Alexander Betts on Brexit

Alexander Betts is a British social scientist in refugee studies. He is the director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, where he leads research on refugee and other forced migrant populations. Betts is also the author of Survival Migration, a non-fiction work that explores the predicaments of people who are fleeing disaster yet fall outside legal definitions of refugee status.

Betts argues that refugees, who represent a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds, are in fact an untapped resource that could benefit nations willing to welcome them into their economies. He explores ways societies might empower refugees rather than pushing them away.

On the topic of Brexit, Betts believes that the issue grew out a divide between those who fear globalization and those who embrace it.  Therefore, in his TED Talk “Why Brexit happened– and what to do next,” Betts give four post-Brexit steps toward a more inclusive world.

Brexit: What is Represents and How We Respond

He begins his talk by addressing two questions: “What does Brexit represent?” and “What can we do about it?”

“So first, what does Brexit represent?” asks Betts. “Brexit teaches us many things about our society and about societies around the world. It highlights in ways that we seem embarrassingly unaware of how divided our societies are.”

“The vote teaches us something about the nature of politics today,” continues Betts. “Contemporary politics is no longer just about right and left. It’s no longer just about tax and spend. It’s about globalization. The fault line of contemporary politics is between those that embrace globalization and those that fear globalization.”

In addressing his second question “How do we respond?,” Betts says a new vision of inclusive globalization is key. Finally, he provides four steps to achieving that vision:

1.) Improvement in civic education.

2.) Increased interaction in diverse communities

3.) Ensuring equal benefits of globalization

4.) Greater responsibility in politics.


 View the full video here:


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