This substack, as you can probably guess from the title, is about two things: progress - how we build a better world, one that is more just, inclusive and sustainable; and survival - how we ensure that the civilizational gains of the last few centuries are not reversed. It is a work of philosophy first and foremost. It draws on other disciplines: history, economics, political science, sociology, psychology even evolutionary biology, but as a work of philosophy, it is a speculation on possibilities of collective human existence far into the future, with a built-in bias in favour of less suffering and more people living happier, fulfilled lives.

The pieces here come under three headings: Context, Commentary and Culture.

Under Context you will find mainly long-form pieces looking in depth at how we might identify effective solutions and develop an alternative politics capable of setting humankind firmly on the path to progress. Although these essays can be read in any order, the numbers attached to them reflect an order of sorts, so if you’ve decided to binge read the whole lot, you might want to stick to that order.

Under Commentary you will find pieces responding to current events, along with reviews and critiques of what other thinkers are saying on these issues.

And under Culture I will celebrate some of the things that make life worthwhile, not just as an antidote to the relentless work of finding a way through our current malaise, but also because it is through culture, creativity and the arts that we humans are able to transcend the daily grind of securing our material needs and maximise our enjoyment of life.

Why pledge?

Everything here is free to read while I (hopefully) build a following of committed readers. But a financial pledge of support in advance of me turning on paid subscriptions would do wonders for my motivation. And it won’t cost you a penny until the site does go paid, which I’m currently thinking might be around the 500 subscribers mark.

If you’re not able to pledge, then please do sign up. You won’t have to worry about missing anything, and again, it’ll spur me on to write more.

Join the crew

It goes without saying: the only way to spread the word about this (for me) crucial project, is for you to pass it on to everyone you know who you think might be interested, and frankly, anyone who might not.

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Essays and commentary on the prospects for creating an effective progressive politics to counter the rise in authoritarian nationalism, end the culture wars, reduce inequality and protect the planet for future generations. And sometimes a bit of culture.


Mark Braund

Part-time writer transitioning to full-time. Author of The Possibility of Progress. Concerned about the future prospects for humankind. Old writing at The Guardian. New writing here.