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Since its origins, democracy has been a work in progress. Today, many question its resilience. How to Fix Democracy, a collaboration of the Bertelsmann Foundation and Humanity in Action, explores practical solutions for how to address the increasing threats democracy faces. Host Andrew Keen interviews prominent international thinkers and practitioners of democracy. Their conversations are designed to provoke discussion and curiosity about the state and future of democracy across the globe.
 
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show series
 
A political wilderness? | DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren is a Humanity in Action Landecker Fellow and part of the Catawba Indian Nation. He talks with host Andrew Keen about Catawba Nation views of property, democracy, and the environment in the search for an indigenous view of the meaning of citizenship. Just as arriving Europeans falsely viewed th…
 
Wietse Van Ransbeeck is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Citizen Lab, a Brussels-based company that works with governments to enable public participation in decision-making. With host Andrew Keen, Van Ransbeeck discusses his goals to make citizenship easier by using new technology to help local democracy be more participatory. In many past How to Fix …
 
What is global citizenship? | Nanjala Nyabola is a writer, political analyst, and activist based in Nairobi, Kenya. In this interview, she talks with host Andrew Keen about the meaning of citizenship especially in relation to global citizenship. If citizenship is related to rights and freedoms in a country, she says, global citizenship means enjoyi…
 
Devil’s curse of migration | Abdul-Rehman Malik is a journalist, community organizer, and Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Yale Divinity School. Malik and host Andrew Keen address the contradictions of belonging and inclusion. Migrants, they discuss, face these contradictions constantly, seeking belonging in their new h…
 
Democracy, citizenship, and dystopian fiction | Margaret Atwood is an award-winning author, who has written numerous best-sellers including the 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. In this episode, she discusses with Andrew Keen her impressions of citizenship and the importance of fiction writers in a democracy. Dystopias, Atwood says, show us the futur…
 
Can America lead again? | Tom Malinowski is the U.S. representative for New Jersey's 7th congressional district and was formerly the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the Obama administration. He and host Andrew Keen discuss the stature of American democracy today in light of the Biden administration’s proposed …
 
Active, equal, and collective | Richard Bellamy is Professor of Political Science at University College London and the author of Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction. For him, being a citizen today is being an “active and equal participant in sustaining cooperative and collective goods in your political community.” However, the current idea of ci…
 
Citizenship and belonging | Adrienne Clarkson is the co-founder of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and the former Governor General of Canada. Madame Clarkson tells host Andrew Keen her story of coming to Canada, learning what it was to be Canadian, and her journey to becoming Governor General of the country. Along the way, she formed importa…
 
The contradictions of human nature | Adam Hochschild is an award-winning author, historian, and journalist. In this interview, hosted by Andrew Keen, he discusses the contradictions within the history of democracy in Europe and America. Hochschild points out that capability of democracies to wage war, torture, and enslave people abroad, while aspir…
 
Human capital-ism | Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School. In this interview with Andrew Keen, he explains how the accumulation of human capital--the skills and education that enable advanced economies--has been captured by the elites. But, he argues, because these skilled workers in fields like law and finance are…
 
Laboratories of democracy | Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of New America, a think tank in Washington, DC. In this interview, she discusses with host Andrew Keen possible structural changes to American democracy, including adopting ranked-choice voting and re-thinking campaign finance. She argues that capitalism--it’s ethos and influence--has infe…
 
Mark Blyth is William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics at Brown University. In this interview, he discusses how our economics are rife with anger and frustration. Blyth’s “angry-nomics” emerged from financial crises and a decline in social institutions, like unions, that give people feelings of stability and control. In this frank dis…
 
Listening to others | Arlie Hochschild is Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her recent work deals with the rise of the American far-right. Her book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, was built on interviews with Tea Party supporters in Louisiana. For Hochschild, it is impo…
 
Winner take all | Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management Emeritus at Cornell University’s SC Johnson Graduate School of Management. What does a winner take all ethos in capitalism mean for democracy? Robert Frank discusses with Andrew Keen what the concentration of wealth amongst the best of the best and the sinking …
 
Four horsemen of leveling | Walter Scheidel is the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and the Catherine R. Kennedy and Daniel L. Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford University. Scheidel specializes in the history of economic inequality, and his book The Great Leveler examines what forces have reduced e…
 
This is when you want deficits | Maya MacGuineas is the president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and an expert on budget, tax, and economic policy. In this interview, hosted by Andrew Keen, they discuss the economic threats to democracy in America, in particular the loss of trust in our institutions and in the very sys…
 
