Episode 2: Facebook, Venezuela, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

In the second episode of The Rationalist podcast, host Mike Coté (going solo this episode) breaks down the Cambridge Analytica Facebook ‘scandal’, talks through the escalating crisis in Venezuela, and discusses the rise of authoritarianism abroad, especially after Vladimir Putin’s recent ‘re-election’ as Russian President.

In the first segment, focusing on the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data issue, Mike delves into how this isn’t really a scandal of any magnitude and uses his experience with Facebook data and marketing to dispel notions about this being an isolated or disturbing incident. In Segment 2, dealing with foreign policy, he speaks about the increasingly dire humanitarian and governmental situation in Venezuela. Mike talks through the brief history of the Venezuelan socialist project and discusses where things went so horribly awry, as well as giving the facts about the desperate situation on the ground and for the masses of refugees who have fled the country. In the third segment focusing on concepts affecting the world, Mike talks through the rising trend of authoritarian leaders abroad, particularly in Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He breaks down the Putin re-election, gives a short background on Putin himself, and talks about the future of the Russian state given Putin’s increasing vice-grip on the nation. He also deals with multiple other examples of authoritarianism, including China’s Xi Jinping, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Poland’s Law & Justice Party, and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. Finally, Mike offers a book recommendation for those who are interested in history, World War I, or the Middle East in general.

Check below for links and references from the podcast. Thanks for listening to The Rationalist!

Segment 1: Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

Segment 2: Crisis in Venezuela

Segment 3: Rise of Authoritarianism Abroad

Segment 4: Book Recommendation

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