"The origin of civil government," wrote the Scottish philosopher David Hume in 1739, is that "men are not able radically to cure, either in themselves or others, that narrowness of soul, which makes them prefer the present to the remote." Today, Hume's view that governments can help societies abandon rampant short-termism and adopt a more long term approach, feels little more than wishful thinking. The "now" commands more and more of our attention - quick fixes are the order of the day. But could that be about to change? Margaret Heffernan asks whether the current pandemic might be the moment …
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science & medicine,
news & politics,
What should government priorities be now that it has such a dominant role in the economy?
What do we get wrong about self-care?
More time and money is being spent on children than ever before. Why?
Which leaders will emerge stronger from the global pandemic - authoritarians or democrats?
What might the pandemic do for our sense of shared reality?
Can divided societies heal? Lessons from the Dreyfus Affair, which split France in two.
What would be different if 10 Downing Street rather than the Treasury ran economic policy?
Journalist Helen Lewis uncovers the roots of 'woke' culture.
Paul Johnson explores what the world of work tells us about inequality in England.
How the furore over a single arrest demonstrates China's rising power.
Why aren't The Greens more popular?
James Tilley asks to what extent our politics is now steeped in cognitive distortion?
The government spends billions on early years education - but what good is it doing?
Will a combination of data and artificial intelligence transform the future of the NHS?
Are businesses serious about getting woke or is it old capitalism with new lipstick on?
NATO won the first Cold War, but could it lose the second?
How well do our politicians understand British history?
Margaret Heffernan challenges a view that polarisation means we do not change our minds.
Do the EU's state aid rules hold the UK back from having a more active industrial policy?