Summary of Why Brexit Happened – and What to Do Next

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Why Brexit Happened – and What to Do Next summary
In the wake of Brexit, how can the world learn to embrace a global mind-set?


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Just two days after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, social scientist Alexander Betts delivered a stirring, thoughtful and eloquent presentation on Brexit and the future of globalization at the 2016 TED Summit, where his ideas received a rousing standing ovation. Betts’s vision encourages all people to become more open and tolerant. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Betts’s hopeful, forward-looking lecture to those pessimistic about the future or simply puzzled about Brexit’s socioeconomic implications.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What lessons the Brexit vote holds for society and
  • How four strategies from social science can guide the world’s response.


On June 24, 2016, the United Kingdom’s inhabitants woke to discover that the nation had voted to exit the European Union, that Prime Minister David Cameron planned to resign and that Scotland was considering a referendum to leave the UK. Panic and blame ensued, and racist acts spiked. But was the vote...
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About the Speaker

Social scientist Alexander Betts directs Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Center.

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