It’s common sense that the best stimulus to social mobility is education. But the facts of the past 50 years – a period of unprecedented social mobility – suggest that people may be just as mobile however much or little education they have. So what does cause social mobility, if not education? And what, if anything, can governments do to promote it?
The writer’s new novel has immigration at its heart. It is the story of Joe’s struggle to save the family-run café in Bryn Mawr that was started before the war by his Italian great-great grandfather. He vows to keep it open, and find out more about his past at the same time, as well as trying to bring a diverse town together through good food and fine times.
What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth at the Globe might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd could stand and watch the execution of a king? In this turbulent period, science moved from the alchemy and astrology of John Dee to the painstaking observation and astronomy of Galileo. And if the old ways still lingered and affected the new mindset, Descartes’ dualism presented an attempt to square the new philosophy with religious belief. By the end of that tumultuous century “the greatest ever change in the mental outlook of humanity” had irrevocably taken place.
When Tony Blair became prime minister in May 1997, he was, at 43, the youngest person to hold that office since 1812. With a landslide majority, his approval rating was 93% and he went on to become Labour’s longest-serving premier. What went wrong? #Corruptiooptimipessima. The Chilcot report is expected in June.
The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin centres on three generations of the Mandible family as an extreme fiscal crisis hits a near-future America. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon.
A UK energy crisis is looming. 38 Gigawatts is going off-line and only 18GW is currently available to replace it. That includes Hinkley Nuclear and Swansea Tidal Bay. With climate change requiring a low-carbon future, where will our energy come from? Davenport is CEO of Good Energy, Gupta is owner of Uskmouth Power Station, Phillips is National Grid's UK Generator and Asset Compliance Manager and Linder is Energy Futures Partner at Bell Pottinger PR.
The process by which nations escape poverty and achieve economic and social progress has been the subject of extensive examination for hundreds of years. Goldin considers the contributions that education, health, gender, equity and other dimensions of human wellbeing make to development, and discusses why it is also necessary to take into account the role of institutions and the rule of law as well as sustainability and environmental concerns. Chaired by Jesse Norman.
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With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It’s the beginning of a remarkable friendship. The Man Booker winner’s version of The Merchant of Venice bends time to its own advantage as it asks what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world.
Delivered with passion, fearlessness and sensitivity, The Morning They Came for Us is an unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, charting an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war. It is an unforgettable testament to human resilience in the face of devastating, barely imaginable horrors. Di Giovanni is Middle East editor of Newsweek and the author of Madness Visible.
How should we value the Arts in the schools curriculum? What do we learn from putting on plays, playing in bands, painting and dancing? The CEO of the Creative Industries Federation and his guests challenge the government’s focus on STEM subjects and examine the place of culture in British education and the national economy.
Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth is an idiosyncratic journey in the company of Gustavo ‘Highway’ Sanchez, an eccentric auctioneer on a mission to replace all his teeth. Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another (in this case Mexico to the United States), especially when there’s no going back. Busquets’ This Too Shall Pass is a lively, sexy and moving novel about a woman facing life in her forties, set on the idyllic Spanish coast.
The lawyer and writer explores how personal lives and history are interwoven. Drawing from his acclaimed new book – part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller – he explains the connections between his work on crimes against humanity and genocide, the events that overwhelmed his family during the Second World War, and an untold story at the heart of the Nuremberg Trial. Chaired by Helena Kennedy.
If we are to increase social mobility, redress economic inequality and create a balanced and fair distribution of wealth and opportunity, we need to understand the roots of the problems. Three recent books by members of the LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute aim to do this. Mike Savage is the author of Social Class in the 21st Century, looking at the way new class divides have opened up in the UK, with his work generating the Class Calculator that became a viral phenomenon in 2013. John Hills is the author of Good Times, Bad Times: The Welfare Myth of Them and Us, which uses vignettes of families and how they are affected by inequality, the welfare state and austerity over their lives alongside results of large-scale data analysis. Laura Bear specialises in the anthropology of the economy, and is the author of Navigating Austerity, which tells the story of how austerity policies resulting from seemingly technocratic accounting decisions have dramatically changed the lives of those living and working on the Hooghly River in India. The authors discuss parallels between their findings, and exchange thoughts on how inequality can be challenged by public debate and policy.
