The Politics of Social Cohesion with Dr. Colin Mayer (podcast)

By Templeton Staff
August 1, 2021
Why it’s crucial that corporations, businesses, and institutions rediscover the importance of common unity in the community.

Dr. Colin Mayer CBE, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies and former dean at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, specializes in the role of the corporation in contemporary society. In this conversation with journalist Richard Sergay, he speaks about how business institutions can play a part in building resilient and cohesive communities.

Prof. Mayer notes the origin of the corporation in Ancient Roman law with Societas Publicanorum. Back then, corporations performed public functions such as collecting taxes, minting coins, and looking after public buildings, in aid of building and sustaining society. He reminds us that the word "company" derives from the Latin cum panis meaning "with bread” or the “breaking of bread together.” Business and institutions have evolved over much of the past 2000 years from these starting points. It is only over the last several centuries, as attitudes in the Western world have moved toward individualism in politics and economics, that the idea of companies contributing to common purpose has begun to fall away.

He also discusses leadership and the importance of morality in leadership in building community and trust, and offers insight into the potential threat technological advances pose unless humanity directs them towards helping to solve our problems as individuals, societies, and the natural world.

This episode is part of the “Stories of Impact” podcast’s exploration of “Citizenship in a Networked Age,” the Templeton World Charity Foundation-funded report on civic ideals from the University of Oxford.

Read the transcript from the interview conducted by journalist Richard Sergay, presented by podcast producer Tavia Gilbert. Featuring: Dr. Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies and former dean at the Saïd Business School at Oxford. He recently published the critically acclaimed Prosperity: Better Business Makes the Greater Good.


Built upon the award-winning video series of the same name, Templeton World Charity Foundation’s “Stories of Impact” podcast features stories of new scientific research on human flourishing that translate discoveries into practical tools. Bringing a mix of curiosity, compassion, and creativity, journalist Richard Sergay and producer Tavia Gilbert shine a spotlight on the human impact at the heart of cutting-edge social and scientific research projects supported by TWCF.

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