In a time of uncertainty, Rethink offers a guide to a much-needed global 'reset moment', with leading international figures giving us glimpses of a better future post-pandemic. Each contribution explores a different aspect of public and private life that can be re-examined. Collectively, they offer a roadmap for positive change after a year of hardship. Broadcaster Amol Rajan is joined by Prof. Jude Browne, Director of the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies, who will be Rethinking Responsibility.
The inconvenient truth is that we are causing the climate crisis with our carbon intensive lifestyles and fixing it will affect all of us. But it can be done.
The economist addresses the actions we all need to take: personal, local, national and global. Reducing our own carbon footprint is the first step. We, the ultimate polluters, must pay a carbon price that applies to everything and everywhere, from the flights we take to the food we eat and the land we farm. And we need to embrace sustainable economic growth without harming other aspects of the environment. We must find a solution, because everything is at stake.
Dieter Helm is Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. He is in conversation with Carys Roberts, Chief Executive of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
Why is it that often the things we value most, from frontline nurses to the natural world, to caring for children, seem unimportant to economic markets? During his time as a G7 central banker and seven years as Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney witnessed the collapse of public trust in élites, globalisation, and technology, the challenges of the fourth Industrial Revolution and the growing climate emergency. Dharshini David, economist and broadcaster, examines how economic value and social values became blurred, and how to rethink and rebuild before it’s too late.
When Pete’s parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 1960s, hoping for a better life, they had no money and only a little English. They opened a fish-and-chip shop called The Great Western Fish Bar. That's where Pete learned about coin-operated machines, male banter and Britishness. Shy and introverted, he stopped speaking from age 4 to 7, and found refuge in songs from Top of the Pops and Dial-a-Disc. As time passed, he was horrified by his guilty secret: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British, sparked by Don’t go Breaking my Heart, Going Underground, Come On Eileen and every other chart hit blaring out of the chip-shop radio.
In a one-off musical event, Cardiff virtuoso guitarist and singer-songwriter Gareth Bonello, best known as The Gentle Good, will join Pete as the (Broken) Greek chorus, performing interpretations of songs that feature in Broken Greek, and will enact key scenes as Pete reads an extract from the book.
Iceland Foods is a £3bn business that is affecting real change in the supermarket. From restricting single-use plastic to eradicating palm oil from products, MD Walker's aim is to find purpose with profit for his business. He explains how we can all make genuine progress on sustainable initiatives while being realistic about profit margins, and our obligations to customers and employees.
Canadian journalist MacKinnon asks, what would really happen if we simply stopped shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption without triggering economic collapse? This question took him around the world, seeking answers from America’s big-box stores, the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia, and communities in Ecuador that consume at a sustainable level. When Covid brought shopping to a halt, his ideas were tested in real time. Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves. And along the way, we have so much to gain.
Lucy Siegle is an author, broadcaster and writer on environmental issues.
For hundreds of years, we have lived as if the Earth were infinite. We exploited new frontiers, exhausted their resources, then moved on. It's a pattern repeated in forestry, fisheries, mining and agriculture. Now we are transferring this destructive approach to technology, imagining there is an infinite capacity for renewable materials. Bioethanol and biodiesel can replace the transport fuels we use. Biokerosene can take the guilt out of flying. Heating oil and coal can be replaced with wood. But by doing this, food and fuel and industrial materials are in competition with each other. In reality, there is no substitute for consuming less and living within this planet's means. What are the ethical and economic shifts required to accept the finite nature of our world?
George Monbiot is an author, journalist and environmental activist. He is in conversation with the co-director of Green New Deal UK and Winner of the Global Citizen Prize UK’s Hero Award, 2020.
The Trump Presidency, responses to Covid-19, and rising tensions around China suggest a global order in flux, pitting rule of law systems increasingly at odds with a new globalised authoritarianism and posing important questions for Britain and the EU. Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Peter Ricketts (Hard Choices), and Matthew d'Ancona (Identity, Ignorance, Innovation) debate the future of international diplomacy and the factors most likely to tip the balance.
Through economics, our politicians have the power to transform people's lives for better or worse. Deng Xiaoping lifted millions out of poverty by opening up China, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal helped the USA break free from the Great Depression, and Peron and his successors in Argentina brought the country to the brink of ruin. The economist and politician examines the legacy of 16 world leaders who transformed their countries' economic fortunes, and also challenged convention. From Thatcher to Trump, Lenin to Bismarck, this book offers a new perspective on the science of government over the past 300 years. He talks to Grace Blakeley, political and economic commentator and author of The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic will Change Capitalism.
