The Banny State

November 29, 2018

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 the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes 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.

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The economics of dating

November 23, 2018

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? If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe via Apple Podcasts.


Innovation in Education

November 15, 2018

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.

If you like what you hear, be sure to subscibe to our podcast channel IEA conversations.


Equal Pay Day: Unravelling the victimhood narrative

November 9, 2018

This year, Saturday November 10th is 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. 

Today, 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 posisitve 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. 

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

Download the IEA briefing, ‘The Gender Pay Gap: 2018 Briefing”, for free here.


Budget 2018: Taxation tricks and unfunded treats

October 30, 2018

“The era of austerity is finally coming to an end”, announced Philip Hammond in his Budget Day speech to the House of Commons yesterday. Well it certainly seemed like it, judging by the Chancellor’s policy announcements, which included a slew of new spending commitments – all with very little detail on how any of it was to be funded.

There were pledges of more than £20bn in additional annual funding for the NHS by 2023, an extra £779m for social care, £1bn for the armed forces and £675m for a ‘Future High Streets’ fund, to name but a few. But with UK debt still approaching 88%, the highest level since 1966, is it fair or just to turn on the spending taps and ask the next generation to carry the burden and eventually foot the bill.

So, was this an almost-Halloween Budget full of taxation tricks and unfunded treats? Joining me to give their take on yesterday’s Budget, policy changes and spending commitments is Mark Littlewood, Director General at the IEA and Kate Andrews, Associate Director at the IEA.

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


Do millennials give top marks to Marx?

October 25, 2018

This week on Live from Lord North Street, the IEA’s Digital Manager Darren Grimes sat down with the Director of FREER, Rebecca Lowe and the IEA's Editorial Manager Madeline Grant.

Are millennials giving top marks to Marx - or could they be more libertarian than we think? Rebecca and Madeline put the stereotype of the millennial Marxist under the spotlight and examine where things might not be so clear cut. Finally, they look at ways free markets can craft a positive case for capitalism.

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


Brexit: A global view

October 19, 2018

This week on Live from Lord North Street, the IEA’s Editorial Manager Madeline Grant sat down with the Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, Todd Lamb. The Lt Governor talks about his trip to London and why he’s so passionate to explore the future trading opportunities between the UK and his state of Oklahoma, as well as the US overall.

Also joining the podcast are Steve Baker MP and the Director of the IEA's trade unit Shanker Singham.

The three discuss the strength of the Special Relationship and how the United Kingdom can reap the benefits of Brexit through a free trade agreement, with the US being one of the biggest prizes.

The Lt Governor made clear that there are many in the USA who are eager to get started on a trade deal.

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


The Christian Case for Capitalism

October 12, 2018

On our podcast this week, Digital Manager Darren Grimes discussed the relationship between capitalism and Christianity with our Senior Academic Fellow Philip Booth and Father Marcus Walker, Rector of St Bartholomew’s Church in London.

Following recent, seemingly anti-capitalist, interventions by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, they assessed the extent to which the Church of England can still be considered the “Conservative Party at Prayer”.

They also examined the treatment of markets, free exchange and private property in scripture.

Finally, they hypothesised that the decline of religion in our society has coincided with the growth of the State, and a growing sense that the government, not private institutions or families, should take responsibility for societal ills.


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?