Values Exchange

BBC Analysis: Thinking for the Long Term

7 Jul 2020
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BBC Analysis: Thinking for the Long Term

Released On: 06 Jul 2020

Available for over a year

'The origin of civil government,' wrote the Scottish philosopher David Hume in 1739, is that 'men are not able radically to cure, either in themselves or others, that narrowness of soul, which makes them prefer the present to the remote.'

Today, Hume's view that governments can help societies abandon rampant short-termism and adopt a more long term approach, feels little more than wishful thinking. The 'now' commands more and more of our attention - quick fixes are the order of the day. But could that be about to change?

Margaret Heffernan asks whether the current pandemic might be the moment we are forced to rediscover our ability to think long term. Could our ability to emerge well from the current health crisis be dependent, in fact, on our ability to improve our long-term thinking?

Among those taking part: Paul Polman (Co-founder of Imagine and former CEO of Unilever), General Sir Nick Carter (Chief of the Defence Staff), Justine Greening (former Conservative minister and founder of the Social Mobility Pledge), Lord Gus O'Donnell (former head of the Civil Service), Chris Llewellyn Smith (former Director General of CERN), and Sophie Howe (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales). Producer: Adele Armstrong Editor: Jasper Corbett




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