27 years after the founding of the Premier League, it would be difficult for anyone to argue that it is anything other than a great success story. It’s the poster boy for a global, open, free-trading Britain. The beautiful game and the English league is an incredibly successful export business. But players’ enormous salaries, and transfer fees of hundreds of millions of pounds are variously described as obscene, ludicrous and even unsustainable. Each year the eyewatering amount of money spent in the business is not merely sustained, it zooms upwards year after year. In 1981 fewer than ten first division English footballers earned more than £175,000 a year. Now, the average player commands 15 times that. But there are many that long for the post-war era of English football - the so-called halcyon days of the game - when footballers were skint and players might have only received £10 as a signing-on fee from a transfer worth £35,000 to the club. Are they justified in missing the romanticism of the game? Or is this a bygone era best forgotten about in the age of hyperglobalisation? Joining the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes to discuss is Mark Littlewood, Director General of the IEA.
In this week’s episode of the IEA’s podcast, the IEA’s Associate Director Kate Andrews sat down with Francis Boulle, who recently took part in the BBC Two’s ‘Mastermind’, braving the black chair to win the coveted Mastermind trophy. What made this particular episode of Mastermind special was Francis’s choice of specialist subject for the interrogation-style question and answer session. Francis chose Friedrich Hayek as his specialist subject, one of the most important liberal thinkers of all time. Kate asked Francis to take him through his journey of becoming interested in Hayek’s work, why he decided to pick him as his specialist subject, if Francis believes Hayek is relevant in 2019 and how his body of work can help us navigate through our current political and economic woes – especially given that amongst young people socialism is now in vogue.
Brexit has revitalized debates about democracy. Restoring democracy and sovereignty can come risk for those strongly committed to free markets — that our fellow citizens might choose another path, perhaps even one that could lead to socialist and freedom-hindering policies. But is that a risk we must take? In a free society, what individual rights should never be infringed on? What should be voted on? And is there a place for technocratic decision-making? In a new paper, the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative, Rebecca Lowe, argues that one clear answer to ‘improving’ democracy here in the UK would be to institute a proper focus on local decision-making — something that, she says, has been overlooked in past years. Rebecca joins the IEA's Darren Grimes to discuss, alongside Adam Bartha, the Director of EPICENTER, the European Policy Information Center.
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.
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.
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
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.
In this episode of the IEA podcast, the IEA’s Head of Education Dr Steve Davies walks the IEA’s Associate Director, Kate Andrews, through a relatively new theory called ‘The Foundational Economy’. This theory puts economic emphasis on material infrastructure in society - things like the water and sewer industries – and argues that these systems of provision have been undermined in the age of privatisation and outsourcing. Steve discusses the theory of the foundational economy, notes areas of support and criticisms, and highlights questions that arise from the theory: Is the British economy too London-centric? Have our politicians overlooked foundations of economic life and their importance? Should these services be delivered by the state?
Welcome to our special - 2018: A Year in Review. Joining our Associate Director Kate Andrews today is IEA Director General Mark Littlewood, Research Director Dr Jamie Whyte and Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative Rebecca Lowe. The four talk through the biggest stories of the year, ranging from the ongoing Brexit negotiations, to the state of British political parties and ideologies, to other important happenings around the world. You’ll also get to hear who Mark, Jamie, and Rebecca have chosen as their person of the year, event of the year, and best of all, their top prediction for 2019.
One underexplored aspect of the global economy in recent decades has been an explosion in the creation, issuing and enforcement of regulations. But is this emerging regulatory state necessary in the modern age, both to protect consumers and adapt to the changing needs of contemporary trade - or is this weight of regulation excessive and harmful to competition? Some even argue that such rules - often issued by unelected officials and removed from the electorate - represent a threat to democracy itself? Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has revived interest in these issues, since the UK may soon be extricating itself from a weight of historic regulatory rules dating back to the Maastricht Treaty. Yet increasing regulation is actually part of a global trend, with the US, China, and to a lesser extent, Japan also defining the trade landscape through their different regimes. Today, the IEA's Head of Education Dr Steve Davies makes the case that the regulatory state, and its push for harmonisation, is damaging competition. Back in 1970s Europe, he argues, you could determine good regulations from the bad by monitoring each country’s individual rules and regulations and learning from best practice. On our podcast today, Steve and the IEA’s Associate Director Kate Andrews discuss these topics and more.