Global Trade at a Turning Point

with Dr. Peter Rajsingh

Global trade is at a turning point. As the world is experiencing a transformation into digital globalization, key fundamentals of trade such as notions of competitive advantage, freedom, and mitigating surpluses and deficits are being challenged. Competing value systems are putting the international trade equilibrium under tremendous pressure.

Can a new balance be found and can we return to stability? What is the impact of how risk is being priced in today’s environment of unlimited money supply? What do younger generations make of all this? Tune in with Dr. Peter Rajsingh for an insightful conversation.

Topics in this conversation include:

  • Three planks of trade and the importance of international trade 1:13
  • How the competing value systems of the United States and China are impacting trade now and will continue to in the future 8:06
  • Impacts of COVID on trade and life 16:47
  • What investors are keeping an eye on now and thoughts on inflation 19:25
  • Global economies and the dollar 24:40
  • Differences in mindset of students today versus students of years past 26:46


Trade Wins is a podcast designed specifically to be thought-provoking and to provide insights from leading experts to help us navigate today’s changing environment. We aim to contribute to the empowerment of our global membership and their business networks in the world of global trade and investment.


Robin van Puyenbroeck  0:07  

Welcome to WTCA’s Trade Wins. My guest today is Dr. Peter Rajsingh. He’s a great educator, investor, philanthropist, and globetrotter, teaching at New York University, University of Reims, Universidade Católica Portuguesa Business School, and he also serves on the boards of University of Auckland and Toulouse Business School. Peter, welcome to the show.

Peter Rajsingh  0:29  

Thanks very much, Robin. Pleasure to be here.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  0:31  

Well, thank you. It’s so good to have you here, Peter. So Peter, what would you like people to know about you?

Peter Rajsingh  0:37  

Well, you’ve pretty much done a substantive introduction, but, and basically I have two major hats. One’s an academic hat and then I’m involved in business in various capacities in the what’s called the alternative investment sector. So that’s hedge funds, private equity, and am on the board of a couple of  companies and nonprofits, one of which we do together.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  1:02  

That’s right. That’s right. So good. Let’s talk about trade and business and sort of the contentious environment that we’re currently in. How do you see the current regime of international trade?

Peter Rajsingh  1:13  

Yeah, I mean, it’s a very interesting question, particularly in light of structural changes and the general narrative arcs and trajectories that we’ve seen. So I would like to begin by kind of breaking it down in terms of just thinking about what is trade, in its first principles, if you like. So we can perhaps go back to the political economists, the English political economist, David Ricardo, and his notion of comparative advantage where essentially countries make what they’re best at making. So we get a principle of efficiency out of international trade. Then there’s also a principle of freedom, if you like – that there’s unfettered exchange of goods and services across transnational boundaries. And then, finally, as a third plank of trade, if we want to create a kind of a three pillared stool, in addition to “efficiency” and “freedom,” there’s a kind of “symmetry of interests” where national economies benefit as well as the global economy within a broader rule based system. So it’s important, I think, for us to frame trade as global and relatively globally integrated. It makes no sense, in my mind at least, when we have anti-globalists, which we’ve seen in various countries, railing against the global impulse, because capital labor goods and services are globally traded and we want them to be that way for a functioning international order. Also, I think it’s important to think of trade in terms of mitigating surpluses and deficits that exist in the world. So basically, if one country has a surplus of certain goods or services, another country that is in a deficit position can sop them up. And this also occurs for commodities and for the ultimate commodity, which is the US dollar, the global reserve currency, the mechanism in which international trade occurs. So essentially, we see where there are surpluses of dollars, these get recycled in various ways. So for instance, we saw the petrodollars that accumulated with the rapid rise in industrialization and the OPEC cartel, being recycled into the dollarized banking system. That’s part of the whole regime of international trade as well. So, I think it’s very important to take trade out of its most fundamental, basic level of understanding and think of it as a system. It’s almost like what the circulatory system is to the body—what we have in our veins and arteries and blood circulating with nutrients and oxygen, etc. That’s the international trading system. I think this global, biological metaphor is a kind of interesting way to think about it.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  4:21  