Describing the deficit | Stephanie Kelton is a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Stony Brook University focusing on monetary policy and public finance. In this interview, she explains modern monetary theory (MMT) and clarifies some of the myths surrounding spending deficits, especially concerning the U.S. federal government’s massive debt…
 
Us later, not me now | Rebecca Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University Business School. In this interview, hosted by Andrew Keen, she explains how she has been re-imagining capitalism. Free markets, Professor Henderson argues, need to be balanced with free politics, mirroring what many others in How to Fi…
 
Redistribute productivity | Sir Paul Collier is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford University. In this interview, hosted by Andrew Keen, Sir Paul Collier explains why he thinks the biggest problem of capitalism in the last two centuries in the US an…
 
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. In this interview, host Andrew Keen and Professor Wolff discuss the definition of capitalism from the Marxist perspective. When the system of…
 
Helen Thompson, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge, talks with host Andrew Keen about the impact capitalism has on the health of democracy. Both are powerful forces, she says, and are closely linked to such an extent that a crisis in one seemingly always leads to a crisis in the other. Historically it was naïve, she argue…
 
Amity Shlaes is a best-selling author, Chair of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, and Presidential Scholar at The King’s College in New York City. Her most recent book Great Society: A New History, presents a critical view of President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign to expand the social safety net and reduce poverty in the United States in th…
 
In this episode, host Andrew Keen sits down with distinguished economist, Sir Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs, Emeritus, Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Emeritus, and Senior Scholar at Princeton University. Sir Angus Deaton, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2015 for his anal…
 
Raghuram Rajan is the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Previously, he was the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the Chief Economist at the IMF. In this interview, hosted by Andrew Keen, Rajan calls capitalism today an uneven playing field that doesn…
 
Considered one of the world’s leading experts on democracy, Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, believes democracy worldwide is in a recession. The crisis is “bad, deepening, accelerating,” but he suggests several steps we can take to reverse the trend, such as ranked choice voting to tackle the two-party syste…
 
Annika Savill, Executive Head of the UN Democracy Fund admits that the word “democracy” doesn’t appear anywhere in the UN charter, but finds it exists in the demands of people everywhere who are working to hold their governments accountable. She tells Andrew Keen that, as a former journalist, she is passionate about facts and worried about clickbai…
 
Prior to the 2016 election, Richard Stengel, former managing editor of Time magazine, witnessed the rise of disinformation firsthand from his position as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. He believes that consuming media with caution could be a powerful antidote to efforts to deceive us, and is skeptical that governm…
 
Leon Botstein, music director and conductor, scholar, and president of Bard College in upstate New York, had once thought that the Berlin Wall would never come down. And he found the revolutions surrounding 1989 “frightening” because they could lead to the ascent of unregulated capitalism and the release of suppressed nationalism. Botstein explains…
 
Consumer advocate, lawyer, and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader believes that democracy is about civic organization, not just public opinion. In his assessment, the American people have lost perspective and ceded control of politics to “big money.” But they should understand that there is broad popular support for many of the things t…
 
Canadian political philosopher and writer John Ralston Saul discusses how the crisis in democracy today is self-inflicted and intentional. The people, he says, have given up holding power themselves, accepting instead to gain influence over power. In pursuing good causes they have turned over the levers of power to business and the higher echelons …
 
Carl Gershman, founding president of the National Endowment for Democracy, recalls how the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States marked a turning point, derailing the idea that democracy would simply continue its forward march in history. His hope, however, is that democracy’s current regression spurs people around the world to defend it …
 
Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Constanze Stelzenmüller discusses how domestic problems have led to disruptions in foreign policy—turning partners into rivals. At home, many democracies are struggling with balance: between national security and privacy, the political center and the peripheries, or direct and representative democracy. Stelzenmül…
 
Rappler CEO and co-founder Maria Ressa got her start as a journalist in the Philippines in the 1980s and has seen the pendulum of democracy swing in both directions since. In her interview with Andrew Keen, Ressa—who was among the journalists named Person of the Year by Time Magazine in 2018—dives into the way that “lies laced with anger” have spre…
 
Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has been immersed in U.S. politics since the late 1960s and has watched the evolution of the Republican Party with concern. Ornstein no longer views the GOP as conservative, he tells Andrew Keen, but as radical, leaving behind its ideology for a theology. And though he cannot p…
 
For Cornell William Brooks, former president of the NAACP and current professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, democracy is not an ethereal concept from Greece; it is about his family lineage. For centuries, the story of democracy in the United States has been about an expanding definition of citizenship and what an American looks like.…
 
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