The Book


The choices we make over the next few years will resonate for decades, and perhaps centuries. This is because our world is at a critical turning point in history, as old certainties are swept aside by a global pandemic, climate change and geopolitical upheaval. How we respond to these challenges will determine whether we usher in a new Age of Enlightenment, or a second Dark Ages.

In this compelling book Mark Roeder makes sense of our predicament, and explains why we must reconsider some of our most fundamental beliefs. Our current path is not sustainable – socially, environmentally or economically. We are literally devouring our planet, and our communities are becoming more polarised and fearful of the future. The time has come for us to make some bold changes to the way we live. This book explains what these changes should be, and how to implement them.

A thoughtful and illuminating book, combining elegant prose, intelligent analysis, acute psychological insight and a timely jeremiad against the temptation of business as usual.

Dr Elizabeth Farrelly Essayist, columnist and cultural critic (What we do next really matters)

Roeder’s book is a revelation. In our personal, political and economic lives we seem to be swept along by circumstances. Our attempts to change direction are doomed. It is a fascinating read.

Phillip Adams Broadcaster, writer and film producer (The Big Mo)

Roeder’s excellent book is thought-provoking and enjoyable – it provides a fresh perspective on human progress.'

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen Cambridge University, UK (Unnatural Selection)

The Proposition


It has become starkly clear that the time has come to envision a new social contract that is more relevant to the 21st century. Our current model – which evolved from the Enlightenment 300 years ago – has passed its used by date. It has brought our world to the abyss by fomenting short-sightedness, greed and injustice. It is also under assault from new technologies, scientific breakthroughs and social phenomena that the early 16th century Enlightenment thinkers could not have possibly conceived of. The advent of Twitter, dopamine-induced gratification and rampant consumerism, require a different approach.

What We Do Next Really Matters proposes what this new social contract could be. It is based on a more sustainable way of life, that protects our environment, harnesses our capacities and safeguards our freedoms. It is also designed to enhance those activities, institutions and agreements that support our society. In other words, it’s not about ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’– it’s about retaining what works and changing or ejecting what doesn’t.

The key principles of this new social contract are sustainability, diversity, cognitive liberty, opportunity, pendulation, democracy and truth – each of which is explained in the book. These principles are interdependent and form a seamless whole – or context – that is more than the sum of its parts. This transcendent perspective provides a coherent blueprint for us to move towards.

Indeed, there has never been a better time – during this unique turning point in history – for us to explore what our new social contract should be. Our future depends on it.

The Author


Mark Roeder writes about the powerful undercurrents that are reshaping our world. His previous works include The Big Mo and Unnatural Selection, which explore social phenomena and the impact of technology on human behaviour. Before becoming a writer, Roeder worked as a senior executive at UBS bank, Zurich Financial Services and Westpac bank, and lived in London, New York, Sydney and Zurich. Currently, he is a consultant with the Chicago-based Hale Strategic Group, and is a Delphi Fellow contributor to Big Think. He holds a master’s degree in business and technology from the University of NSW.