No, it’s very interesting how you break it down, like, because that’s actually a very good question, like, what is trade when we talk about trade? And you point to the fact that it’s really about creating competitive advantages for countries and industries. There’s a freedom notion, I think, a very important one that is often forgotten. And I agree with the mitigation of surpluses and deficits and creating proper trade balances. So that sort of takes us to, what are the challenges because if you look at the situation today and international commerce, there’s trade sanctions, there’s tariff barriers going up, there’s import restrictions. You mentioned the role of the dollar, but there are so many currency controls now out there in so many places. So how do you look at the breaking down of the system, if you like? Will they last? Will countries double down on them? And what else is there as a challenge to the international trading regime?

Peter Rajsingh  5:12  

Yeah, that’s a very good question because I think what we’re seeing through the COVID crisis, as one form of catalyst, challenges to global supply chains and to trade regimes, and then geopolitical tensions, where we’re seeing all these forces being brought to bear, these exogenous forces that are challenging the system, as it were, the basic infrastructure of the trade system as we know it, both in its physical infrastructure. We saw the blockage of the Suez Canal and understand that vulnerability, but there’s also the political infrastructure. Because ultimately, trust and basically conforming to the rule-based system that’s set up in broad brushstrokes, is the lifeblood of the system. So in its original conception, as we transitioned from mercantilism to this more liberalized regime of trade, ultimately, the hope on the part of the architects who set up the system we now have, the hope was that with fluid movement of goods and services, with trade being liberal, if you’d like, the trade routes would also be conduits of ideas. So the liberalizing idea would kind of percolate across and around the world. But we know that that’s not necessarily true, right? So, in essence to your point, insofar as we say we see barriers and sanctions and so forth, these are not only sanctions against goods and services, but they’re also barriers – they’re impediments to the free flow of this broader conception, this kind of first order or first principle notion of trade as a liberalizing or liberal phenomenon, right? So this is very interesting, just trying to see trading in a broader context, the broader ideational context, if you like.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  7:11  

Yeah, that brings us sort of to what is this international trade infrastructure and is it adequate actually to deal with what’s going on in the world today? I mean, in the end, both the IMF, the WTO we’re coming off the Bretton Woods Agreements, very based on the Treaty of Westphalia, right, its sovereignty based. And so is the current infrastructure. Then there was the whole contentious election around the new Director General for the WTO, what is the reform agenda there? But then also making the link to technology to the whole, the fact that the digital infrastructure, the digital globalization is not limited or restricted by sovereignty? So do you think that this whole notion of how Bretton Woods came to the current trade infrastructure needs to be completely revamped, also taking into account the impact of technology companies and the impact of technology on our lives and on trade in general?

