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.
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.
A year ago bitcoin could do no wrong – now it has slumped to 79 per cent below its peak. So what went wrong for the much vaunted cryptocurrency? The mania of a year ago gave way to a bust after Christmas and apart from a few short-lived rallies bitcoin has been mainly on the slide since. That’s not to say it has no use - the cryptocurrency and underlying technology are fascinating - but just because something has some value does not mean it can’t end up in a bubble. On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Georgie Frost and Myron Jobson look at what went wrong for bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies and what we can learn from the boom and bust. Also on this week’s show, they look at some more durable investments, companies that have paid a rising dividend for a decade or longer – and how some have seen big rises in their share price. And finally, Simon talks us through the 2,100 road trip he took with his family to test out VW’s California campervan – and whether swapping your family car for a van that’s ready for adventure could ever be a smart move?
As stock market turmoil spreads across the globe, the advice is to keep calm and carry on, folks. In the latest This is Money podcast, editor Simon Lambert and host Georgie Frost discuss what's causing it, how long will it go on for and how concerned we should be. Because we're a positive bunch, we also reveal the shares that have rocketed over the last five years, some by more than 1,000 per cent. Also, we answer a reader query about state pensions - can couples inherit it from each other and how much might they get? Elsewhere, we take a look at the best way to clear your buy-to-let loan and discover how to bag a property bargain.
The New Labour government introduced a national minimum wage (NMW) in 1999. At first this was opposed by the Conservative party, but they have since joined a growing political consensus. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) are tasked with recommending NMW rates that 'help as many low-paid workers as possible without any significant adverse impact on employment or the economy’. The LPC’s apparent success in achieving this, may be one reason for growing political census, so it is perhaps worrying that a National Living Wage (NLW) is being set without these considerations. Len Shackleton, Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham and Editorial and Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, sets out these issues and more in a recent IEA paper on Restructuring Minimum Wages. Prof. Shackleton argues that the system has become overly complex and recommendations made by the Taylor Review will only add to this complexity. In this interview we consider his proposals and what the future may hold for UK minimum wages.
Adam talks to Destiny Onisile and Jessica Tonwe, two millennials, about their attitudes to saving money to coincide with British Savings Week. They discuss how ignorance and confusion lead to a reluctance to save and how student debt create poor financial habits that can make debt attractive and saving something they believe is for older generations. They also explore if there’s anything that would encourage young people to save or learn about finance.
Host Georgie Frost is joined by Assistant Editor Lee Boyce and motoring Editor Rob Hull. It’s the cash and cars edition. Are reports of it’s death greatly exaggerated? If not, are we as a society and our financial institutions ready to go cashless?! Big Brother claims at Lloyds; Aston Martin Gears up for a £5bn float and £48.5m for a Ferrari anyone? Bad luck, that one has just sold – but don’t worry. What about a Lada for the bargain price of 75 grand?!
In this episode of Policy Matters, host Matt Dickson talks to Laura van der Erve from the Institute for Fiscal Studies about the merits of doing a university degree, and what recent evidence suggests are the relative labour market returns to degrees in different subjects at different institutions. With almost 50% of young people in England going on to Higher Education, and with tuition fees of £9,250 for most courses, it has never been more important to understand the impact on earnings of studying different subjects and at different HE institutions. Laura describes recent research from the IFS looking at graduate outcomes and explains some of the difficulties in pinning down the impact of a particular course on later earnings and employment. They then discuss social gradients in attending university and the extent to which inequalities have been impacted by changes in tuition fees. Finally, talk turns to thinking about the sorts of things students need to know in advance in order to make an informed decision about where to apply and what to study, how the government can help with this, and the limits of information provision as a policy.
Ever heard of money flipping? It’s a new scheme doing the rounds on Facebook and social media that promises to turn your £50 into potentially thousands. So how do you do that? Simple really, you pay others to get onto the bottom rung of a pyramid and then recruit more people to move you up a level and get paid yourself. What makes it so dumb is that it doesn’t even try to have the legitimate veneer of famous pyramid schemes of the past. It’s a Ponzi scheme, plain and simple, but what is one of those and who was Charles Ponzi, the man the scams are named after.
On this week’s podcast, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost step back to America in 1920 to find out how Ponzi soared and then crashed – and look at the new money flipping scheme that has brought a trick as old as time to today’s digital age.