, I mainly argue that we need to think of Eurasia as one space. I never claimed that space would be calm and full of peace, on the contrary. Today we see that Europe must stop always worrying about itself, drowning in its internal difficulties, always resolving relations between France and Germany, Eastern Europe and West. They need to think from a Eurasian perspective, not just Russia, for example. It had been a long time since one could think of Russia without including India and China. I think this is amply demonstrated by the current crisis. It is crucial to know what position India and China will take in our conflict with Russia. If they decide to support him, our whole Russian policy collapses. Even America is thinking more and more from a Eurasian point of view, for example how the war in Ukraine will affect Taiwan. My idea of Eurasia is different from Sergey Karaganov’s idea. When I asked him if he still believed in the creation of a union between Europe and Russia, he sadly replied: Not in my lifetime. My idea of Eurasia has always been less idealistic: it is a highly competitive space, with a strong potential for conflict, but integrated, especially economically. It now seems inevitable that Europe will reduce its energy interconnection with Russia. It will replace them with energy links to the Persian Gulf.
And didn’t it happen exactly that when the Russians invaded Ukraine and we announced sanctions against Russia, we didn’t calculate at that time how China and India would react?
To some extent yes. We have only had a European policy in which we think of Russia as a part of Europe, although distant. But Russia is not part of Europe. Europe and Russia are part of Eurasia.
In the booklet you write: The risk to the Western order is that the tools used to punish Russia and limit its power will result in undermining the legitimacy of that order. What exactly did you mean here?
Mainly foreign exchange reserves that Russia kept in Western central banks. At the very least, we should have wondered if it would somehow come back to us. The western financial system and the dollar it contained were fundamental to the world monetary order, everyone wanted to have dollar reserves. And if those reserves and the dollar suddenly come under political scrutiny, governments around the world might suddenly have second thoughts. If you were in charge of, say, the reserves of the National Bank of Brazil, would you keep your $200 billion in the US Fed or in Europe? What if tomorrow the American authorities decide to freeze half of your reserves until you stop exploiting the Amazon? We don’t take your reserves, you get them back, you just have to change your approach to the Amazon. Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen, the former governor of the European Central Bank and the current governor of the American Fed, jointly decided by telephone to freeze Russian reserves. But next time, public opinion may also decide to freeze your reserves. There will be protests demanding the freezing of Brazil’s foreign exchange reserves as the Brazilian government assassinates journalists and environmental activists. Because it destroys our planet and therefore our life. From the point of view of a Brazilian politician, he will probably be responsible for trying to spread the national reservations in one way or another. Therefore, sanctions against Russia could weaken the dollar’s position accordingly. This is not to say that the sanctions were bad, just that they can have unforeseen consequences and costs. Incidentally, in the next book I want to address changes in the global monetary system. Something interesting is happening under the surface.
You can read the full interview in the book Changes of Life. You can buy it until the end of September at a reduced price of 449 crowns. You save 100 crowns compared to the retail price of 549 crowns. You can order the book HERE.
life changes is a set of 50 interviews with leading global and national figures. We reflect the changes in society, following the Chinese virus pandemic, another blow in the form of the Russian war in Ukraine, which could be the biggest trigger for social change since the end of World War II. The book follows Change of the World’s set of 50 interviews, which last year became the most successful book in Czech crowdfunding history.
Interviews you will find in the book:
SVÚTLANA ALEXIJEVIČOVÁ, writer
SERGEY KARAGANOV, political scientist
WESS MITCHELL, political scientist
CAMERON MUNTER, Diplomat
ROBERT C. O’BRIEN, lawyer
HARALD WELZER, sociologist
BRUNO MAÇÃES, analyst
CYRIL HÖSCHL, psychiatrist
MILAN UHDE, playwright, politician
JAROSLAV SVOBODA, immunologist
ANDREA BARTOŠKOVÁ, archaeologist
JAROSLAV ŠTURMA, child psychologist
JIRÍ SUK, historian
PETR MATÚJŮ, sociologist
FRANTIŠEK SKÁLA, artist, musician
MIROSLAV ŠIK, architect
LUBOMÍR KAVÁLEK, chess player
EVA JIŘIČNÁ, architect
MARTIN BOJAR, neurologist
DAŇA HORÁKOVÁ, journalist, politician
JINDŘICH MANN, screenwriter, director
JIRÍ LÁBUS, actor
LADISLAV LÁBUS, architect
MARGARETA HRUZA, director
PAVEL HOLLÄNDER, lawyer
JACHYM TOPOL, writer
JAKUB TROJAN, theologian
KAREL ŠIKTANC, poet
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, political scientist, philosopher
PETER TRAWNY, Philosopher
ROBERT PFALLER, Philosopher
MÁRIA SCHMIDTOVÁ, historian
MARTIN GURRI, analyst
JEFF GEDMIN, director of Radio Free Europe
ERPING ZHANG, political scientist
TOBY YOUNG, playwright, journalist
PEER STEINBRÜCK, politician
TAYLOR DOWNING, historian
DAN SCHNEIDER, lawyer
FRITZ VAHRENHOLT, chemist
JESSE SINGAL, Journalist
ADRIEN VERMEULE, lawyer
DENIS MUKWEGE, MD
ED WEST, historian, commentator
FRANK FUREDI, sociologist
THOMAS FUCHS, philosopher and psychiatrist
Securities and money
NOURIEL ROUBINI, economist
GÜNTHER OETTINGER, politician
LARS CHRISTENSEN, economist
MAREK MORA, economist