This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Monday 7 June 2021, 1pm to 2pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

How do we improve the quality of people’s lives and tackle the great global challenges of our times?

Our Festival launch event brings together Mariana Mazzucato, one of the most influential economists in the world, and Kate Pickett, co-author of the best-selling The Spirit Level and The Inner Level. which put inequality at the centre of public debate.

Join them as they discuss issues including the need for a more radical approach to restructuring capitalism, and the impact of economic policy making on health and mental health. The discussion will be chaired by Brooke Masters, Chief Business Commentator at the Financial Times

Taking her inspiration from the 'moonshot' programmes which successfully co-ordinated public and private sectors on a massive scale, Mariana, author of Mission Economy, will argue the same level of boldness and experimentation needs to be applied to the biggest problems of our time, from disease to the digital divide to the environmental crisis. We must, she will stress, rethink the capacities and role of government within the economy and society, and above all recover a sense of public purpose. 

Kate, a world-leading epidemiologist, will explore why less equal societies fare worse than equal ones across everything from education and life expectancy, and what can be done to address inequality. Discover why, on an individual level, inequality alters how we think, feel and behave, with material inequities having powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority.

Join Mariana and Kate, whose influential ideas are already being adopted around the world, as they offer a way out of our impasse to a more optimistic future in a post-Covid world.


This is a YouTube Premiere event. You’ll be sent a link to the screening a couple of days before it takes place, as well as a reminder an hour before. You can submit questions for the speakers before Wednesday 26 May at 3.30pm here. We will then choose a selection to put to the speakers during the pre-recording of this talk.  

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner.  In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too.   

About the speakers

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). She is the winner of international prizes including the 2020 John von Neumann Award, the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, and 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. She was named as one of the '3 most important thinkers about innovation' by The New Republic, one of the 50 most creative people in business in 2020 by Fast Company, and one of the 25 leaders shaping the future of capitalism by WIRED. She is the author of three highly-acclaimed books: The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths (2013), The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy (2018) and the newly released, Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism (2021). She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being Chair of the World Health Organization’s Economic Council on Health for All and a member of the South African President’s Economic Advisory Council, the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors, and the United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, among others. 

Kate Pickett is Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences and until recently held the title of Research Champion for Justice and Equality at the University of York, UK. She trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley. Kate was an UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-12, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of The Inner Level and The Spirit Level, which was chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman, was awarded Publication of the Year by the Political Studies Association and has been translated into 23 languages. She is a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust.

Brooke Masters is the Chief Business Commentator and an Associate Editor at the Financial Times. She has previously served as Opinion and Analysis Editor, Companies Editor, Chief Regulation Correspondent, City Correspondent and as a contributor to the Lex column. She spent the first part of her career in the USA covering a variety of beats for the FT and the Washington Post including financial regulation, criminal justice, local politics and education.


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