University of Gothenburg
The QoG logtype on a grey background with microphones

The QoG Podcast

Making sense of politics and governments all over the world.

The QoG Podcast: Making sense of politics and governments all over the world is a podcast brought yo you by the Quality of Government Institute (QoG), University of Gothenburg. QoG conducts and promotes research on the causes, consequences and nature of Good Governance and the Quality of Government - that is, trustworthy, reliable, impartial, uncorrupted and competent government institutions. In this podcast series, we discuss issues of political science in conversations with well-known experts to try to make sense of politics and governments all over the world.

Hosting this show is Victor Lapuente, who is a Senior Lecturer and Professor at the Department of Political Science and a Research Fellow at the Quality of Government Institute.


In this episode, we have Professor and bestseller author James Robinson guesting us, with whom we will talk about some of the big questions in social sciences: why do some nations fail and others succeed? What is the secret of economic and democratic prosperity? Thanks to the encyclopedic knowledge of James Robinson, we will be travelling through different time periods and geographies searching for the Holy Grail of progress. The message of hope for humankind that Robinson gives us in this podcast, about the balance between the power of Civil society and Government, is both simple and counterintuitive, very old and very fresh.

Listen to episode #1 here:

In this episode, Professor and influential public intellectual Sheri Berman talks with host Victor Lapuente about the challenges of current-day democracies. Both in comparison and in contrast to, the fall of liberal regimes and the ascent of totalitarian systems in the 1930s - what are the similarities, and what are the differences?

Berman will provide us with many interesting insights to grasp the true nature of the problems our liberal democracies currently face.

Listen to episode #2 here:

In this episode, Professor Deirdre McCloskey guests us to talk about a question McCloskey has devoted a great deal of her work: Why some nations are Successful and others Fail. McCloskey will explain to us her answer, which may not be the most convincing for many, but that definitely is the most beautiful and romantic: economic development is not the result of the accumulation of capital, or of exploitation, or of military conquest and colonial oppression, but of ideas and values; and, in particular, of Love. In doing this, McCloskey will defend her view that Economics is not about material or materialism, but it is about ideas. It’s not only about factories, cars, and smartphones, but mostly about what happens between the ears. And even though we will talk a lot about ideas, there will be space for the materialist's most pressing social questions: how to alleviate poverty and tackle inequality?

Listen to episode #3 here:

Guesting this episode is Tomila Lankina, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science and one of the greatest experts on current Russia, thanks to her knowledge of Russian History. 

Tomila has worked on democracy and authoritarianism. Mass protests and historical drivers of human capital and political regime change in Russia and other countries; she has also analyzed the propaganda and disinformation campaigns in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea and aggression in Ukraine.

Victor and Tomlia discuss Tomlia's book: The Estate Origins of Democracy in Russia: From Imperial Bourgeoisie to Post-Communist Middle Class. To try to understand the war resistance within Russia today, looking at both History and the current day. 

Listen to episode #4 here:

In this episode, Victor will talk to Francis Fukuyama - A professor at Stanford University, political scientist, political economist, and writer who might be most known for his book: The end of History and the Last Man, published in 1992. He has inspired both academics and practitioners all over the world. And since that book, no important world event has been untouched by the idea that we may be experiencing the "end of history" or the triumph of the western model of liberal democracies.

Francis and Victor will talk about the war in Ukraine: is the end of History closer or further away, given conflicts like this one). They will also talk about Francis's more recent books, like "Liberalism and Its Discontents", where he, seen by many of his critics as a "former neocon", is defencing liberalism. In addition, Francis outlines the main challenges current liberalism faces, which he argues come more from inside our societies (like the increasing monopolistic and oligarchic power of some corporations) than from outside enemies. 

Link to episode #5 here: