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.
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.
On our podcast this week, we’re joined by Sophie Sandor, an independent filmmaker and education expert, and Madeline Grant, Editorial Manager at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Interviewed by the IEA’s Digital Manager Darren Grimes, Sophie and Madeline take a look at state education in Britain – which currently operates in a near monopoly for all but the wealthiest. They look at why there has historically been so little room for innovation and disruption in the sector – and why educational outcomes vary greatly dependent on your household income. Finally, Sophie outlines policies which could invigorate education in Britain by promoting parental choice.
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.
Do you identify as part of a generational group? From student politics to social media via milliennial voting patterns and intersectionality, FREER Director Rebecca Lowe and FREER Co-Chair Lee Rowley are joined by commentator Tom Harwood to discuss generational attitudes to freedom and more.