An anthropological guide to the elections

Why we get the leaders we do

With a year of elections and the rise of populist parties across Europe, politics appears to be changing fast. But some things always remain the same. Anthropology can give us insights into how to manage our evolved psychology to avoid polarization and extreme ideologies. Harvey Whitehouse argues that we need to harness the inheritance of our evolutionary history more wisely, to produce leaders capable of increasing human flourishing rather than dividing and exploiting us.


As we look back on 14 years of Tory misrule, we must consider the role of leadership in the incoming Labour government. The Tory party which we once associated with fiscal responsibility has played havoc with the economy. The people we once thought cared about Britain’s standing in the world have weakened our voice in Europe and the world. How we now treat the poor and destitute is a blight on our national character. However, turning things around will require more effective leadership. N

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