With the warning of potential double digit inflation on the way and the already very real cost of living crisis, Jonathan Freedland is joined by Economic Historians Albrecht Ritschl and Duncan Needham to compare today's situation with the context, causes and impact of UK inflation spikes in the 1920s and the 1970s.
Economies rarely fall prey to single drivers, but war, pandemic, international oil price and food costs have all been part of Britain's story in the past. Jonathan discovers how politicians dealt with inflation in the 1920s and 1970s, what the costs of their interventions were, and to what extent the insights of hindsight might help an approach to today's growing pressures.
Producer: Tom Alban
When Things Fall Apart
Jonathan Freedland explores the past behind the present. In the last of this long view of the future we ask when do civilizations & systems know that things cannot go on as they are. When do the rulers and the ruled sense the game is up? Historians Craig Clunas summon up the last days of the Ming Dynasty of the 17th Century, Maria Fusaro considers how the Venetian Republic registered its waning powers & end days in the 18th Century and Anthony Badger explores the existential crisis of America in 1933-would it survive as a democracy, could it be reformed & avoid collapse?
Producer Mark Burman
Cancel culture is not new or unique to the modern day. For as long as humans have had society, we’ve cancelled those who violated its unwritten rules and norms.
Jonathan Freedland explores what history can tell us about how today's cancel culture might play out. He looks for historical precursors, starting with the the story of Galileo, whose insistence in the early 17th Century that the Earth goes round the Sun and not vice versa, got him into deep trouble with the Catholic Church.
Paula Findlen, Professor of History at Stanford University in California
Terence Dooley , Professor of History at Maynooth University in County Kildare
Sir Antony Beevor, historian and author.
Producer: Sarah Shebbeare
Jonathan Freedland explores historical parallels of today's shift to renewable energy due to climate change.
Jonathan considers moments in history when societies have been forced to adapt their energy supply due to environmental pressures. He looks to the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom and how it adapted to a century long drought, Early Modern England's wood scarcity crisis and the shift away from coal prompted by London's Great Smog of 1952.
In our era of environmental crisis, can these historical events offer guidance on how best to adapt our own energy resources?
Professor Nadine Moeller, Yale University.
Keith Pluymers, Assistant Professor, Illinois State University
Dr Roger Fouquet, London School of Economics
Producer: Sam Peach
The Harms of Social Media
Jonathan Freedland explores historical parallels to concerns around the harms of social media today. What can history tell us about those worries might be addressed?
Jonathan looks for historical precursors to fears around the harms of social media platforms. He examines the controversial unstamped press in the Victorian era, the rise of the motor car and road safety in the early 1900s as well as the role of whistle-blowing in exposing the tobacco industry in the second half of the 20th century.
Producer: Laurence Grissell