We may be leaving the EU – but what should our mode of departure look like? Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Head of Health and Welfare Dr Kristian Niemietz, and Associate Director Kate Andrews – to discuss the pros and cons of the so-called ‘Norway Option’ – a form of Brexit under which the UK would leave the European Customs Union, but remain in the Single Market. The ‘Norway model’ refers to two key European organisations: The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA). Norway (along with Liechtenstein and Iceland) is a member of both. And the idea has been gaining traction recently, with the government’s Chequers model looking unpalatable to EU negotiators, and the British public alike. Yet although Kristian is a proponent of the Norway option – it’s not quite as simple as that. He would probably back a Hard Brexit – provided we had a realistic chance of becoming a deregulating, free trading outside of the Single Market. Unfortunately, here the Zeitgeist is very much against free market types, he argues.
With power struggles within Parliament dominating the headlines, it’s all too easy to forget the bigger picture of our departure from the EU. Yet, with public consultations opening up about our first bilateral trade agreements, this debate is continuing – though perhaps not getting the attention it deserves. Today we’re joined by Shanker Singham, Director of the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit, and Senior Policy Analyst Dr Radomir Tylecote. They examine these consultations, what it could mean for business – and what the government should be doing to give firms more certainty and help them prepare for the future. Finally, they examine public opinion towards free trade. If recent polling is anything to go by, the public mood is decidedly anti-protectionist – just as it was in the 19th century, when free exchange triumphed over mercantilism in the battle of ideas.
Almost everyone is in favor of advancements in green energy. But we’re still a long way off from cleaner sources being able to take over from more traditional forms of energy, like fossil fuels. If we were to make the switch now, it would inevitably mean moving from a high-energy society to a low-energy society. But what would this mean in practice?
Today we’re speaking with the IEA’s Head of Education, Dr Steve Davies. Steve paints a picture of radical changes that would have to be made in order to adapt to a low-energy society. Two major changes include a return to agriculture focus in local areas, with over 30 per cent of the population needing to return to the farms to make sure communities could be fed. Furthermore, it would almost certainly mean the return of traditional gender roles, as it was the many advancements in energy in particular, that enabled women to liberate themselves out of the home and into the workforce. And while many people who advocate for a low-energy society seem to think that the things they like will continue, while the things they loathe will be scrapped, Steve argues that many conveniences, and indeed miracles, of modern society – like international plane travel and use of the internet – would be wiped out almost completely, with only the world’s elite having access to such luxuries.
Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and Research Director Jamie Whyte on the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. Interviewed by News Editor Kate Andrews, they discuss how – despite all the praise around the NHS the past few weeks – the system is an international laggard on many key measures including health outcomes, survival rates and waiting times. Whilst cash injections may help in the short term, they will prove to be a waste of taxpayers’ money if structural changes are not made alongside investment. Far from celebrating the NHS this week, policymakers should be considering wholesale reform of the centralised system to improve patient care and save lives.
Today we’re joined by the Advisory Board of our International Trade and Competition Unit, made up of world-renowned experts in trade policy – including Sir Lockwood Smith, John Weekes and Alan Oxley, who join us today, along with ITCU’s Director Shanker Singham. Interviewed by the IEA’s Madeline Grant, they give us a global view of Britain’s place in the world – and their prognosis of how our negotiations have progressed so far.
They examine best practice in a range of different areas, including negotiating tactics, and discuss what an optimal free trade arrangement with the EU would look like. They also lay out some of the potential dangers and obstacles Britain may face in reaching this outcome. Finally, they consider how an independent Britain could advance the cause of free trade on the world stage.
Sir Lockwood Smith, John Weekes, Alan Oxley, Shanker Singham, Madeline Grant
Here in the UK, we hear a great deal about the Donald Trump administration – but how do we get past the hyperbole and hysteria to figure out what’s really going on across the pond. Today we’re joined by Dr Tom Palmer, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and Vice President for International Programs at the Atlas Network. Interviewed by the IEA’s News Editor Kate Andrews, Tom discusses the President’s modus operandi, his top priorities – and the internal workings of the White House. They also evaluate the success of Donald Trump’s tax reforms – and whether his reluctance to find common cause with Democrats may make it more likely that these reforms could ultimately be overturned.
The herd mentality that assumes university is the only path to reaching one’s full potential has come under fire in recent years. Student loan debt – and the interest on that debt – is rising, and yet a university degree certainly seems to be no guarantee of securing decent, highly-skilled jobs. Today we’re joined by Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial Fellow at the IEA. Interviewed by Digital Officer Madeline Grant, the pair discuss whether Britain’s love affair with higher education is sustainable, and whether students are getting a raw deal from their time at university. They also examine ways in which the university funding model could be reformed to create better outcomes for students and the wider economy.
The advance of AI and robotics brings many challenges as well as huge opportunities – and public concern about changes in the labour market has been mounting in recent years. But is our pessimism justified? Len Shackleton - the IEA’s Editorial Fellow and author of a recent report into robotics and the future of work - speaks to Digital Officer Madeline Grant, and examines whether we might be overstating our predictions of widespread job loss. They also evaluate some of the policies currently being proposed by politicians in response to these emerging technologies.
The past 18 months have been a political whirlwind in both the UK and USA.
Britain’s departure from the European Union presents the opportunity for a free trade deal to be forged between the two countries. But will the opportunities be seized upon in a timely manner, or at all? Today the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood speaks to Michael Carnuccio, President and CEO of the E Foundation for Oklahoma, a think tank aiming to grow Oklahoma State’s prosperity in the long term. Michael also gives an update on politics overseas, his assessment of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, and his predictions for the November midterm elections.
Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Research Director Dr Jamie Whyte, and Catherine McBride, Senior Economist in the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit, who analyse the future of Britain’s financial services post-Brexit. Interviewed by the IEA’s Digital Officer Madeline Grant, the pair discuss to what extent Brexit will actually effect the vibrancy of Britain’s financial services, and what opportunities lie outside of European Union for the finance industries. Catherine and Jamie give particular focus to the fear-mongering, perpetuated by certain camps, around the future of financial services, arguing that the EU’s regulatory fixations have held the City of London back for years, and made it significantly harder for genuine competitors to enter the market.