Peter Rajsingh  8:06  

Yeah, no, that’s a very, very substantive and profound point you just made, Robin. So, yeah, the Westphalia framework of national boundaries and respect of sovereignty is very much under challenge through the internet, through regimes of e-commerce. And  basically governments previously reserved the right to tax and to control the flows, right, which they no longer necessarily are even cognizant of what’s happening. Technologists, this sort of anti-status version of technologist or technocrat, are lauding the notion of blockchain and decentralization as a phenomenon that’s going to basically push the state into the background. So yeah, basically, trying to come to terms with all these tensions is the major challenge for those who are the architects of the new paradigm. Also, it’s interesting because when we’re now very much at a cultural crossroads in that we have the two major forces that have emerged in the domain of global trade, the US and China, essentially bringing clashing values to the table. I think, and I’m not saying this with, with any kind of normative gloss as to which should necessarily be preferred even though I might have a private view in that regard, but basically, there’s a very deep-rooted Chinese notion of (I’m mispronouncing the word) “miànzi,” which means saving face right, which is antithetical to the notion of transparency. So as we come out of the COVID domain, it’s very important that China positions itself as having handled the situation best and its economy is the most resilient, etc., which might be true, but it’s, it’s also very much colored by this need to basically save face and present the best version of the self forwards, right. So how do we, how do we mitigate that deeply rooted cultural impulse against the countervailing force, which is, oh we want transparency, we want acknowledgement of fault, right? When there’s breakdown, we want to be able to point to it and say, yes, this, this rule has been broken or this regime has been transgressed, etc. So it’s not clear how we really navigate this very deep rooted ideological tension. And then, of course, not to mention the other tensions of free market capitalism versus more centralized controlled economies, etc. So this is the core challenge – we’re in a situation where previously there was a dominant value system that was being imposed. And granted, you know, the critics of it would say, “Oh, this put the global south at a disadvantage,” etc. Now, we’ve got two competing value systems that we have to somehow try to navigate and, figure out how to create forms of compromise, if one is not going to dominate the other.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  11:17  

Yeah, I think you went straight to the core of it, Peter. It’s, it’s at the center of international commerce is now more than ever, this, this US/China trade relationship, which is obviously breaking down. And you raise a very important point that it’s really more about clash of two competing value systems, both societal and how we look at commerce. So where do you see this go, the clash of those two competing value systems? Because countries from around the world are already picking one over the other and you see these, these large two blocs popping up. So where do you see this go? You think that, that things will calm down over time and that we’ll find a balance between those two value systems? Or do you see this more as a continuous clash?

Peter Rajsingh  12:02  

Yeah, I mean, I think the nature of the tensions or the contradictions between the two systems means that they’re prone to be in conflict in some measure, right. But at the same time, the hope from, I guess they’re different schools of thought, but the hope from the more optimistic school of thought is that ultimately the imperatives of integration and the fact that there’s this notion that ultimately everyone benefits from a more stable regime, where we can also mitigate structural imbalances, as well, that that is in the best interest of both of these two dominant parties. So one of the, the factors associated with the “Chinese miracle,” if you want to call it that – t is rapid industrialization and economic growth – has been the way that they’ve managed labor with the system of importing labor from the provinces into cities as kind of migrant workers, etc. So there’s been this labor arbitrage. But the corollary of that is that China has been exporting deflation into the rest of the world. So basically, post COVID there’s all this talk of reshoring – people now wanting to manufacture things that were previously offshored in house, or in their own home countries. But are they willing to accept the higher prices that will be a necessary corollary in systems where labor is more expensive, for example? So for all these, I think it’s easy to come up with the diagnoses. But the actual solutions are much more complex. You know, just like we have all these conferences about climate change and need to do X and Y. But the kinds of trade- offs necessary, are very difficult to execute and to figure out.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  14:11  

Yeah, and we already see the tremendous political backlash, or you just said it, like, it needs to be, there needs to be a system where everyone can benefit from the regime. And at the at the core of election outcomes worldwide is really also the notion that there’s inequality, right? And is the economy inclusive for everyone? And you touched upon the whole climate change negotiations, which are, of course, tremendously important. But will our trade infrastructure be able to make sure that a tremendous amount of people will not be left behind? Will we include everyone in how we create this new economy and look at how we deal with the environment, so again that people are not being left behind because the political consequences, the backlashes that we see from people being left out, are very disruptive.

