How compassion can transform our politics, economy and society

8 December 2021

Our colleagues at Compassion in Politics have published a book - “How compassion can transform our politics, economy and society”

TAP Board Director and Co-Director Matt Hawkins, and joint editor of the book describes its importance and the impressive range of contributing authors.


Compassion is transformative. From a grounding in psychological therapy, the practice of compassion has now been recognised as a powerful tool that can support mental wellbeing, create healthy and happy communities, and improve outcomes for patients in care and students at school. Our objective is to bring that power and understanding to politics. Exploring exactly how that might work is the purpose of our new book - How Compassion Can Transform Our Politics, Economy, and Society.


This book brings together academics, politicians, and activists to consider how the study and practice of compassion could revolutionise our approach to every issue from climate to crime, business to social security. 


It begins with a run-through of the scientific and philosophical basis of compassion. Prof Paul Gilbert, AC Grayling, Marina Cantacuzino, and Prof Barbara Taylor help us to show that compassion is innate and trainable, that it has been widely celebrated by thinkers throughout the ages and that it offers the key to helping us understand our place on this planet and how we can live productively together.


Authors Danny Dorling, Pragna Patel, Prof Mark Maslin, Dr Frances Ryan and more, then walk us through the transformative potential of compassion. They show, for example, how compassion can help us to tackle climate breakdown with a sense of fraternity for other nations and future generations, how compassion must be the motivating factor for a visionary and loving system of social security, and how compassion can help us to fix an unfair and unequal economy so that it benefits us all. Joe Sim uses compassion as the starting point to recommend a radical overhaul of the criminal justice system and Henry Richards from the British Academy argues powerfully for compassion to become the raison d’etre of UK business. 


Finally, to conclude, Jennifer Nadel, my Co-Director at Compassion in Politics, and I look to set out the practical steps that are needed to reach this future vision. We share the work that Compassion in Politics is doing to reform, improve, and modernise our political system so that it operates from a compassionate basis and the wider cultural change that has to happen for politicians to embrace compassion as a value, use it as a motive, and exercise it in their lives. 


We hope this book will provide some inspiration to anyone who might sometimes look on aghast at the rhetoric and behaviour we see in our politics but who believes, fundamentally, we as humans can do so much better. 


 You can purchase How Compassion Can Transform Our Politics, Economy, and Society from all online book stores. You can buy it directly from the publisher here:


Matt Hawkins, co-Director, CIP