The second of three events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare in which three of the writers commissioned introduce their work. Leyshon is the author of the novels The Colour of Milk and Memoirs of a Dipper, and Bedlam, the first play by a woman ever to be performed at Shakespeare’s Globe; Brook’s most recent novel is The Aftermath; Molina Foix is one of Spain’s most distinguished novelists and film directors. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
A conversation with the Australian novelist who has won the Booker Prize twice – with Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001.
His latest novel is Amnesia: A Novel. When Gaby Baillieux, a young woman from suburban Melbourne, releases the Angel Worm into the computers of Australia’s prison system, hundreds of asylum-seekers walk free. Worse: the system is run by an American corporation, so some 5,000 US prisons are also infected. Doors spring open. Both countries’ secrets threaten to pour out. Was this intrusion a mistake, or has Gaby declared cyberwar on the US?
Felix Moore – known to himself as “Australia’s last serving left-wing journalist”– has no doubt. Gaby’s act was part of the covert conflict between Australia and America that dates back decades. While she goes to ground, Felix begins his pursuit of her in order to write her story; to save her, and himself, and maybe his country.
In 1570, when it became clear she would never be gathered into the Catholic fold, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope. On the principle that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, this marked the beginning of an extraordinary English alignment with the Muslim powers fighting Catholic Spain in the Mediterranean, and of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. England signed treaties with the Ottoman Porte, received ambassadors from the kings of Morocco and shipped munitions to Marrakesh. By the late 1580s hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Elizabethan merchants, diplomats, sailors, artisans and privateers were plying their trade from Morocco to Persia.
These included the resourceful mercer Anthony Jenkinson who met both Süleyman the Magnificent and the Persian Shah Tahmasp in the 1560s, William Harborne, the Norfolk merchant who became the first English ambassador to the Ottoman court in 1582 and the adventurer Sir Anthony Sherley, who spent much of 1600 at the court of Shah Abbas the Great. The previous year, remarkably, Elizabeth sent the Lancastrian blacksmith Thomas Dallam to the Ottoman capital to play his clockwork organ in front of Sultan Mehmed. The awareness of Islam which these Englishmen brought home found its way into many of the great cultural productions of the day, including most famously Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and The Merchant of Venice. The year after Dallam’s expedition, the Moroccan ambassador, Abd al-Wahid bin Mohammed al-Annuri, spent six months in London with his entourage. Shakespeare wrote Othello six months later. Brotton shows that England’s relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England.
The former Governor of the Bank of England analyses the causes of the global financial crisis. He proposes revolutionary new ideas to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of alchemy or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?
When an intrepid young British woman volunteered to help rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, she had little idea what she was letting herself in for. It was only supposed to last three months but instead spanned a decade. Sky provides unique insights into the US military, and the complexities, diversity and evolution of Iraqi society. With sharp detail, tremendous empathy and respect for those who served, The Unravelling is an intimate portrait of how and why the Iraq adventure failed despite the best and often heroic efforts of its young men and women on the ground.
Many of our everyday activities, such as looking up information on the internet and journey planning, are supported by sophisticated algorithms. Some of our online activities are supported by the fact that we don’t have good algorithms for some problems: the encryption scheme that supports the privacy of credit cards in online transactions is believed to be secure precisely because there is no known fast algorithm for factoring large numbers. The Oxford Computer Science Professor explains a little of what we know about the limitations of algorithms, and also the famous P vs NP problem. This is the most important open problem in computer science and is one of the seven Millennium Problems of the Clay Mathematics Institute, which has offered a million-dollar prize for its solution.