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History & Policy Event

After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future

23 September 2021 - 17:00 pm - 18:00 pm

Online-via Zoom

History & Policy at the Institute of Historical Research is delighted to host a webinar to mark the launch of a new book,  After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future, by Hilary Cooperformer government economist and senior policy maker, and Simon Szreter, Professor of History and Public Policy at Cambridge University and co-founder and editor of History & Policy. 

This will take place on Thursday 23rd September at 17:00 to 18:00 (BST) via Zoom, and will be chaired by Philip Murphy, Director of History and Policy.

Why was the UK so unprepared for the pandemic, suffering one of the highest death rates and worst economic contractions of the major world economies in 2020? Hilary Cooper and Simon Szreter reveal the deep roots of our vulnerability and set out a powerful manifesto for change post-COVID-19. They argue that our commitment to a flawed neoliberal model and the associated disinvestment in our social fabric left the UK dangerously exposed and unable to mount an effective response, with particularly devasting consequences for deprived communities and elderly patients in care homes.

In the face of the coming century’s urgent problems, from climate change to biodiversity collapse and global inequality, the authors put the case for the vital role that history should play in enabling us to think differently – about the future economy, our future society, how we govern ourselves and who we want to be. Drawing on the history of British collectivist individualism, beginning with the Elizabethan Poor Laws, they argue that a strong and nurturing welfare state has facilitated the most successful periods of economic and social flourishing in our history; and a revival and adaptation of its principles can help us again in the twenty-first century. 

At this virtual event Hilary Cooper and Simon Szreter will discuss the ideas in their book, and this will then be followed by a Q&A facilitated by Professor Philip Murphy.

After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future is published by Cambridge University Press in paperback and as an e-book. 

 Get 20% off – visit and enter discount code ‘COOPER21’ at the checkout. Discount expires 30th July 2022.

Hilary Cooper is a former government economist and senior policy maker with expertise in labour markets, children’s services and local development. Her current freelance work examines the challenges of ageing. She was the joint winner of the 2019 IPPR Economics prize for the essay Incentivising an Ethical Economics, with Simon Szreter and Ben Szreter.

Simon Szreter is Professor of History and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, researching economic, social and public health history. His publications include Health and Wealth, which won the American Public Health Association’s Viseltear Prize, and Sex before the Sexual Revolution, longlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize. He is co-founder and editor of History & Policy.

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History & Policy

Hilary Cooper and Simon Szreter


17:00 pm - 18:00 pm

Online-via Zoom
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H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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