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  • Cited by 16
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2018
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Book description

At this time when many have lost hope amidst conflicts, terrorism, environmental destruction, economic inequality and the breakdown of democracy, this beautifully written book outlines how to rethink and reform our key institutions - markets, corporations, welfare policies, democratic processes and transnational governance - to create better societies based on core principles of human dignity, sustainability, and justice. This new vision is based on the findings of over 300 social scientists involved in the collaborative, interdisciplinary International Panel on Social Progress. Relying on state-of-the-art scholarship, these social scientists reviewed the desirability and possibility of all relevant forms of long-term social change, explored current challenges, and synthesized their knowledge on the principles, possibilities, and methods for improving the main institutions of modern societies. Their common finding is that a better society is indeed possible, its contours can be broadly described, and all we need is to gather forces toward realizing this vision.


'A Manifesto for Social Progress is a loud cry in favor of human dignity, irrespective of gender, race, religion, education, talent, and productive abilities. No cause is more important than social justice is for a better future of humanity, nor is there a better attempt to tackle the problem head-on than this book.'

Ahmed Galal - Former Minister of Finance, Egypt

'This is a most remarkable and dearly needed book. Its analysis of the current predicament of modern society is as sharp as its vision for overcoming the paradoxes and dilemmas is powerful. It carefully balances the pitfalls, dangers, and opportunities of the current state of global economic and political affairs, and imaginatively opens up routes for a future world which is at once more just, more democratic and more sustainable. A must read!'

Hartmut Rosa - Chair for Sociology and Social Theory, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

'This book lucidly articulates that social progress is not a given. It emerges from the genuine recognition of our limitations, the importance of our instincts for inclusion as citizens, and our audacity to imagine a better future for all. The book also challenges us to integrate participatory processes in our interactions and decisions with a clear vision and a strategy for a desired transformation for the wellbeing of all in a sustainable planet.'

Youba Sokona - IPCC Vice-Chair

'Filled with stimulating intellectual reflections and deep analytical insights, this book offers us a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the manifold, mutually interdependent social processes in an increasingly globalized world. It not only addresses the many Janus faces of the evolution of contemporary societies but also provides us with crucial elements for a vision of our social future in an ‘emancipating state’.'

Wilhelm Krull - Secretary General, Volkswagen Foundation

'Analyses of society have been marked by pessimism and resignation for many years now. This book is refreshingly optimistic, and above all, realistic.'

Maurizio Ferraris - University of Turin

'Is there reasonable hope for a sustainably generalizable and better way of life on earth, despite the mind-boggling challenges human progress has brought upon itself? Yes, there is - rooted in an impressive and unprecedented multidisciplinary enterprise, this little book proves it.'

Philippe Van Parijs - Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics, Université catholique de Louvain

'Better is always possible: this is the vision of the authors of this book, and it is also the vision of our government. The book’s focus on well-being and freedom, fairness, diversity and inclusion, as well as transparency and engagement provides a strong ethical and practical foundation for that vision. I commend the authors for their book’s demonstration of how social science can serve the common good, and how, together, hope and hard work can lead to a better world.'

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos - Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Quebec

'Reading the book feels like finding a large flashlight after endless days of stumbling around in a dark cave.'

Pam Martens and Russ Martens Source: Wall Street on Parade (

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