Trading Views

September 28, 2018

It was almost exactly 200 years ago that David Ricardo first outlined the principle of comparative advantage that helped lay the groundwork for repealing the corn laws here in Britain, and the free-trading consensus that later emerged.

But free trade is coming under attack around the world - since the Financial Crisis especially, tariffs and protectionism have become the ‘new normal’.

Joining us today is the IEA's Head of Research Dr Jamie Whyte, who reminds us of the basic arguments for free trade and takes a look at where and why free trade is coming under attack.

Finally, he examines why there are so many common misperceptions about free trade - with many people having a false sense that there must always be ‘winners and losers’ in all forms of exchange.


Debunking ‘The ‘State-as-Investor’

September 21, 2018

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 the 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?


Chequers: The next move

September 14, 2018

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. Stephen sees the Chequers proposal as a stepping stone to moving further away from the EU regulatory system in the medium to long term.

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.

If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes channel, IEA conversations.


The Case for the Norway Option

September 6, 2018

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 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. 

If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes channel, IEA conversations.


Does the UK need a Second Amendment?

August 24, 2018

This week we’re joined by Dr Steve Davies, Head of Education at the IEA, to discuss one of the most hot-button issues in American politics – the right to bear arms.

Interviewed by the IEA’s News Editor Kate Andrews, Steve gives us a history lesson on the Second Amendment, where the right came from, and what both sides of the debate get wrong.

Steve argues that the right to bear arms came from a philosophy of classical republicanism or civic humanism, which means that in a self governing republic, all citizens have certain obligations and duties upon them, one of which is to use force against outsiders or a tyrannical state.

In this sense, gun ownership is an individual right, but not a private right, making gun advocates and gun control advocates alike wrong in their approach to the issue.

Steve discusses the Swiss-style system, which is one of the best examples of an armed militia, and how its gun laws differ from the United States.

The pair also discuss what makes homicide rate and mass shootings more or less likely, with Steve arguing it has less to do with weapon proliferation, and more to do with societal norms and culture.

Finally, Kate asks Steve the million pound question – does the UK need a Second Amendment?

If you like what you hear, subscribe to our iTunes channel, IEA Conversations.


Project Fact: Assessing ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenarios

August 16, 2018

It seems the likelihood of leaving the EU with no deal is increasing — in fact it’s now 60 per cent, according to Trade Minister Liam Fox.

Also on the up in recent weeks has been the proliferation of apocalyptic scenarios about what this might mean. Planes won’t fly, we’re told, there will be shortages of medicines and food - some claim that basic products like cheese, butter and even sandwiches could become “luxuries” after Brexit.

At the same time, leaving without an agreement would require a tremendous amount of planning and preparation - and there are many legitimate concerns and warnings worth listening to. 

Today we’re joined by the IEA’s Chief Economist Julian Jessop and Senior Counsel Victoria Hewson, to discuss how the UK is preparations for such eventualities and how seriously we should take the dire warnings about what this would entail.

If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes Channel, IEA Conversations.


Trade Talks and the Future of Business

August 9, 2018

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.

If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes Channel, IEA Conversations.


Is dissent on the ascent?

August 2, 2018

You’re listening to Live from Lord North Street, a podcast from the Institute of Economic Affairs.


Back in June, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, because the owner didn’t like her association with President Donald Trump’s administration.


Is this an act of discrimination, perfectly within one’s right, or both?


Today we're joined by Dr Steve Davies, Head of Education at the IEA, to discuss the concept of civility in public life.


Interviewed by IEA News Editor Kate Andrews, Steve argues that any private establishment has the right to refuse service, but that doing so does not come without consequence.


The pair discuss famous instances of discrimination, perpetuated by both the private sector and the state, and try to identify what the lines are between civil dissent and dangerously overstepping the mark.


If you like what you hear, subscribe to our iTunes channel, IEA Conversations. 


Low Energy - What a society run on green energy would look like today

July 26, 2018

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 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.

Those who want a greener planet should be the biggest advocates of technological advancement, Steve argues, as too early a shift to green energy completely could actually pull us back into the past.

If you like what you hear, subscribe to our iTunes channel: IEA Conversations 


The Path to Freedom - In conversation with Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith

July 19, 2018

Today we're joined by one of the world's most decorated economists, Professor Vernon Smith - Nobel Prize winner in economics, and a long-time friend of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Professor Smith gives his analysis of current economic trends in the US and throughout Europe, including his take on Donald Trump's tariffs and obstacles to free trade.

If you like what you hear, be sure to watch Professor Smith's lecture at this year's THINK conference. 

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