The Future of Democracy. Altius Conference: Oxford 2014


I work in a family company involved in urban infrastructure.  I’m no political science student and, up until relatively recently, have had no real interest in politics. My main interaction with politicians was through the regular rounds of party political campaign lunches and dinners. I was a regular invitee, as a businessman/potential donor.

I found that much of what was being said at these lunches and dinners sounded much the same. The politicians aimed to impress their audience with their credentials as good economic and political managers.

To be fair, for the most part, the politicians were well meaning, but they struck me more as Salesman than Statesman. Their standard rebuff to my cynicism was as per Churchill’s:    ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all those that have been tried before’. 

Download the full speech by Luca Belgiorno-Nettis (Friday 29 August 2014) 


About the Altius Conference.

In the summer of 2014, the Altius Annual Conference will take place at Oxford. The conference is born as a venue for the discussion of important topics in the fields of Philosophy, the Social Sciences, and Science and Technology. This meeting aims to enable discussions in all of those fields and deep reflection about their future in the next 20 to 50 years: What are the crucial changes taking place in these disciplines? Where are we headed in the next 25 years? What conclusions should we draw from this change and its impact in the evolving dynamics of human activity?

The conference will have three conceptual threads that will connect all panels. These are: the impact of technological advancement on the various disciplines studied, changing paradigms when addressing the challenges of the future, and the effect of the exponential growth of information and networks in the world. We will move from more abstract or conceptual fields like Philosophy, to those spearheading change like the Applied Sciences, including the perspective of practitioners and entrepreneurs. The overall aim of the conference is to analyze key trends in social development and their impact on human affairs.


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