The event was co-hosted by the Think Tank of the Honorary Consulate of San Marino to the UK and Esharelife Think Tank for a stimulating discussion on Machiavellism and modern democracy, on Tuesday 23 February at 17:00 UK time with guest speaker Professor Phil Harris.
Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’, an evil work of genius, still fascinates 500 years on. This work, in which he argued that a “prince”, that is to say someone wielding power, may use immoral means to secure his ends, has given the word Machiavellian a place in ordinary language.
Was Machiavelli an evil? In his own words ‘As far as the act goes, that it may be a sin, is a fable, because what sins is the will, not the body.’
Some argue, Machiavelli is perennially important because he grasped that the governments of his day no longer truly represented their people. Even their language had become archaic and devoid of meaning.
Professor Phil Harris has promised to sail around controversial figure of Machiaveli and deliver to the particpants a “human” version of him.
Professor Phil Harris is Professor Emeritus and past Executive Director of the Business Research Institute at the University of Chester and held the Westminster (Grosvenor) Professorship in Marketing and Public Affairs.
He is the founding editor of the Journal of Public Affairs and a member of a number of international editorial and advisory boards and has authored over 200 articles and 20 books. He holds 6 professorships in Beijing, Dalian, Guilin, Jiangsu, Wuhan and Xiamen in China and is regularly called upon to advise and comment on China, Entrepreneurialism, International Business, Machiavelli, Marco Polo, Public Affairs and Transparency.
In his presentation, Professor Harris put Machiavelli principles in the context of the time when Machiavelli wrote his books, some 500 years ago and cared enough to dissolve the ambiguities around the controversial figure of Machiavelli. He delivered to the participants a “human” version of him, a pragmatic person who understood well the politics and its application in the reality. He compared Machiavelli teachings with the principles followed by many politicians of our modern times.
After the eloquent presentation delivered by Prof. Harris, during the Q&A participants were curious to learn more about Machiavelli principles and their application in our modern democracy. The discussions evolved around the actions of governments during the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictive measures, government crisis, political manoeuvres, etc.
In the end, Professor Harris, was asked to award the “Machiavelli prize” to the world leaders in the past and current one and his choice among the leaders amused the participants.