Peter Rajsingh  15:02  

Yes, absolutely. The value vacuums that are created as a result, cause these pernicious and toxic forces to emerge. And then the question and a corollary to what you just said is the rapid advance of technology and automation which is another factor in the equation – disintermediating labor. And, you know, the President of the United States talked about finding new jobs for people who will be displaced in the oil sector. It’s not that easy, right? And it’s even harder for people who will be put out of work based on tech or AI. Yeah, we’ve heard absurd politicians say, “Oh, we’ll teach them how to code.” That’s easier said than done. Maybe they don’t want to learn how to code, firstly. And secondly, it requires certain capacities. So it might be the case that we have to really start to think seriously about some sort of shape or form of UBI to address this issue you pointed out – inclusivity and people not being left out.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  16:10  

Yeah, that’s a very interesting idea, very interesting concept. Because we’ve been really, because of COVID propelled into what I like to call it a digital form of globalization. And so that sort of takes us to, to COVID itself. Like, let’s talk a little bit about the COVID pandemic we’ve all been living through now for over a year. So where will this COVID crisis, you think, cause a more lasting impact on our society, but also, like, on how we live our lives, how we conduct business, how we learn, how we teach? What, what do you think will be fundamentally shifted and make a lasting impact on us?

Peter Rajsingh  16:47  

Yeah, I mean, one of the obvious ones is the acceleration of digital transformation and the fact that we can have this conversation and we’re both on different sides of the Atlantic is, in some sense, thanks to COVID. So basically, I think this certainly is something that is here to stay – this idea of the digital future, remote work, working from home. A lot of people we speak with are trying to rethink the notion of having office space, since clearly people don’t need to necessarily show up to an office. So these are immediate kind of first order considerations. And then, at a more abstract second order level, we have questions about the psychological impact, positive or negative. People worry about generations of kids who have not had access to peer based learning and playing with friends. So, you know, will that have some future impact on their developmental growth? But I think supply, the vulnerability of global supply chains is something everyone is concerned about – that when crises hit, how do we think about business continuity, etc. And, overall, I think it’s a really good lesson about just the vulnerability of systems. You know, human biological systems – that this tiny virus can make us sick, to systems of how we interact, to just the whole nature of, you know, airlines and travel. It’s really a pretty deep rooted and far reaching phenomena and I think we’re just beginning to appreciate what the longer term ripple effects will be.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  18:46  

Yeah, that sort of brings us to business itself, right? You mentioned the disruption of supply chains. Car factories are closing because of shortage of semiconductors and there’s so much else going on, you mentioned that, of course, we all know what happened in the Suez Canal. One ship strands and it completely disrupts supply chains all over the world. So, Peter, you work in asset management as well. You, you travel the world now, virtually, I assume. So when you speak with investors, what, what are they focused on now given, given this context? And I would imagine investors are forward looking, like what are, what are they seeing in the future? What are they investing in?

Peter Rajsingh  19:25  

That’s a very interesting question. So I think one of the big things that perplexes people in financial services is really the extent to which now economies are really adjuncts of Central Bank policy. So Central Banks have almost become proxies for the market and they’ve compressed risk premia, they’re throwing out credit in a liberal, and perhaps even profligate, fashion. So, you know, essentially the core postulate of the asset management enterprise is risk taking and being compensated for the risk that one’s seeking to be exposed to, right? That there’s this idea of a risk premium that you’re trying to capture. But when the risk free rate has been dialed down to zero, in some instances is almost practically in real terms negative, then that brings down risk premia across the board. So, essentially, people are taking risks – let’s say a 100 year Argentinian bond, bond risk, but you’re not being compensated in a manner commensurate with the risk that you’re actually being exposed to. So this is a major dilemma people are trying to figure out – what’s now the rational relationship between price and, risk, how do you price risk appropriately? And then, on a more general level, I think it’s fair to say that we’re in a massive credit super bubble all over again with the proliferation of credit, just unprecedented expansion across all areas – private, public, etc. So will this lead to a future scenario of credit contraction and consequently throw up a lot of distress? So that distressed assets become the sweet spot.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  21:17  

Then it’s a very interesting question how to price risk and looking at the monetary expansion happening, that has been happening for a while now. You would think for investors to make those decisions, it looks more like everyone is just speculating at this point and actually getting very high returns on that speculation and it’s completely not correlated with pricing of risk that you just mentioned.

