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Benjamin Button and the Deep State: Political Ageing and the End of the World (Nine Dots Prize)


The Nine Dots Prize is an essay competition where everyone responds to a big social question and the winner writes a short book on the subject.


The question for 2021/2022 was "What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?". I responded by thinking about whether a world run by 'adult politics' allows much room for 'youth politics' to make a difference (and how much that's a good or bad thing).


The winner, announced today, is Berlin-based journalist Trish Lorenz, writing about youth populations of sub-Saharan African countries in the 21st century I'm excited to read the book. The previous two have been excellent - and freely available here. I particularly loved the very first winner, about attention in the digital age (I wrote about it here)


In the meantime, the essay I wrote is below in case of interest. Writing it was a really great experience, and made me think (and read) harder about a topic which has been sitting in my head for a while. It was also a very nice stimulation to have in the depths of lockdown.


I'm very grateful for input from many friends and family. In particular Kasim Khorasanee, Trudi Martin, and Chris Marsh read multiple drafts, Melanie Smallman sent me extremely deep thoughts on the topic, and Tom Marsh cast a very insightful author's eye over the writing. But there were many others who gave really vital input, so thank you!

NineDotsFinal
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