Opening dinner & onstage discussion: Are we in an era of superabundance or existential collapse?

The media and intellectual class feed us a constant diet of doom and gloom – predicting anything from global famine to climate catastrophe to energy crisis.

All the Cassandras notwithstanding, Marian Tupy argues that humanity has accomplished a great deal and can continue to do so as long as we continue to adhere to the values of classical liberalism. A cold, dispassionate look at the big picture shows that, all things considered, the world continues to improve along many different dimensions.

However, according to Sherelle Jacobs, there are good reasons to be distressed about the state of today’s world and the West’s place in it. We are besieged by crises on several fronts – from economics and culture to security and energy — and they are magnified by a deep sense of malaise that grips the national psyches of the western world. 

Director and Founder of the Centre for Independent Studies

Professor of Public Policy and Director, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University


Sociologist, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
Author of The New Authoritarianism

Director, Free Market Foundation, (Hungary)

Health Director, Health and BioSecurity, CSIRO

Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, London, (UK)

Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group

Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative (NZ)

Australian writer and columnist for the News Limited Press

Research Director, CIS

Programme Co-ordinator of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Western Australia

Chinese Canadian human rights advocate

Senior Research Fellow, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

CEO and Founding Director, China Matters

Former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives and Cabinet Minister

Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, and Professor of History, Australian Catholic University

Cancer researcher and clinical oncologist, with Genesis Care Newcastle

Founder and President, Middle East Forum, publisher Middle East Quarterly Journal, (US)

Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne

Senior Research Fellow and Director, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

Internationally acclaimed novelist and journalist, (US)

Head of Economic Research, Reserve Bank of Australia

Executive Director, CIS

Professor of Economics at Stanford University; Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and Chair of the Working Group on Economic Policy, (US)

UQ-CSIRO Chair in Personalised Nanodiagnostics, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

Diplomat, American Board of Pathology

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure

Liberal Party Member for Berowra

Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing

Director of China and Free Societies program, CIS

Senior Research Scholar, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, (US)