Peter Rajsingh  21:40  

Yeah, imagine! A $100 million deli in New Jersey, Dogecoin, GameStop, etc. And also, to your point about decentralization and power sifts, it’s interesting to see the emergence of this cohort of retail investors that is moving the market in significant ways. In limited moments, but certainly, it’s non trivial. And then you start talking about Central Banks. I mean, there’s this whole question about whether we’re transitioning into an inflationary phase as well. You know, as we know, inflation really has two phenomena associated with it. One is increases in the money supply, which we’ve seen happening in spades.  And then also increasing velocity of money, you know, how quickly money turns. So velocity has not reached alarming levels, but the expansion of money supply certainly has. So the question is will this lead to inflation? Central bankers tell us, “Oh, don’t worry,” you know, they have the tools to rein it in. But it remains to be seen just how this is going to play out. The economists who follow it, so far are suggesting that rather than generalized inflation, we’ll see pockets of inflation here and there. But that’s what they said about the housing crisis. You know, famously, Alan Greenspan said, “There’s no housing bubble, they’re just areas where housing prices are inflated, and these will self-correct.” So this remains to be seen.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  23:12  

Yeah, I think it’s just very worrisome because something will have to give at some point. Markets remain at the peak levels. They’ve been, I think, price for perfection for a very long time. So at some point, something will have to give. What’s your take on that, as to where and when? 

Peter Rajsingh  23:28  

It’s very hard to predict the where and when. But as we know from history, inflation disproportionately affects the poor. We’ve seen how hyperinflation, when it hits countries, and just the devastation it causes, and commensurate political instability and all the other social ills. So yeah, I mean, hopefully, we’re not going to move into a period of troubling inflation. Obviously, a certain level of inflation is desirable, and, in fact, manufactured by policy. But, when, how does the tipping point happen is a question we need to think about.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  24:15  

I think we already see this happening in certain more emerging markets where currencies are devaluing at very high rates, where inflation is really creeping up. So that’s hopefully not happening here. So where do you see the US dollar as, as sort of the world’s, like, reserve currency? How do you see the value of the dollar moving versus the emerging market economies? Do you see weakness in the dollar ahead of us as well?

Peter Rajsingh  24:40  

Yeah, I think as long as the global economy is dollarized, then there’s demand for the dollar. This is wind in the sails, propping it up. Basically, it’s also a storehouse of value and in times of crisis there’s a flight to quality which still tends to be a flight to dollarized instruments like the Treasury, treasury bills and bonds. So basically I don’t see any immediate threat to the dollar. Nor do I see a breakdown in the dollarized global trading regime. Though, obviously, China, in the long run, probably has some ambition to replace the dollar. But it comes at its own peril because then the Chinese currency will necessarily have to appreciate. And they can’t allow that to happen until they’ve developed a sufficiently robust, domestic consumption engine. Presently, they just don’t have the capacity to absorb their production outgoing capacities. So they’re dependent on global trade. So we’ll see, I mean, it’s interesting the extent to which these big shifts can be architected or these shifts happen as a result of some kind of natural evolution. But we’re certainly in interesting times. There’s the Chinese problem and we’re certainly in a phase of transition.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  26:14  

Interesting times for sure. And so, if Peter, that takes me to a different subject here, that you’re also a teacher, a great teacher. And I know that you used to gather with your students on Sunday mornings at the local bakery. You know, being very generous with your time. So I was just thinking about the future, sort of, what, what are changes that you have seen with students over the years? Like how do your students see the world, their future now as opposed to maybe years ago, when you’re coming off all those intense conversations you had with your, your students, your many students?

