While there is such a thing as society, it doesn’t happen by accident. Increasingly, the state needs to take a leading role in building and shaping it – we need a “gravitational state” that pulls people together into a society. This paper from Polly Mackenzie is the last in a series called Making Democracy Work.

In the first paper of the series, Polly made the case that the success of a democracy is contingent on “society”. And that a strong society is founded on trust and relationships between citizens, and between citizens and the state. In the second paper she looked at a dozen different trends that are fragmenting society into atomised individuals and opposing tribes, and made the case that it is the state’s job to address this. In the third paper, Polly looked at the way we make policy, and argued that it is doing the exact opposite: dividing and patronising citizens.

We need to usher in a new era of collaborative democracy, in which our problems are solved in ways that develop citizens’ and society’s ability to handle them. In this final paper, Polly sets out an alternative approach to government and policy making that can rebuild society, empower citizens, and unite a demos to tackle collectively the vast challenges our century presents.

Read the paper here.