Part of the Festival’s PM300 series marking 300 years since the UK’s first Prime Minister with conversations on leadership and the future of democracy.
“Covid-19 has revealed glaring failures and monstrous brutalities in the current capitalist system. It represents both a crisis and an opportunity. Everything depends on the actions that people take into their own hands.”
How does politics shape our world, our lives and our perceptions? How much of 'common sense' is actually driven by the ruling classes' needs and interests? And how are we to challenge the capitalist structures that now threaten all life on the planet? Consequences of Capitalism exposes the deep, often unseen connections between neoliberal 'common sense' and structural power. In making these linkages, we see how the current hegemony keeps social justice movements divided and marginalized. And, most importantly, we see how we can fight to overcome these divisions.
Think of any problem that we face and you may be surprised to learn that there is already a solution out there. We just need to know where to look – and have the courage to think big. Everywhere, people are devising ingenious ways to tackle everything from inequality and the climate crisis to the challenges of housing, technology and demographic change. Based on his podcast Reasons to Be Cheerful, Ed Miliband investigates transformative schemes and why they work. He demonstrates that a different world is possible and we can get there by implementing the best, most ambitious solutions on a large scale. The opportunity for change is immense. It’s time to Go Big. Natalie Haynes is an author and broadcaster.
Everything changed in spring 2020, when life around the world retreated behind closed doors and gender inequalities and systemic racism were brought to new and shocking prominence. Women of all backgrounds and experiences were disproportionately affected by the crisis. Essential debate and action was, for a time, silenced. Then we re-emerged in protest and started to rethink our fight for equality. So, what happens now? This book is a unique collection of essays, interviews, and fiction by feminist writers.
In End State: 9 Ways in Which Society is Broken and how we fix it, James Plunkett argues that this can be a moment not of despair, but of historic opportunity – a chance to rethink, renew, and reform some of the most fundamental ways we organise society.
Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, is joined by comedian Francesca Martinez, activist and author Gina Miller, and James Plunkett, Executive Director of Citizens Advice.
Women make up less than 10 per cent of national leaders, and behind this lies a pattern of unequal access to power. This book, by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, explores gender bias and is a powerful call to arms for driven women everywhere.
Julia Gillard was the first woman to serve as prime minister of Australia and received worldwide attention for her October 2012 speech in Parliament on the treatment of women in professional and public life. She is Chair of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College, London and Chair of the Wellcome Institute.
Mary Ann Sieghart is author of The Authority Gap, revealing the scale of the gap that still persists between men and women, a fresh feminist take on how to address and counteract systemic sexism in ways that benefit all of society.
The end of our high-growth world was underway well before Covid arrived and the relentless pursuit of 'more' has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability – and left us ill prepared for life in a global pandemic. Drawing from global data, Danny Dorling points out that human progress has been slowing down since the early 1970s, revealing the decline in fertility rates, GDP per person, and even the frequency of new social movements have all steadily declined in recent history. Rather than a cause for despair, in Slowdown he argues that this is a moment of promise and a chance of stability.
Tim Jackson’s Post-Growth is a passionate and provocative book daring us to imagine a world beyond capitalism – a place where relationship and meaning take precedence over profits and power. Weaving together philosophical reflection, economic insight and social vision, it is a manifesto for system change and an invitation to rekindle a debate about the human condition.
Danny Dorling holds professorships at Oxford, Goldsmiths London and Bristol.
Tim Jackson is an ecological economist and Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity.
Katherine Trebeck is an advocate for economic system change and author of The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown-Up Economy.
When Covid swept across the globe, the impact was arguably greater than the aftermath of 9/11 or the global financial crisis. But out of catastrophe can come a new way of thinking.Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown offers his solutions to the challenges we face in 2021 and beyond, outlining seven challenges: global health, climate change, nuclear proliferation, global financial instability, the humanitarian crisis and global poverty, the barriers to education and opportunity, and global inequality and global tax havens.None of these can be solved by one nation acting on its own, but all can be addressed if we work together as a global community.
Hugh Muir is Senior Assistant Editor at the Guardian