From the 2023 Reith lecturer
Politics is failing us. This is why.
‘Brilliant . . . a must-read’ Daron Acemoglu, co-author of Why Nations Fail
When it comes to politics, there are five goals that voters generally agree upon. We all want a say in how we’re governed, to be treated equally, a safety net when times are hard, protection from harm and to be richer in the future. So, why does politics not deliver that?
The problem is each of these five goals results in a political trap. For example, we all want a say in how we’re governed, but it’s impossible to have any true ‘will of the people’. And we want to be richer tomorrow, but what makes us richer in the short run makes us poorer over the long haul.
In Why Politics Fails, award-winning Oxford professor Ben Ansell draws on examples from Ancient Greece through Brexit to vividly illustrate how we can escape these traps, overcome self-interest and deliver on our collective goals. Politics seems to be broken, but this book shows how it can work for everyone.
‘A meticulous study of how different societies find it so difficult to achieve widely shared goals’ Financial Times
‘Incisive and gripping’ Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of How Democracies Die
‘Salutary reading for the world we live in now’ James A. Robinson, co-author of Why Nations Fails