Radical Visions of Future Government
Is government fit for purpose? Evaporating public trust in democracy and political institutions, a broken social contract, lack of money and stale ideas mean it feels increasingly difficult to answer that question in the affirmative. It is this fear – that government and our public services are no longer up to the job – that inspired us to launch an open call, seeking radical visions of future government.
We wanted a serious rethink about what government is, what it should do, and how it should work. Radical Visions of Future Government is the culmination of that work, presenting 17 visions of the future of government. The collection features essays, provocations, thought experiments, fiction, speculative design and original art, with each one asking the reader to consider the implications of an idea about something fundamentally different in the future.
While written from a British context, combinations of these issues have a resonance in governments around the world. We chose the year 2030 as the setting for these visions: near enough to be imaginable, far enough away for radical change to actually be contemplated.
The collection is not intended to set out exclusively desirable or optimistic futures, but instead to stimulate thinking about a spectrum of possibilities. As one essay in the collection argues, it is better to think about the future than not; that in itself is democratising. It would be very surprising if a reader agreed with all of them. Nor are any of them a reflection of a Nesta view. But we think they are useful energisers, and we hope that any reader will come away with a sharpened sense of what might be possible and where we should set our sights for 2030.
The contributions come from a range of voices - researchers, artists, designers, academics, writers and public servants - each with a different perspective on what needs to change about government.