Related Links: The Forum programme pageThe Forum 60 second ideas  
The Forum
9 Nov
Listen to the programme

A conceptual meeting point for this week's three ideas, by Emily Kasriel
The Forum, the BBC World Service programme which boldly crosses boundaries: scientific, creative and geographic, presented by Bridget Kendall.

Meet the guests

Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson argues that money is the driving force of progress and shows what 'finance' and 'evolution' have in common in his book The Ascent of Money

IndoAfrican Canadian novelist M.G. Vassanji asks whether one can escape the burden of tradition and how fiction can promote tolerance in his novel The Assassin's Song.

Art historian and critic James Hall decodes the secret symbolic language of left and right in the paintings of old masters in his book The Sinister Side.

Our guests' favourite paintings:

Niall Ferguson:
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus

M G Vassanji
Picasso's Demoiselles D'Avignon

James Hall
Titian's Diana and Actaeon

Listen to the 60 Second Idea To Change The World

Each week one guest presents an idea to enhance the world. This week it's the turn of James Hall.


I have a problem with the idea that cars are eyesores. Some pedestrians flooding our streets are hideous and I just wish they all had cars, and tinted ones for that matter, to hide their flaws. Back in some of our villages a car is still a status symbol.
Sam, Kenya

I agree with Mr Ferguson regarding Mr Hall's 'analysis': I thought it was obvious that a historic novel is not history. There are exceptions; J. Hasek's Good Soldier Szwejk explains the WW1 better than many history books could. And it is true, the Medicis became patrons when rich, but Italians have an innate sensibility for art and introduce it in their daily life.
Anna, Australia

Applause to your contributor who said that bankers need to understand financial history. I am frankly amazed at the lack of knowledge of people who work in the banking industry.
Graham, Latvia

Car camouflage netting for visually pleasing cityscapes shows its true purpose in how inconvenient it will be in its implementation. Hidden agendas in arguments are becoming commonplace for the simple reason that the true argument can't be won by simply saying: there should be no more cars, especially large ones.
Gert-Jan, Netherlands

I was delighted to hear the suggestion of camouflage netting for cars disfiguring public spaces. I don't understand why people who choose to bring a private vehicle into a town believe they have the right to free use of public space to park it. People on foot have rights as well! Public spaces in England are blighted by cars, as well as endangered, polluted and threatened by motorists with short fuses!
Pat, UK

Listen to more 60 second ideas
^^ Back to top Back to Index >>