Peter Rajsingh  26:46  

Yeah, so that’s interesting. The topics I teach tend to be oriented towards business and finance and entre and intrapreneurship. So I have exposure to a particular cohort of the student population. Previously, they used to be pretty universally oriented towards going on to Wall Street, or working in startups, investment banks, and so forth. That seems to be changing, somewhat.  I think there’s a greater sense of precarity associated with being a student, as they view the future. Also, the costs of education have risen astronomically, to really truly absurd levels, that strike me as unsustainable. Students are very interested in environmental issues today. And then there’s another interesting tension within the whole project of education in that, on one hand, students now are exposed to notions of puzzling complexity. Like they’ll dabble in a class in quantum physics and think about quantum entanglement and super positioning, and all these weird notions – that physical world isn’t what we think it is. You know, a particle can be in two places at once, and observing a particle changes its behavior, etc. And on the other hand, in, with regard to their political views, they tend to be very fixed on what is a singular perspective, which is that politics is about power and that the political defines all contours of the life world, which is very interesting. Because on one hand, it’s useful to think politically and how does power function in different contexts. But it’s also useful to think that not every single domain of all of our activities is necessarily amenable to being politicized, and politicized based on a very singular and ultimately Marxist definition of what politics is — which is that politics reduces to matters of power. So there’s this tension between on one hand, hey, the world is complex, the world is nuanced at the level of quantum physics, but in lived experience, it reduces to just matters of power, which is a very strange kind of cognitive dissonance. I have a good friend who wrote a book called “Master and His Emissary,” which is about the divided brain and how, in fact, constitutionally as creatures our brains are divided between a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere and even though we need both hemispheres for everything, the two hemispheres attend to the world in different ways. So it’s interesting. It’s almost as if, left hemisphere thinking, of breaking things down, of reducing things to some singular phenomenon – left hemisphere thinking has just come to dominate how we view social life, which seems to me to be problematic. And it’s certainly not a recipe for a well-integrated, harmonious interior itself, right? If everything is hyper politicized and the world sucks and here’s power in all the crevices of everything one does.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  30:07  

Yeah. That’s, that’s very interesting. So, Peter, because you, of course, you teach it in many different places and countries and student bodies are very international, but do you see differences, I’m just saying France versus New Zealand versus Portugal versus New York, with as it comes to the students and sort of their attitude and their view of the world?

Peter Rajsingh  30:27  

Yeah, I mean, obviously, there’s cultural difference. But I think increasingly, there’s a kind of homogeneity as well, to certain versions of what is being presented in academia. I think we need to recover a notion of critical thinking and also a willingness to entertain views that, although you might not hold them and they are unpopular, it’s worth actually just exploring them as a thought experiment. Because that’s how we cultivate nuance and we become more attuned, if you like, to complexity. So I think that that’s something that we need, very vigorously, to preserve within the academic enterprise. But, I think the general perspective of young people and their futures seems to be pretty universal. This idea of, what does one do? Also, there’s a pretty significant desire to make a difference. And sustainability, as I said, and the environment, features very highly in their thinking. It’s interesting when you do projects in a class, or, and if it’s an FMCG, say for a food based company, the first move is to make the food plant based. And that’s kind of interesting, and admirable.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  31:52  

Well, I’m definitely encouraged by the fact that you say that the young people do want to make a difference. Because sometimes I ask myself, are we open enough to reflect on the world around us and then have self-reflection, as well. So that’s very encouraging, encouraging to hear. So, Peter, as a teacher at the end of the day, like, you put so much time and effort in working with your students. What, what drives you as an educator? Why do you love doing what you do here?

Peter Rajsingh  32:20  

Oh, in the educational domain, it’s just simply because in the course of teaching, and learning actually, it keeps one fresh. So just to give a concrete illustration through a particular seminar I’m doing, which I give at NYU, I came across a very interesting idea related to the times we’re in. And it comes from a person in VC called Peter Reinhardt. And the students exposed me to it. It’s living above the API. API stands for Application Programming Interface. So, so much of our world is now related to technology. And we interact with the UI, the user interface, but behind the UI is the API. And the API is directing choices. So someone like an Uber driver lives below the API, because basically the API decides who you pick up, what route you take, how much you make, etc. So this idea of living above the API is, how can we not be just simply directed in all our choices, app purchases, the route we take when we open our phone, and the GPS is saying, go this way. But ultimately, computers are directing all of our behavior, which is a natural encroachment upon freedom and agency. So it’s things like this that motivate why one should be learning, and being around young people is such a pleasure because they’re keeping you fresh and current and keeping your brain alive as it were. 

