POSTED: January 27, 2018
Nature of Prosperity | Philosophy
Image by Linda Geßner/, derivative of a drawing by William Morris, © courtesy of William Morris Society

Nature of Prosperity: Ethics and Utopias

Nature of Prosperity Dialogue with Rowan Williams, Uffe Elbæk, Ruth Levitas, Roger Scruton, John O’Neill, Melissa Lane and Ingrid Robeyns
Friday, 16 February 2018, 1-6pm

CUSP and the William Morris Society hosting a joint symposium on the Nature of Prosperity. The event offered an afternoon of philosophical conversations on the themes of ethics and Utopian thinking, and how they can inform concepts of sustainable prosperity. +++ The video recordings from the day are available below and on our Youtube Channel.+++

Principles for the Good Life

Uffe Elbæk, Melissa Lane, Ingrid Robeyns and Will Davies

1 / 3

Spaces for Change

Ruth Levitas, John O’Neill, Roger Scruton and Tim Jackson

2 / 3

Ethics and Utopias

Rowan Williams

3 / 3

. . .

Sustainable prosperity cannot be conceived or achieved purely via technocratic governance or a tweaking of economic policy. It involves a more wholesale rethinking of the nature of value, human flourishing and our conception of the future. This requires us to explore the philosophical and moral underpinnings of prosperity and how we might develop greater ethical commitment to future generations, to the natural environment and each other.

As part of its enquiry into the meaning of sustainable prosperity, CUSP has commissioned a series of essays from leading thinkers on these questions. This event brought five of these authors together and, along with members of the CUSP team, invited them to explore the moral dimensions of sustainable prosperity along different philosophical axes.

Speakers of the day were Prof Ruth LevitasProf Melissa Lane, Sir Roger ScrutonProf John O’Neill and Prof Ingrid Robeyns. Uffe Elbæk, founder of the Alternativet party in Denmark, was joining us as well. The event featured a keynote address by Lord Rowan Williams on the enduring relevance of William Morris for contemporary thinking on Utopias and the ethics required for a sustainable economy and society.

CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 :: Linda Geßner /


13.00 | Refreshments and Registration
13:30 | Welcome and Introduction
13:40 | First Session: Principles for the Good Life: Uffe Elbæk, Melissa Lane and Ingrid Robeyns (Chair: Will Davies—Co-Investigator, CUSP)
15:00 | Coffee Break
15:30 | Second Session: Spaces for Change: Ruth Levitas, John O’Neill and Roger Scruton (Chair: Tim Jackson—Director, CUSP)
16:50 | Keynote: Rowan Williams (Introduction: Martin Stott—Chair, William Morris Society)
17.45 | Drinks & Canapés

The Nature of Prosperity is a series of public debates (hosted by CUSP) engaging young and old alike across business, policy and civil society in one of the most vital questions of our time: what does prosperity mean in a world of environmental and social limits?

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