Sunday, 19 May 2024
WorldJonathan White, political scientist: “The greatest threat to democracy is the absence...

Jonathan White, political scientist: “The greatest threat to democracy is the absence of a future”

One of the greatest victories of the system is that the slogan ‘there is no alternative’, coined by Margaret Thatcher, has become dogma. However, as the historian Johann Chapoutot writes, “all of History revolts against this idea: there is always room for maneuver, for play and for that quotient of freedom that allows us to choose.” Likewise, Jonathan White, professor at the London School of Economics, explains that “one of the main legacies of the revolutions of the 18th century was to concretely illustrate that the future is open, connecting dreams of change with practical facts.”

White, recognized by his peers as one of the great theorists of political science, has just published ‘In the long run: The Future as a Political Idea’ (Profile Books, 2024), a fascinating book about the importance of the future in the political imagination, from the Enlightenment to the present day. It highlights how, despite the serious threats that loom over humanity, such as the climate crisis, economic inequalities or artificial intelligence, it is essential to maintain the vision of long-term progress, without falling into fatalism. Otherwise, we will end up succumbing to a self-fulfilling prophecy: the end of democracy.

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