The Turn: From Reactionary Populism to a Progressive Alternative
Length Length

3 videos

Price Price


Languages Languages


Prerequisites Prerequisites

A strong internet connection that can support viewing

Join Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
for a

three-part series

Join Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
political philosopher

Roberto Mangabeira Unger

Discuss the philosophies
of a

Progressive Alternative

Discuss the philosophies
Consider its application
in the


Consider its application


This video series is available for free in the SDG Academy Library.

In early 2021, Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs and political philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger delivered a three-part webinar series to discuss the systemic and structural changes necessary to create a progressive future, with a focus on Brazil and the US. Both countries suffer from political polarization, populism, social conflict, and economic inequality among the highest in the world. Professors Sachs and Unger analyzed and debated how the two countries reached their current state of crisis, and how each nation--and the world--can forge a progressive alternative to overcome the current impasse.


  • Pre-recorded lectures

Lead Faculty

  • Faculty Image

    Jeffrey Sachs

    Columbia University

  • Faculty Image

    Roberto Mangabeira Unger

    Harvard University

This course is for

Advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in economics and political philosophy

Policymakers and professionals who seek to encourage transformational change for sustainable development

Development practitioners who want to understand the broader context of social and economic transformation


Course logistics and requirements

This series is available for free in the SDG Academy Library.


There is no certificate available for this course.


This first session of The Turn sets the stage for the discussion and seeks to answer the question, "What happened to socially inclusive economic growth and progressive politics?"

In the second session, Professors Sachs and Unger explored the rise of populism and the shift towards progressivism in the contexts of the United States and Brazil. 

The final session presents the "progressive alternative" and outlines what steps should be taken to bring about these changes.