Robin van Puyenbroeck  33:56  

It’s keeping your brain alive. That is, that’s a good one. So, yeah, no, and it’s so true. Is it also what keeps the brain alive, right? It’s traveling, and I know you’re such an avid traveler and live in so many places around the world. And I’m always curious, sort of, and I know it’s, it’s a kind of question like, what’s your favorite place, but it’s more I’m intrigued why you would pick a certain place as a place you’d really want to be, that intrigues you?

Peter Rajsingh  34:21  

That’s interesting. Yeah. I mean, pretty much most places have intriguing things about them. Yeah, I mean, picking places, you know, it’s interesting. So I had this lifestyle growing up of bouncing around from different countries. So it’s pretty much something I’m used to, from being young. But beyond that, the general quality of life in places, I think, for me, at least is tied to the extent to which one can be connected to nature, food, cultural activities. Also, increasingly, weather seems to feature and it’s nice to go and have selective experiences of winter, but slogging through dark days with snow and ice isn’t something I now relish in midlife, if you’d like.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  35:11  

So you’re saying you’re missing the snowy, New York days?

Peter Rajsingh  35:15  

Oh yeah! And yeah, Boston. Yeah. 

Robin van Puyenbroeck  35:21  

Well, good. Well, Peter, just a last question. And it’s, it’s a very open question. So what can you share with us that you sort of never shared before?

Peter Rajsingh  35:31  

Well, if I shared such a thing, I’d have to kill you. No, so…

Robin van Puyenbroeck  35:35  

It’s good, so good we’re doing this remotely.

Peter Rajsingh  35:39  

Yeah. I mean, basically, something that just came to mind. And actually, you will appreciate it, since  both of us have had occasion to work in different domains. You’ve had a successful career in financial services also. And it’s interesting, something that fascinates me, is just how there are certain people in the work environment who are psychopaths or sociopaths. And they get away with it. So, you know, right now, there’s a big flap in the United States about a well-known producer on Broadway and in film, and he’s won Emmys, Tony’s, Oscars, etc. And it was well known that he treated everyone very poorly, threw a hot potato at someone’s head, etc. and now it’s all coming to light. And I’ve known a lot of people who have worked for him, and had just horror stories. So, you know, I think it’s really fascinating to try to figure out and understand, like, how, what makes these people tick? How do they exist? How are they allowed to get away with what they do for so long? And finally, is it the culture of work that turns them into these monstrous characters? Or did they come into the workplace with some propensity to be like this, and then just the environment, rather than constraining and refining behavior, did the reverse? It’s just a fascinating question that continues to engage me because just when you think you’ve cracked it, and there’s another example that pops up, that says, “Well, how can this be allowed to have happened and gone on so long?” And you know, we, personally, both of us, have encountered this in our lives as well.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  37:29  

That’s very interesting. I really appreciate you sharing that. And this whole notion, by the way, of the culture of work would give us food for another, at least half hour conversation. So really, Peter, thank you so much for your time, for your being generous, and for joining the show. And I really look forward to continuing our conversation. So thank you very much.

Peter Rajsingh  37:48  

Oh, you’re very welcome. Thank you for all the interesting questions and for the chance to think about these big questions that we need to try to wrap our heads around.

Robin van Puyenbroeck  37:58  

Thank you, Peter. If you have any ideas for future episodes, know someone who would be an inspiring guest, or just want to stay apprised of our show, please make sure to connect with our team via email at Be sure to head over to and subscribe to the show. We will see you soon.