Whose Century Is It?

Ideas, Trends & Twists Shaping the 21st Century.

Latest Episodes

Keeping up with killer technology

Whose Century Is It? February 09, 2017

Drones have only been around for a couple of decades, but already, they're reshaping the contours of conflict and raising ethical quandaries. President Barack Obama launched more than 500 drone strikes during his tenure, 10 times more than President George W. Bush. But Obama's drones strikes killed far fewer civilians than did Bush's intervention in Iraq. Still, how much should drones and robotics be used in conflict, and when, and what unintended consequences might this unleash? Peter Singer, Strategist at the New America Foundation and author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" talks with The World's Jeb Sharp.

Make America Kind Again

Whose Century Is It? January 27, 2017

America became a global leader over the past century through openness, generosity, and soft power —the ability to attract, and to make others want to emulate your way of life, including inclusivity and equal rights. Donald Trump's vision of America, as voiced in his campaign and reflected in his first words and deeds as president, has caused more global dismay than attraction. Will the Trump era mark the end of the American century? Listen in to hear some early takes.

How trust eroded within America's democracy

Whose Century Is It? January 12, 2017

Trust in government and journalism has plummeted in recent decades, particularly among conservatives. This wasn't a coincidence, nor strictly a result of bad behavior on the part of elected officials or the press, says Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of "It's Even Worse Than It Was: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism." He argues that understanding how we got here just might help Americans move to a better place.

China, the US and the lessons of history

Whose Century Is It? December 29, 2016

Talk about epic love/hate relationships. From the birth of the United States, China has loomed large in the American imagination, and America in China's, for better and for worse, often with surprising twists. Build a wall across the Mexican border? That was first proposed to stop Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. Mao Zedong's secret vice? American 'kissy' movies, to quote former Washington Post China correspondent John Pomfret, author of "The Beautiful Country and the MIddle Kingdom," an engaging new history of what America and China have meant to each other's citizens, as well as their governments, 1776 to now. And because this is a big and important topic, this is a long(ish) podcast — so break it up if you like. Want to hear about why the Founding Fathers admired China? Listen to the first 20 minutes. How America did — and didn't — promote its values in China in the 20th century? That'd be 20:00-53:00. Challenges for US-China relations now and going forward? 53:00 to the end. Enjoy!

A newsroom looks at future past

Whose Century Is It? December 15, 2016

As Americans wonder what changes a new year and a new President will bring, here's a case study of how much things can change, in unexpected ways, in a relatively short time. Host Mary Kay Magistad sits down with some of the early staff of PRI and BBC co-production PRI's The World to chat about what the future looked like in 1996, when The World first went to air, and how change has come in unexpected ways and uneven waves.

About the show

"Whose Century Is It?" is a biweekly podcast, exploring the ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century. Is this century China's, or once again America's, or someone else's entirely? It's too early to say; but creator and host Mary Kay Magistad offers interviews, stories and perspectives from around the world that provide informative — and often surprising — ways to think about the question. "Whose Century Is It?" is a coproduction between PRI's The World and Magistad, a former foreign correspondent and Asia hand who has reported from some 40 countries, on both sides of the turn of the 21st century.  

"Whose Century Is It?" is funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.