Davos, the super-exclusive annual gathering of the world’s political and business elite displays all the features of a petri dish for the spread of “crony capitalism”. A tiny number of extraordinarily powerful individuals meet to discuss how the affairs of all seven billion human beings should be planned and co-ordinated. It represents an environment for the growth of regulation, intervention and enhanced barriers to entry for small businesses.
All too often what we see in criticisms of capitalism are actually examples of rent-seeking and corporations trying to game the system, which amounts to crony capitalism.
But has crony capitalism like that displayed in Davos become a catch-all term? The challenge for free markets, and for capitalism, is manifold: the message is tarnished, the frames are poor, and, fundamentally, the moral case for what they achieve is missing.
On this week's podcast, the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes is joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative Rebecca Lowe to discuss these challenges.
In the UK, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. And according to the latest stats, one in eight young people have a mental health problem. One big problem is access to treatment. Mental health services are underfunded, leaving many people stuck on waiting lists. But what are the wider social and economic factors that are causing poor mental health in the first place? Is the economy itself damaging our mental health? Is modern life making us sick? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith talks to Hana Riaz, who is researching the impact of gentrification on mental health, NEF organiser Becki Winson, and our wellbeing researcher Annie Quick.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Hana Riaz, Becki Winson, Annie Quick
Inside Property is back for the new year! And with a raft of regulatory changes planned for Letting Agents in 2019, who will benefit and who will be losing out? From April, Letting Agents must have a dedicated bank account and insurance for clients’ money; and tenants’ fees will be banned from June 2019. What is morale like amongst Letting Agents, and how will the sector change in the coming years? And as a result of these changes, will the real victory be with the consumer? Host Richard Blanco is joined by David Cox, CEO of Arla Propertymark; Fiona Exley from London Trading Standards; and Business Transfer Agent, Adam Walker.
Investing has proven to be the best way to beat inflation and grow your wealth over the long-term, but how do you get started? And if you do already invest but feel you’ve lost track of your goals or ended up with a jumble of investments, how can you improve things?
In this second edition of a two-part podcast special on saving and investing, Simon Lambert and Georgie Frost dive into how to be a smarter investor. They bust the jargon and look at why people should invest, how to get started, what investments you can choose and how to find the right ones for you. Simon discusses his experience of investing, what he got right along the way and importantly the things he got wrong. But why should you invest? Well, between 1900 and 2017 owning UK shares would have delivered an average return of 5.5 per cent, beating cash savings at 1 per cent and property at 1.8 per cent, according to the respected Credit Suisse Investment Yearbook. There’s no guarantee that history will be repeated, but companies should always have the ability to put money to productive use and reward investors with rising share prices off the back of their profits, dividend payouts, or interest on bonds.
Opinion surveys consistently suggest that the British public is overwhelmingly hostile to immigration - a hostility which shapes our immigration policies in many ways - often negatively. However, if we dig a little deeper into the polling data, it becomes clear that most people in Britain are not pro or anti immigration per se. Despite overall hostility to immigration, there are types of immigration that are widely accepted, or even popular with the general public. Today we're joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz, the author of our latest report into migration. Kristian proposes a new post-Brexit immigration policy that would capitalise on the nuances in public opinion to push for the most liberal migration policy possible.
In part one of two This is Money podcast specials, we tackle savings. When savings are mentioned, the first thought that springs to mind for many is: rates are low, what's the point? In the latest This is Money podcast, assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost are joined by James Blower, the Savings Guru to explain why savings are important. James has inside knowledge of the industry, having helped a number of challenger banks set up their savings business. We talk about what the point of saving is and what you need to consider at different stages - and ages - of your life. How do you save for your children, what about Isas, does higher risk equal higher reward and how do you save for a house? We also talk about why the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is important and whether saving in cash over investing is ever a worthwhile exercise. James takes us behind the scenes at how rates are set and reveals why he believes better deals are on the horizon for savers.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson talk to Alex Bryson, Professor of Quantitative Social Science at University College London. Alex is one of the UK’s leading figures in sports economics and he firstly explains what sports economics is and how it can be used to draw policy inferences in other more familiar areas of economics. Franz, Matt and Alex then discuss the findings of Alex’s paper looking at whether people discriminate against black players when picking their ‘fantasty football’ team and what this might tell us about labour market discrimination. How football referees’ performances are impacted by their employment contract and how having 50,000 vocal fans scrutinising their decisions affects their decision-making are other topics under discussion. Finally, Alex explains how data from baseball can help us understand individual effort choices when working as part of a team.
Last week, the Prime Minister suffered a historic defeat, after the Withdrawal Agreement was voted down in Parliament by a margin of 230 votes. Today we're joined by Victoria Hewson and Dr Radomir Tylecote, of the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit. Interviewed by Madeline Grant, the pair examine what these developments mean and what renegotiation with the EU could hold, especially when it comes to securing the UK's ability to have an independent trade policy. They also discuss preparation for a 'no deal' Brexit or WTO departure, and the importance of timing and sequencing in trade negotiations. Finally, they assess the continued impasse around the Irish Border question.
Victoria Hewson, Dr Radomir Tylecote, Madeline Grant
Inflation is within a whisker of its long-term target of two per cent – does that mean an interest rate rise off the table in 2019? Assistant editor Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost talk about the latest inflation figures in the This is Money podcast – including why it has fallen, where it is heading next and what it means for savers. Savings rates are up, with nearly 100 accounts now matching or beating inflation. Lee explains a nifty trick on how to beat inflation with a one year fixed-rate savings account and boost the rate even further. We also discuss the House of Lords report which let rip over RPI and CPI, and why it matters to the pound in your pocket. Meanwhile, we reveal why it is important to not penny pinch on your travel insurance and how the zero per cent beer market is booming – and it's not just because of 'dry January'. This week, we don't have one, not two, but three coin stories for your enjoyment. How euro coins rattling around in your home could be worth a pretty penny and why 50p coins have had a moment in the sun.
In any society there are ‘elite’ positions that command a high income and, more importantly, high status. Unsurprisingly, there is intense competition for these positions. But what happens when a society turns out more people qualified for these roles than the number of roles actually on offer? On this week’s podcast, the IEA’s Head of Education Dr Steve Davies discusses what he calls the ‘over-production of elites’ in society. The problem, he explains, is that elitism, unlike many things, is a zero-sum game – to be in the elite means you are not like 90 per cent or more of the population as a whole. As a result, the ever-increasing number of UK university graduates or American PHDs students leads to bitter resentment towards those with similar qualifications, who have managed to secure elite jobs. Steve talks about how elitism affects our views of a fair society, what it means for the concept of meritocracy, and how societies go about addressing perceived issues of unfairness.