At our annual awards, held on 10th July, the big brains were focused on the dangers of divisionby Prospect Team / July 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
After the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, it seemed fair enough to expect—and perhaps hope—that 2017 would be a year of relative quiet. Not so. We’ve had swirling political chaos in the United States, the first bruising rounds of the Brexit haggle—and the small matter of a general election.
Reading this year’s entries for the Think Tank Awards, one theme emerged—the challenges posed by countries and sections of society digging themselves into trenches. Perhaps as a reaction against our interconnected world, the sense of difference seems to be heightening, dividing one group from another. The more we looked, the more we realised how many entrants were confronting the question of what happens once we’ve retreated into our silos. This is, perhaps, the most general problem of 2017—complicating the task of solving everything from tax evasion to climate change internationally, and of tackling poverty and security at home.
The US awards
In a busy Economics and Finance field, the Bipartisan Policy Center was lauded for its work on problems that are of interest on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, notably infrastructure spending and the challenges of retirement. The Economic Innovation Group emerged as the runner-up. With roots in Silicon Valley, it is entirely fitting that this tank focuses on the problems caused by the over-concentration of economic dynamism within the US, in work that one judge called “grim and well-argued.” The winner was the Peterson Institute, for its excellent work on the economic threat posed by international disagreements over trade. It “comes out the winner,” one judge said, “for the importance and timeliness of its stance on trade—and the signs that the message is getting through.”
In Energy and the Environment, the Arctic Institute scored well, as did the Stimson Centre, whose scrutiny of the illegal trade in animal parts was particularly strong. The World Resources Institute did sobering work on the challenge of global food supply while the runner-up, Inter-American Dialogue, impressed the judges on US-Latin American energy investment in particular. But the winner this year was Climate Interactive. Their innovative use of…