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Speaker(s): David Gilmour, Marco Simoni
Chair: Maurice Fraser

Recorded on 16 March 2011 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Italy today has the seventh largest economy in the world. Yet despite its economic and cultural riches, it has never achieved a successful political system. Does the blame lie with its founders? Was Italy predestined to be a failed nation state?

David Gilmour, the author of The Pursuit of Italy, is a much-admired historian whose books include three prize-winning biographies, The Last Leopard: A Life of Giuseppe di Lampedusa, Curzon and The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling. He has written on Italy for numerous publications including the TLS, the New York Review of Books, the Sunday Times and the Spectator.

Dr Marco Simoni is a lecturer in European Political Economy and (until August 2011) a British Academy post-doctoral fellow at the European Institute. He received his PhD in Political Economy from the European Institute, LSE in 2006 and his Laurea cum laude in Political Science and Political Economy (Masters degree with distinction) from the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” in 2000. His research interests revolve around topics of comparative capitalism, mostly the role of large organizations, such as trade unions, political parties, as well as their interaction with governments. His research explores both the determinants of their strategies and their impact on different measures of economic performance.

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