Geoff Mulgan – England

Linked with Demos, with Background-Report on Cities in Transition, and with Geoff Mulgan’s Spring Conference 2006.

He says: ” … I want to focus this evening on the other face of the state: the idea of the state as servant, an idea associated with duty, care and guardianship; and with power as a gift, to be reciprocated and shared through service. If you examine the historical evidence this other face turns out to be almost as ubiquitous as that of the commanding master. As Weber pointed out most states aspire to legitimacy as the precondition for survival and loyalty. I want to argue that looking back at the evidence, states claims to legitimacy have followed a remarkably consistent pattern broadly fitting into a fourfold architecture of ethical claims and duties”. (LSE Lecture).

Geoff Mulgan - England one.jpg
Geoff Mulgan – England

founder and director of the think-tank Demos, became director of the Young Foundation in September 2004. Between 1997 and 2004 he had various roles in government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office. He has been a reporter for BBC TV and radio and a columnist for national newspapers including the Guardian and Independent.

His books include Connexity (Harvard Business Press and Jonathon Cape, 1998), Politics in an Antipolitical Age (Polity, 1994), Life After Politics (Harper Collins, 1997) and, in 2006, Good and Bad Power and The Art of Public Strategy. (See on Festival of Ideas 2006).

Read his lecture on Time Politics at CUSP.

He says also: THIS WORLD WHICH we have created poses a new dilemma for us. For the interweaving of connections has coincided with the rise of a culture in which individual freedom is valued above all else. All around the world battles have been fought, and usually won, to guarantee freedom of association, belief and expression, and freedom to trade. It is not just in consumer capitalism that the right to choose is treated almost as a sacred principle. Within much of the Green movement and the New Age religions individual expressive freedom is a paramount value. Coming after centuries and millennia when most people were held down by oppressive hierarchies, it is not surprising that freedom is valued so highly. But we now confront a difficult question: whether the achievement of new freedoms is really compatible with the growth of interdependence, or whether a world which devotes its energy to the pursuit of individual desires must be condemned to the destruction or neglect of the shared environment on which its well-being really depends. (Read all on Resurgence).

Read: Lessons of power, on Prospect, May 2005.

Geoff Mulgan sees two ways in which organisational principles borrowed from the world of open source can make the political process more accountable. One is in turning democracy back into a conversation, the other in allowing the people to scrutinise public services. But, he warns, there still needs to be a recognisable place where the buck stops. Becky Hogge spoke to him. (Read the interview on Open Democracy).

Transcription of May 4, 2004 LSE public lecture about his latest book.

Transcripts of more LSE public lectures at LSE.

He is Visiting Professor at University College, London, London School of Economics and University of Melbourne. Previously he was:
Director of Policy at 10 Downing Street under Tony Blair,
Director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (formerly known as the Performance and Innovation Unit),
Co-founder and Director of the London based think tank Demos (from 1993-98),
Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP, now UK Chancellor of the Exchequer,
Lecturer and consultant on telecommunications based at the University of Westminster and MIT, part of the Comedia group.
working on cultural and arts policies and occasional writer for Marxism Today. (wikipedia).

All 11 Books by Geoff Mulgan on amazon.

Review: Good and Bad Power: the ideals and betrayals of government (Penguin 2006), his latest book about the question: How can we make the governments on which we depend for our welfare and survival behave like servants rather than masters? … There is a growing trend of anti-politics, manifest in falling turnouts and party membership, and an assumption that politicians represent the worst venality rather than the highest ideals. Something has gone badly wrong in our relationship with power. This book explains why we have arrived at this point, what can be done to change the world, and see the power of governments used for good. (Read more on westminsterbookshop).

Videos: Closing address at CERIUM: what next for Labour?
For listening for 24 Minutes to the questions you go to CERIUM, scroll down and click on the link.


How social change happens;

The YOUNG Foundation;

Articles written by Geoff Mulgan on Prospect;

Listen to his 4 audios on this BBC-link (Nov 05). .

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