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21 October - 17 November
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How did Britain come to this?

The accidental logics of Britain's neoliberal settlement

Book cover of How Did Britain Come to This? on blurred yellow and black background

What’s on offer?

Gwyn Bevan discusses his new book, How Did Britain Come to This?, published by LSE Press. 

What’s it about?

The post-war political settlement sought to tackle what William Beveridge called the five giant evils of Britain in 1942 – Want, Disease, Ignorance, Idleness and Squalor. These systems were failing by 1979. Successive governments led by Margaret Thatcher tried to tackle those failures by rolling back the state and empowering markets – a neoliberal settlement. This depended on two ideas – that it is the social responsibility of private enterprises to maximise profits within the rules of the game. And that government can harness markets for public services.

Gwyn Bevan argues that these two ideas have produced an accidental logic that allows financial enterprise to exploit the rules of the game to maximise profits. And successive governments have failed to develop effective systems of contracting and regulation for privatised utilities; outsourcing; and markets for housing, education and health care. 

Who’s leading the event?

  • Professor Gwyn Bevan, Emeritus Professor of Policy Analysis at LSE
  • Dr Abby Innes, Associate Professor of Political Economy at LSE 
  • Ros Taylor, presenter and contributing editor at Podcasters and author ofThe Future of Trust
  • Chaired by Professor Patrick Dunleavy, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at LSE

Event Booking details

This public event is free and open to all. This event will be a hybrid event, with an in-person audience and an online audience. 

For the in-person event: No ticket or pre-registration is required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries see LSE Events FAQs: 

For the online event: Register for this event via LSE Live at How did Britain come to this? The accidental logics of Britain's neoliberal settlement: 

For any queries email