The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Public Interest Media

Can we end homelessness in New Zealand?

New Zealand has some of the worst housing depravation rates in the developed world per capita and they appear to be getting worse. Reuben McLaren speaks with clinical psychologist and founder of the Housing First model Dr. Sam Tsemberis about housing and ending homelessness.

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes. But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed.

Will Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal jeopardise North Korean negotiations?

Tony Walker explores whether Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal could fracture alliances and jeopardise North Korea negotiations.

Politics & Society

Why is the Golan Heights so important?

When Iran recently attacked the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from its positions in south-west Syria, Israel responded with a volley of air strikes that it says all but destroyed “almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria”. It was a dramatic flare-up in a long-running enmity – and it was no coincidence that it happened over one of the most contested areas in the Middle East.

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes. But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed.

Can we end homelessness in New Zealand?

New Zealand has some of the worst housing depravation rates in the developed world per capita and they appear to be getting worse. Reuben McLaren speaks with clinical psychologist and founder of the Housing First model Dr. Sam Tsemberis about housing and ending homelessness.

Youth Sex Trafficking: What’s missing from current debates?

Carisa R. Showden and Samantha Majic explore what is missing from current debates around youth sex trafficking. They argue that to be unequivocally anti-trafficking, we need to see and understand the broader picture of young people who trade sex.

Science & Technology

How does income inequality effect obesity?

National income and income inequality impacts on body size of children and adolescents, according to new research from the University of Auckland, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

How do we restore marine ecosystems? ▶

Professor Simon Thrush from the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “How do we restore marine ecosystems?”

Business & Economics

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? 🔊

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? What is the future of cryptocurrency? What are the pros and cons? And what do they mean for economics, for power, and for society? Maria Amoudian discusses the questions around cryptocurrency with David Golumbia, Gina C. Pieters, Lee W. McKnight, and Emin Gun Sirer.

Why do corporations have the same rights as people?

How did corporations get civil rights? That is Adam Winkler’s question. He says that the corporate rights movement began as early as 1809 with Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States case. That was followed by an advancement of corporate rights in 1882 when a former senator named Roscoe Conkling argued that corporations should get the same protections under the U.S. Constitution as people received. Winkler speaks with Maria Armoudian.

Is food security in flux?

Honorary academic Ken Jackson explores whether food security is currently in a state of flux.

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Paul Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

Arts & Culture

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Paul Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

What is context? ▶

Associate Professor Mark Amsler from the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “What is context?”

Are we living in an age of excess?

America has entered an age of excess, according to Jay Slosar. Driven by a maddening quest for perfection, technology, deregulation, and a superficial, and often inaccurate mass media, America’s national psychology has become increasingly narcissistic. Maria Armoudin discusses whether we are living in an age of excess with Slosar. 

Who really was Martin Luther King Jr? 🔊

While much of the country remembers Martin Luther King, Jr. as primarily a leader of civil rights and a great orator, others say he stood for so much more. As America pays tribute to King fifty years after his death, many aspects of his life, legacy & philosophy remain either unknown or conveniently forgotten. Maria Armoudian discusses the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with David Garrow, Joshua Inwood, and Thomas Jackson.