In this week's podcast, we were joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy, Kristian Niemietz, the author of a recent paper which ventures into the realm of fiction to examine the fundamental flaws of socialism. Kristian and Editorial Manager Madeline Grant discuss the popular meme that socialism is a great idea in theory, but only fails due to bad implementation, or corrupt officials - as advocated by trendy millennial socialists today. Kristian debunks this idea, but explores how it has been extremely influential in art, culture and fiction over the last century. We look at why it has proven so compelling, and whether free marketeers need to do more to make the moral and philosophical case for capitalism - as well as arguing on raw economic grounds.
In this episode of Live from Lord North Street, Kate Andrews, Associate Director of the IEA was joined by Zoe Strimpel, a Sunday Telegraph columnist and historian of gender and relationships, and Madeline Grant, Editorial Manager at the IEA, to analyse the role of market forces in shaping our dating habits and personal relationships. Zoe and Madeline look at the early history of dating, and how economic, as well as cultural, trends have determined popular conceptions of romance. They also examine how the digital age - and the arrival of apps like Tinder, Happn and Bumble - have changed the landscape (for better and for worse). Does our data-and-algorithm centric approach help bring people together and make for happier relationships? Or have we instead removed the romance and humanity from the dating world? And what does the future hold for dating, in this new environment?
Have we reached peak nanny state – or as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss recently put it – peak banny state? Politicians seem to be sneaking in nanny state legislation through the back door, often in the face of hostile public opinion. Labour brought in a draconian smoking ban in 2007 despite its 2005 manifesto explicitly exempting drinking establishments that did not serve food. David Cameron made no mention of plain packaging in his 2010 manifesto and the sugar tax did not feature in his 2015 manifesto.
These politicians violate John Stuart Mill’s famous principle that people should be free to do whatever they like, provided they harm no one but themselves. How did we get here? Joining me to discuss the banny state are the IEA’s Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA and the author of Killjoys, a critique of the health paternalism that has been adopted by governments around the world, and Rebecca Lowe, Director of the IEA’s initiative, FREER, which works to promote a freer economy and a freer society.
This year, Saturday November 10th was Equal Pay Day – the day the Fawcett Society calculates that women, on average, essentially start working for free, because of the gender pay gap. But Office for National Statistics calculated just a few weeks back that the pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been on record. Yet Equal Pay Day hasn’t moved. It’s the same day as it was last year. A new IEA briefing, written by Associate Director Kate Andrews and Chief Economist Julian Jessop, argues that this is a result of calculating the gender pay gap in order to obtain a figure nearly 60% higher than the official data. Kate Andrews has put together a podcast to provide ‘alternative listening’ for those who don’t want to engage in fear-mongering around women in the workplace. Kate brings together women from across the political spectrum, with diverse background and views, but who all agree on one thing – that’s that there’s a positive story to tell about women who work. She asks them all: ‘What positive message do you want to send to women today’, and also asks them for a practical policy proposal to help tackle the issues that working women still face.
“The era of austerity is finally coming to an end”, announced Philip Hammond in his Budget Day speech. Well it certainly seemed like it, judging by the Chancellor’s policy announcements, which included a slew of new spending commitments – all with very little detail on how any of it was to be funded. There were pledges of more than £20bn in additional annual funding for the NHS by 2023, an extra £779m for social care, £1bn for the armed forces and £675m for a ‘Future High Streets’ fund, to name but a few. But with UK debt still approaching 88%, the highest level since 1966, is it fair or just to turn on the spending taps and ask the next generation to carry the burden and eventually foot the bill.
So, was this an almost-Halloween Budget full of taxation tricks and unfunded treats? Joining us to give their take on yesterday’s Budget, policy changes and spending commitments is Mark Littlewood, Director General at the IEA and Kate Andrews, Associate Director at the IEA.
This week on Live from Lord North Street, the IEA’s Digital Manager Darren Grimes sat down with the Director of FREER, Rebecca Lowe and the IEA's Editorial Manager Madeline Grant. Are millennials giving top marks to Marx - or could they be more libertarian than we think? Rebecca and Madeline put the stereotype of the millennial Marxist under the spotlight and examine where things might not be so clear cut. Finally, they look at ways free markets can craft a positive case for capitalism.
How can we solve the housing crisis? Why is there such a massive supply-side problem?
What is the greenbelt, and how come it's not all as green as you might think? FREER Director Rebecca Lowe and FREER Co-Chairs Lee Rowley MP and Luke Graham MP are joined by Simon Clarke MP to discuss Simon's recent FREER paper, 'Housing Addressed', which includes innovative proposals that could free up land for 1.5 million new homes across England, while also ensuring better protections for the environment.
Rebecca Lowe, Lee Rowley, Luke Graham, Simon Clarke
On our podcast this week, Digital Manager Darren Grimes discussed the relationship between capitalism and Christianity with our Senior Academic Fellow Philip Booth and Father Marcus Walker, Rector of St Bartholomew’s Church in London. Following recent, seemingly anti-capitalist, interventions by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, they assessed the extent to which the Church of England can still be considered the “Conservative Party at Prayer”. They also examined the treatment of markets, free exchange and private property in scripture. Finally, they hypothesised that the decline of religion in our society has coincided with the growth of the State, and a growing sense that the government, not private institutions or families, should take responsibility for societal ills.
The idea of the “Entrepreneurial State” or the “state as investor” has taken off in recent years – following the release of an influential book by economist Mariana Mazzucato. This view that state investment weighs very heavily in economic growth, now forms the basis of contemporary public policy. Our government’s Industrial Strategy effectively proposes that the state should play a key role in “rebalancing the economy”. Joining us today, the IEA’s Head of Research Dr Jamie Whyte and James Price, Campaign Manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance put this totemic idea under the spotlight. They weigh up how much growth can actually be attributed to state-led investment as is often claimed. Interviewed by Editorial Manager Madeline Grant, they question a number of common assumptions about state-led investment and provision of services – and ask whether contemporary attempts to ‘rebalance the economy’ differ from the old-school industrial strategy of the 1970s – or are merely re-packaging the same bad ideas?
Ahead of the European Council summit in the Austrian City of Salzburg on the 20th of September, we ask what’s next for Brexit. Can the Government stick its beleaguered Chequers proposal? Could the UK take the Norway option whilst negotiating a more comprehensive Free Trade Agreement? To discuss these issues the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes was joined by Stephen Booth of the Open Europe think tank. Stephen argues that Chequers is the only game in town because it’s the only deal that meets the EU’s tests, and because the Government simply does not have the numbers or political capital to move any further away from the EU through a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement. Also joining Darren is Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel at the IEA’s Trade Unit. Victoria argues that the EU’s demand for backstop could lock the UK into the EU’s orbit in perpetuity. For Victoria, the prospect of a our future trading agreement being determined by parliamentary politics is why Brexiteers are so worried about Chequers. There’s a feeling that if we don’t seize the momentum, the pro-Remain majority within Parliament will win the day and the opportunities of an independent trade policy and regulatory autonomy will be lost. The pair give their analysis on what’s next, how we got here and how all roads lead to Ireland.