BBC Reith Lectures 2023 – Our Democratic Future: "The Future of Prosperity"

November 28, 2023, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Historic Academy of Medicine, 875 W Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309

This year's BBC Radio 4 Reith lecturer is Ben Ansell, professor of comparative democratic institutions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. His four lectures, titled "Our Democratic Future," will consider how to build political systems that work for all and are robust enough to face the wide-ranging challenges of the 21st century, from climate change to artificial intelligence. The Reith Lectures build on Professor Ansell's recent book, "Why Politics Fails," which identifies a series of traps that prevent us from attaining our collective goals and presents solutions to help us overcome those traps.

The four lectures in "Our Democratic Future" each focus on a specific goal: democracy, security, solidarity, and prosperity. Each lecture starts by asking where we are now and how we are faring today in achieving these ambitions. Next, each lecture looks at where we are going. What are the likely future challenges that we face? Finally, the lectures end by asking what we can do to accomplish our collective goals.

In this final lecture, recorded at Georgia Tech, called "The Future of Prosperity," Professor Ansell engages with a crucial question: can we continue to grow our economies without despoiling the earth? Focusing on the existential threats created by our own innovation – from climate change to out-of-control artificial intelligence – the lecture asks whether our politics is up to the task of supporting sustainable growth. It concludes by showing that the political lessons of past technological revolutions provide important lessons for today's challenges.

Admission is by invitation only. Numbers are limited, so RSVP to the BBC at

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Ben Ansell, professor of comparative democratic institutions at Nuffield College, Oxford University.

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Brenda Brown