Simon Anholt – The Good Country

What is The Good Country, and why did you start it?

It’s a plan for changing the culture of governance, worldwide, from fundamentally competitive to fundamentally collaborative. This is necessary if humanity is to move forwards and not backwards.

You’ve just launched the Global Vote, what is it?

It’s a project that lets anybody in the world vote in other countries’ elections. We aren’t voting on their domestic issues, we’re trying to help them choose leaders who will remember the rest of humanity and the rest of the planet while serving their own population and their own territory.


How does the Good Country Index work?

It’s an attempt to measure what each country on earth contributes to the rest of humanity and the rest of the planet, outside its own borders. It’s a compendium of 35 big datasets, mainly collected by UN agencies, and calculates which countries are net contributors to humanity, which ones only serve their own interests, and which are freeriders on the global system.

I read that you haven’t voted in a domestic election for over 20 years, why is that?

Because like many other people I don’t have ‘left wing’ or ‘right wing’ views, and refuse to recognise or join either of those ancient warring tribes. The Capital vs. Labour distinction, based on social class, that still underpins domestic politics in most countries, is completely redundant: the only meaningful distinction today is whether you prefer to look outwards and forwards, or inwards and backwards. And my dearest hope is that we won’t simply replace one tribal war with another: there’s room in the world for both of those views to accommodate each other.


What is your perspective on the fallout from the recent EU referendum result?

Another perfect example of the mismatch between the real contest that divides people today, and the conventional political parties, ideologies and structures that can’t even understand what’s going on. This is the biggest step backwards for human progress since the Second World War.

What’s next on the horizon for the Good Country Party?

The Good Country isn’t, and I hope never will be, a charity or NGO or campaign, and it won’t be a centrally organised movement for long: it’s an idea – just as feminism or environmentalism or happiness are ideas – and I can neither own nor control it. I just want to send it out there and see it flourish in a million ways. Some people might start political parties, campaigns, NGOs, businesses – they might explicitly call them Good Country or they might not – it really doesn’t matter as long as the idea stays alive and has its influence on the way we live in the world.
The need for the Good Country is very acute, because there’s no other coherent counter-narrative to the nasty tribalism that always seizes huge chunks of humanity in times of tribulation – and by the look of it we’re heading for generations of tribulation.

Interview by Felicity Jackson
Images courtesy of The Good Country


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