Simon is Research Professor at PRIO where he leads the Co-Duties project. A geographer by training his research applies an interdisciplinary focus to the making and application of political, economic, technical and legal forms of knowledge and their consequences for political thought and practice. This has been a consistent interest of his since his earliest work on the history and politics of alternative models of scientific innovation through to more recent examinations of humanitarianism, global health, development, migration, security, inequality and democracy. Simon's work has been recognized for its methodological innovation, conceptual rigour, and empirical breadth via a number of academic fellowships and awards.
He has previously been engaged in two Norwegian Research Council funded projects at PRIO: Armed Violence in Urban Areas (with NUPI) and Protection of Civilians, both funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Elsewhere he has been engaged in projects examining alternative (non-Rawlsian) framings of "global justice", as these have emerged in response to particular events and developments in world history, and not simply in relation to normative political philosophical reasoning, and in a re-reading of the work of influential "global" thinkers on justice and equality in the 20th century, particularly those like Gunnar Myrdal who specifically sought to tackle head on the emergence of global challenges to national political institutions.
Simon's last book was a major historical work addressing the tension between freedom and equality in the liberal democratic west. Through a narrative reckoning with contemporary western liberal democracy, beginning in the crises of the 1970s and ending in the upheavals of the present moment, Empire of Democracy (Simon & Schuster, 2019) offers a panoramic analysis of the major social, political-economic, and intellectual trends that have shaped the "post-Consensus era". The book builds on his previous work on global inequality, The Political Origins of Inequality (Chicago University Press, 2015) by focusing in detail on the political and intellectual context in which freedom came to be prioritized over equality in the contemporary liberal democratic world.
In addition to his academic work Simon is also actively engaged in international policy and practice, as one of the original thinkers behind the emergent paradigm of Global Public Investment and Co-Chair of the Global Public Investment Network. Simon has advised numerous governments and international organisations. Further information can be found at www.simonreidhenry.com