Why Ideas Untrapped?

Can the whole world become prosperous? This is the central question in economic development, and the ambitious goal to end global poverty. For societies yet to experience widely shared prosperity - finding the right balance of policies, social incentives, and underlying governance systems to make it possible has obsessed social science research for over five decades.

This search has yielded many answers ranging from geography's primacy to institutions' importance. What has been emphasised less, in our view, is the role of ideas in making history. In investigating the role of ideas, Tobi Lawson talks to social scientists and thinkers, policymakers, and investors. Great things can happen when the organizing principles of society allow free inquiry. Using and reusing ideas is the key to prosperity - but equally important is when bad ideas die out.

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What will Ideas Untrapped Offer?

We are creating a platform for debate on ideas that matter for economic growth.

Our subscribers will have access to insightful essays by Tobi Lawson and other contributors -

  • our popular podcast series

  • our merchandise

  • live events

  • book clubs

  • the community

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My hopes for ‘‘Ideas Untrapped’’ is to build a community of diverse thinkers and grow into an ideas ecosystem for social progress. If you will like to write for this publication or support us in any way, contact me on Twitter @tobi_lawson.

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We are a social science podcast and publication about turning good ideas and research on economic growth and development into practical policy - with a particular focus on Africa. We interview experts and researchers from all sectors.


I am passionate about economic development and human prosperity. I write mostly about the political economy of development.
An ecosystem for ideas on human prosperity.