Development is a key term in the modernising global world. It is a target for many of the world's economically poorer nations. It is widely considered that history self-evidently demonstrates that sustained economic growth and development is a realistic aspiration for today's poorer countries, their leaders and their citizens. However, there is accompanying concern that the global development policies of the last seven decades have achieved a very mixed set of outcomes and that many countries and people remain poor.
This lecture argues that history can provide a surprisingly fresh approach to this problem, indicating the importance of policies which have not previously found many champions in the development literature. It is argued that we can learn a lot about development policies by paying careful attention to the first ever episode of successful economic development in the world -- that of England. But to see the important lessons we need to adopt the right temporal perspective, examining the history of English society and economy from c. 1550 onwards, fully two centuries before the conventional dating of the start of the industrial revolution.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:
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Professor Simon Szreter
Professor in History and Public Policy in the History Faculty, University of Cambridge. He teaches modern British economic and social history since 1700. His main fields of research are demographic and social history, the history of empirical social science and the relationship between history and contemporary public policy issues.
His principal publications are: Fertility, class and gender in Britain 1860-1940 (Cambridge 1996); Changing family size in England and Wales 1891-1911: Place, class and demography (co-authored, Cambridge 2001), Categories and contexts. Anthropological and Historical Studies in Critical Demography (co-edited, Oxford 2004) and Health and Wealth: Studies in History and Policy (Rochester University Press 2005).
He has also authored numerous articles in historical, social science and medical journals and edited special issues of Social History of Medicine and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. He co-edits historyandpolicy.org, a recently launched website and joint initiative of Cambridge History Faculty and the Institute of Contemporary British History, London.
Dr Szreter has been awarded the Viseltear Prize by the American Public Health Association.
In 2011 Professor Szreter published Sex Before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life in England 1918-1963.