The Confidence Trap - RSA

The Confidence Trap

Public talks


RSA House, London

  • Economics and Finance
  • Global

Professor David Runciman warns that the belief that democracies can muddle through anything is a “confidence trap” that may lead ultimately to a crisis that proves just too big to escape.


Why do democracies keep lurching from success to failure?

The current financial crisis is just the latest example of how things continue to go wrong, just when it looked like they were going right.

In his new book The Confidence Trap political historian David Runciman shows how modern liberal democracies are remarkably good at recovering from crises, but remarkably bad at avoiding them.

In his talk at the RSA he looks at some of the most serious challenges that confront democracy today - debt, climate change, the rise of China and the war on terror –and argues that what we have learned from history, rather than wisdom, is a dangerous complacency.

Speaker: David Runciman,  professor of politics at the University of Cambridge and author of The Confidence Trap: a history of democracy in crisis from WWI to the present (Princeton University Press, 2013)

Chair: Matthew Taylor, RSA chief executive




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