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Now for the long term: the report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations

1 Oct 2013

This report is the product of a year long process of research and debate undertaken by a group of eminent leaders on the successes and failures in addressing global challenges over recent decades.

As the world slowly emerges from the devastating Financial Crisis, it is time to reflect on the lessons of this turbulent period and think afresh about how to prevent future crises.

The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations focuses on the increasing short-termism of modern politics and our collective inability to break the gridlock which undermines attempts to address the biggest challenges that will shape our future. In Now for the Long Term, they urge decision-makers to overcome their pressing daily preoccupations to tackle problems that will determine the lives of today’s and tomorrow’s generations. Dr James Martin, the founder of the Oxford Martin School, highlights that humanity is at a crossroads. This could be our best century ever, or our worst. The outcome will depend on our ability to understand and harness the extraordinary opportunities as well as manage the unprecedented uncertainties and risks.


The report identifies what these challenges are, explains how progress can be made, and provides practical recommendations. The Commission outlines an agenda for the long term. The case for action is built in three parts. The first, Possible Futures , identifies the key drivers of change and considers how we may address the challenges that will dominate this

century. Next, in Responsible Futures, the Commission draws inspiration from previous examples of where impediments to action have been overcome, and lessons from where progress has been stalled. We then consider the characteristics of our current national and global society that frustrate progress. The final part, Practical Futures, sets out the principles for action and offers illustrative recommendations which show how we can build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future for all.


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