Prospect (magazine)

Prospect is a monthly British general-interest magazine, specializing in politics, economics, and current affairs. Topics covered include British and other European, and US politics, social issues, art, literature, cinema, science, the media, history, philosophy, and psychology. Prospect features a mixture of lengthy analytic articles, first-person reportage, one-page columns, and shorter, quirky items.

EditorTom Clark
CategoriesPolitics, world affairs, arts and culture
Total circulation
(December 2017)
First issueOctober 1995; 25 years ago (1995-10)
CompanyProspect Publishing Ltd
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon

The magazine was launched in October 1995 by David Goodhart, then a senior correspondent for the Financial Times (FT), and chairman Derek Coombs. Goodhart came up with the idea of producing an essay-based monthly general-interest magazine—a form at that time unknown in Britain—while covering German reunification as Bonn correspondent for the FT.

Some of the world's leading intellectuals have featured in Prospect in the last few years, including Nobel prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Angus Deaton, world-renowned writers such as Lionel Shriver, Clive James, Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, as well as scientists like Martin Rees. Notable features of the magazine include head-to-head debates between two writers with opposing views on a subject; roundtable discussions, in which a series of experts with varying views on a given topic meet for a discussion, an edited transcript of which is published in the magazine; and interviews with major political and cultural figures (examples include Orhan Pamuk, Paul Wolfowitz, and Hilary Mantel).

Prospect received worldwide attention in October 2005 when it published its list of the world's top 100 public intellectuals, which included Noam Chomsky, Umberto Eco, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and Christopher Hitchens. The magazine asked readers to vote for their top intellectual from the longlist; Chomsky was the eventual winner. Subsequent lists have continued to attract attention. Dawkins claimed the top spot in 2013. Amartya Sen won in 2014 and Thomas Piketty was the winner in 2015. After a four-year hiatus, the award was revived in 2019—the winner was the Kurdish mathematician Caucher Birkar.[2]

Prospect has also published the winning short story of the Royal Society of Literature's V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize since 2009.

Policy positions

The magazine features contributions from authors spanning the political spectrum. It tends to avoid a "line" on specific policy issues, claiming to offer a "contrarian" view and to be an "open minded" magazine.[3] It has published articles debunking the "popular wisdom", on topics ranging from Japan's alleged economic crisis to the Mahdi army in Iraq.[original research?] However, it has been described as left-leaning by the BBC,[4] and the Prospect contributor Roger Scruton.[5]

In August 2009 in a roundtable interview in Prospect, Adair Turner supported the idea of new global taxes on financial transactions, warning that a "swollen" financial sector paying excessive salaries has grown too big for society. Turner's suggestion that a "Tobin tax", named after the economist James Tobin, should be considered for financial transactions drew international attention.

Since 2004 the magazine's founding editor, David Goodhart, has stirred controversy with a series of articles arguing that the increasing diversity of the United Kingdom may weaken the bonds of solidarity on which the welfare state depends. The debate fed into the broader discussions of "Britishness".[citation needed]

The Think Tank Awards

Prospect holds the annual Think Tank Awards, which celebrate and reward the work of think tanks on a national and global scale. The awards are supported by Shell. Categories include "Global Think Tank of the Year", "Publication of the Year", "North American Think Tank of the Year", "European Think Tank of the Year" (excluding Britain), 'UK Think Tank of the Year', and many sub-categories for the UK. According to the official website, "The awards are judged by a cross-party panel looking for evidence of influence on public policy and on the public discourse. The judges will also consider the quality of research and potential of younger and smaller organisations." The awards have been running since 2001, and have been expanding exponentially to include more global awards for international Think Tanks. The winner of the most recent 2017 Think Tank awards (held at the Institute of Directors on 10 July) was the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, based in the UK, for its "very strong analytical appraisal of social conditions in Britain".

Previous winners:








2010: (The judging panel was chaired by Ben Rogers, associate fellow of the IPPR and Demos, and included Kishwer Falkner, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the ministry of justice in the House of Lords; David Goodhart, Prospect editor-at-large; James Crabtree, Financial Times comment editor, and Rohan Silva, senior adviser to David Cameron.)

Winner: the Institute for Government.

2009: (The judging panel comprised Baroness Falkner (Liberal Democrat peer), David Halpern (the Institute for Government and former advisor to Tony Blair), Rohan Silva (special advisor to George Osborne MP), David Walker (the Audit Commission), and Prospect’s editor, David Goodhart, and managing editor, James Crabtree. A fuller report is here.[7])

2008: (David Walker again chaired of the panel of judges—read his speech here.[8])

2007: (David Walker chaired the panel of judges—read his speech here.[9])

Runner-up: Centre Forum.

  • International tank: Centre for European Reform;

Runner-up international: RIIA.





  • Winner: Centre for European Reform. One to watch: Catalyst
  • Publication: Civitas, “Do we need Mass Immigration?”




  1. "Prospect - Data - ABC | Audit Bureau of Circulations".
  2. Clark, Tom. "Top thinker Caucher Birkar talks maths, migration—and how his older brother taught him calculus".
  3. "Prospect 'About Us' page". Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  4. Landale, James (February 20, 2006). "'Huge risks' of Cameron strategy". BBC News. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  5. Scruton, Roger (December 7, 2010). "Multiculturalism, R.I.P." The American Spectator. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  6. "The Think Tank Awards 2017: Who Won?". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  7. "Prospect Think Tank of the Year: The Winners". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  8. "Prospect think tank of the year award 2008". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  9. "The year in think tankery". Retrieved 2014-04-06.

Further reading

  • David Goodhart (editor), Thinking Allowed: The Best of Prospect, 1995–2005, Atlantic Books, 2005. ISBN 978-1-84354-481-4