Capitalism is not so much an aberration as a step on an evolutionary path, and one that contains within it some of the answers to its own contradictions.
As a civil servant in charge of the government's Strategy Unit, I brought in many people from outside government, including academia and science, to work in the unit, dissecting and solving complex problems from GM crops to alcohol, nuclear proliferation to schools reform.
Big business increasingly likes to portray itself as socially concerned, adopting the style of civic action through 'campaigns' of varying degrees of cynicism.
Advisers who think that they are very clever while all around them are a bit thick, and that all the problems of the world would be solved if the thick listened to the clever, are liable to be disappointed.
Science is, rightly, searching for drugs to arrest ageing or to slow the advance of dementia. But the evidence suggests that many of the most powerful factors determining how you age come from what you do, and what you do with others: whether you work, whether you play music, whether you have regular visitors.
It's an irony that growing inequality could mean more money for philanthropy. In the U.S., quite a few of the ultra-rich have taken to heart the 19th century industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie's comment that it's a disgrace to die wealthy.
Britain is rich in radicalism, and anyone who says that our society has drifted into fatalism and apathy should get out more.
Europe has shown how government can be organised in a network. Its institutions both compete and co-operate and include a directly elected parliament that does not appoint the executive, independent judiciaries and a complex set of relationships between the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.
The classic think-tank is supposed to be sitting in an attic thinking up grand ideas.
L'Oreal's slogan 'because you're worth it' has come to epitomise banal narcissism of early 21st century capitalism; easy indulgence and effortless self-love all available at a flick of the credit card.
Most governments do have inbuilt biases in favour of the rich and powerful, and most do contain plenty of manipulators who love intrigue, who have lost whatever moral compass they may once have had and who protect themselves with steely cynicism.
So is civil society prepared for the future? Probably not. Most organisations have to live hand to mouth, juggling short-term funding and perpetual minor crises. Even the bigger ones rarely get much time to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Many are on a treadmill chasing after contracts and new funding.
As the Internet of things advances, the very notion of a clear dividing line between reality and virtual reality becomes blurred, sometimes in creative ways.
The once-science-fiction notion of hyper-connectivity - where we are all constantly connected to social networks and other bubbling streams of digital data - has rapidly become a widespread reality.
There is a yearning for people to return to elementary moral virtues, such as integrity and commitment. We distrust people who have no centering of values. We greatly respect businessmen, for example, if they display those virtues, even if we don't necessarily agree with the people.
People don't want charities to usurp the state as the core provider of social services.
By international standards, many of the U.K.'s policies for civil society are exemplary. However, there are concerns about constraints on civil liberties - particularly restrictions on free assembly and about the rising tide of everyday regulation has seriously impeded community activity - from organising street parties to helping children.
Democratic nation states remain far more capable of managing the circuit of coercion, taxation and legitimation than any transnational bodies.
Many of the greatest composers and musicians do their best work in extreme confinement but we are seeing it in other fields - uses of technology to link people together in networks to solve problems and almost certainly we'll get better ideas than we would from them just doing it on their own.
Local government in England is simply too big. Our lowest tier serves an average population of 118,500, while in the U.S. and across continental Europe the figures are more like several thousand.