Image for 05/03/2011

Play now 55 mins


55 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 05 March 2011

When protestors in Eastern Libya liberated their towns from Colonel Gaddafi's forces recently, it seems there was not mayhem on the streets. Instead locals organised themselves into street committees to prevent looting.

Just one example, perhaps, of the way local communities can collaborate for long term gain, rather than each person grabbing what they can for themselves. Nobel Laureate Professor Elinor Ostrom explains why we're not always out for ourselves, if left to our own devices.

Former Vice Chancellor of Cape Town University, Njabulo Ndebele – on the challenge of freeing South Africa from lingering guilt and resentment.

And best selling novelist Manju Kapur juggles the conflicting demands of individual rights and family obligations in modern Indian marriages.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: A man and wife and South Africa sharing water from the common pond.


4 items
  • Elinor Ostrom

    Elinor Ostrom

    Nobel Prize winner for Economics, American Professor Elinor Ostrom, tells us why we're better at banding together than we think.

  • Njabulo Ndebele

    Njabulo Ndebele

    Eminent South African novelist Njabulo Ndebele on the challenge of getting beyond guilt and blame in South Africa.

  • Manju Kapur

    Manju Kapur

    Best selling Indian author Manju Kapur surveys the state of matrimony in modern India, beset with conflicting obligations and opportunities.

    Photograph by Milan Mudgil.



    In our 60 Second Idea, Manju Kapur argues that the world would be a much better place if men had to do all the childcare and housework.

    This is because in countries like India, men have so much power on their side - the power of tradition and hierarchy.

    By being made to repeat the endless thankless household chores they would be able to feel a greater empathy with those who don't have power in society.

    Download the 60 Second Idea

    We bring you a special programme from Wales with a lively conference audience, looking at values for the 21st Century.

    Nicholas Taleb Nassim, author of the bestselling book The Black Swan, on the dangers of too much knowledge, English poet and painter, Frieda Hughes.

    And explorer and oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, who invites us to venture under the waves into that new global frontier - the ocean deep.


Free downloads

  1. Image for Forum - A World of Ideas

    Forum - A World of Ideas

    The world's most remarkable minds tackle a big idea. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

  2. Image for Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    An imaginative, quirky solution to a challenge of our age. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss