Public debate ‘Democracy and the Common Good: What do we Value?’ – 19 March 2018

Dr Adrian Pabst

A major report by the University of Kent’s Dr Adrian Pabst challenges existing thoughts on the benefits of freedom of movement and provides a different perspective – one focused on the common good and how it is placed at the heart of society.

Dr Pabst, Reader in Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations, says Brexit has raised many questions about what is going to happen regarding free movement.

The free movement of people and capital is considered fundamental to the global economy, but it has also led to widespread feelings of economic and cultural insecurity. Attempts to address this often rely on ideas about the freedom of choice for the individual or economic utility – the benefits or costs for the majority.

Dr Pabst’s report, ‘Democracy and the Common Good: A Common Good Approach to Free Movement of People and Capital’, published by St Paul’s Institute, seeks to advance an alternative approach.

It advocates addressing existing anxieties and providing a source of fresh policy ideas, adding to the ongoing work of communities, faith groups and others that mediate between the individual and the state.

The report features a foreword by Rachel Reeves MP who chairs the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. She says that it is right that this report focuses on skills, investment and the need for closer consideration of communities in the everyday economy. She also adds that at what may only be the start of a long process of imagining and constructing an alternative to a broken economic model, this pamphlet is an important contribution to the debate.

Dr Pabst’s report will be launched as part of a public debate entitled Democracy and the Common Good: What do we Value? at St Paul’s Cathedral on Monday 19 March from 6.45pm until 8.30pm.

This debate will be moderated by Michael Sandel, the BBC’s global philosopher who will engage a conversation with a diverse group of students. Also taking part will be Professor Fran Tonkiss (LSE) and Graham Tomlin, the Bishop of Kensington where the Grenfell disaster took place last June.

Journalists and members of the public are welcome and can sign up at