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More discussion please

After 861 episodes, BTalk is taking a break. Hopefully we’ll be back soon, because there’s something unique about a daily podcast that other media can’t fulfil.

Mainstream electronic media is built around the sound bite and 24-hour news cycle. That means ideas get distilled down to their simplest form. There’s little room for discussion. Black and white views then get tweeted, down to just 140 characters.

Is it any wonder that the world faces issues? There are so few forums to discuss what’s really going on. Is climate change real — and if so, what do we do about it? Will the economy recover — and how do we stop making the same mistake again? How does the world cope with 7 billion people — and how do we maintain a standard of living in a sustainable way? Or do we need to accept that our standard of living will drop?

Our focus in society has been more about what’s happened, rather than asking the question “What if?”

Most people, it seems, form hard opinions on many key issues and rarely entertain the idea that they might be wrong. So no discussion takes place, just arguments in which people hand pick facts to support their point of view.

Fox News, tabloid newspapers (even the broadsheets, these days) and talkback radio all present news with an agenda. Now bloggers are gathering a following, where people can have their views reinforced by reading people who think just like them.

Even though I have been accused of being a raving socialist (because I dared to suggest that capitalism was in need of reform) I have tried to present all sides of arguments. Personally I have learnt a lot through the experience and I feel like a more balanced individual than I was four years ago.

BTalk has not just been about the big issues, of course. A lot of the time we have been giving practical advice on business management. I’ve enjoyed having the balance. Let’s hope an opportunity exists to continue the conversation some time soon!

First published on CBS News

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