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Former Economist editor-in-chief Bill Emmott says the liberal democracies of the West are in decline and explains how they must change in order to recover and thrive. Emmott says states are reacting to global insecurity and economic uncertainty by closing borders, hoarding wealth and solidifying power. Examples are seen across the western world including this year in the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump. Emmott argues that insularity and inequality of wealth distribution are a threat to western democracies and that the West needs to be porous, open and flexible to survive. The power of special interest groups, such as bankers, needs to be swept aside, he says. Emmott was editor-in-chief of the Economist between 1993 and 2006. His books include 20:21 Vision: 20th-Century lessons for the 21st Century and Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan will Shape our Next Decade. Here he talks to FT business editor and associate editor Sarah Gordon.
Our systems are failing. Old models - for education, healthcare, government, food production, energy supply - are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world's population heads towards 10 billion, it is clear we need new approaches. From Brazilian favelas and rural India to one of the toughest housing estates in Britain, acclaimed writer and futurist Mark Stevenson set out to find remarkable innovators who are pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable and democratise access to resources and knowledge. He explains how patients are helping each other find the best treatments by using the medical equivalent of a dating website; how rural farmers are exceeding the yields of the Green Revolution with techniques inspired by a Jesuit priest; how a community has made itself completely independent from the big energy suppliers by turning bark that used to just rot on the forest floor into electricity; and how urban farming and a community-run food system has turned a city on the brink of collapse into a food capital. He paints an enthralling picture of what can be done to address the world's most pressing dilemmas and offers a much-needed dose of down-to-earth optimism.
The West has long been a font of stability and prosperity, but global instability and economic uncertainty has tempted states to close borders, hoard wealth, and solidify power. What changes should the West make, be it reinventing welfare systems or redefining the working age, to revive itself now and thrive in a bright future. Two leading commentators explore the implications of Brexit and the withdrawal from globalisation in a fascinating conversation. Bill Emmott is the former editor-in-chief of the Economist, author of The Fate of The West and leading consultant on international affairs. Robert Tombs is Professor of History at Cambridge University. He is author of That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present, and The English and Their History. He is one of the leading scholars of Anglo-French relations.

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