New podcast The We Society secures exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton

The We Society, a new podcast from the Academy of Social Sciences, hosted by Academy President, author and journalist Will Hutton, talks to leading social scientists and thought leaders across public life discussing contemporary challenges confronting the UK and our world, and how we can best navigate our shared future.

The series includes an extended interview with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

First Lady Clinton says the podcast is “particularly timely”.

“In a democracy, the “we” is those of us who are citizens, and the leaders that we choose to govern us,” she says.

“If you recall, the preamble to our United States Constitution begins, “We the people…”. So the “we society” is rooted in very fundamental values, about how we come together in solidarity to take collective action for the common good. It is now in peril because of all of the developments socially, technologically, politically, economically, that have elevated individualism far above social needs or social desires. And so, I think your podcast is particularly timely.”

hilary clinton

In the wide-ranging 40-minute interview recorded on her recent visit to the UK, Clinton also touches on what she sees as the big challenge in education: “It’s really hard to compete with this omnipresent screen that children have access to. I’ve had veteran teachers, who’ve taught for ten, 20, or 35 years and when I ask them, “What’s the difference now between the kids you have and the kids you used to have?” They tell me that kid’s eyes just glaze over. They’re so used to entertaining themselves on a screen.

“I’m not that entertaining. I’m trying to get them to understand multiplication or, you know, conjugating verbs and I am being turned off”, one of them said to me, “I can just see their eyes like turning me off. I’m not entertaining enough”.”

Clinton believes the impact runs deep: “We’re seeing evidence of our kids being made more anxious, sometimes depressed by their intensive use of social media and screens. And one of the great ironies of this is that a number of the executives in Silicon Valley who create and promote the screens and what goes on them forbid their own children to use them,” she says.

The line-up for other episodes of The We Society includes Academy Fellows: Professor Mike Bradshaw dissecting geopolitics and energy, Professor Sir Cary Cooper exploring the future of work and wellbeing, Professor Sir Ian Diamond discussing the power of data, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman analysing the war in Ukraine, Professor Mariana Mazzucato focusing on innovation and the economy, Professor Gary Younge on race in Britain and Professor Kate Pickett sharing insights on inequality.

The We Society podcast is available on Google, Apple podcasts and Spotify.

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