* TALKING POINT, BY ANGELA HARBUTT
* iN THE MEDIA
* IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
* YOU'RE INVITED
It seems 2021 has continued where 2020 left off, with a Covid-era cocktail of disappointments and surprises.. and even a few standout moments.
The news bulletins bring a daily diet of all-too-familiar disappointments – I won’t dwell on those here. Instead, I’ll focus on the surprises and standouts we’ve enjoyed at the IEA since the start of the year. The surprises have included the kind words and generous contributions received from our friends and supporters.
As an educational charity, this is our lifeblood. Your encouragement and support enables us to plan our work with confidence – knowing we can deliver and expand our comprehensive programme of research, books, papers, films, webinars, events and much more.
So, heartfelt thanks to those of you who’ve already donated or pledged your support. And if you’re planning to make a gift this year, please do let us know – the more money pledged, the more work we can get underway. Big or small, it all helps.
Another big surprise has been the success of our In Conversation webinars. When we planned the latest series, we never imagined how many major figures from public life would say "yes". Nor did we predict just how popular they would be with our viewers.
But getting to understand the motivations and underlying philosophies of our guests (and probing them on the topics of the day) delivers something one rarely gets to see on the mainstream media – and perhaps explains the series' success. Next up is In Conversation with Rt Hon David Davis MP ([link removed]) on Tuesday 9th February at 6pm.
Before that, on Monday 8^th February, we have a fascinating Book Club event with Ryan Bourne ([link removed]) (formerly of this parish) discussing his upcoming book Economics In One Virus: An Introduction to Economic Reasoning Through Covid-19. For full details of both these events, please see "You're Invited" below.
For my part, one of the standout moments of 2021 has undoubtedly been the launch of our Economics 101 ([link removed]) explainer series of highly watchable ten-minute videos, presented by IEA Head of Education Dr Steve Davies. Parents and teachers tell us this is a great initiative at a time when it’s needed most – and the films have already been watched thousands of times.
This coming week will see the launch of our next series, the History of Economics (12 segments, covering topics from entrepreneurship to world trade) on our YouTube channel ([link removed]) . Combined with Economics 101, these courses give students a head start on their exam revision – and the boost they need to stand out in their UCAS applications.
Our sincere thanks to The Monnery Trust for their generous grant, enabling us to provide both these courses entirely for free.
If you’d like to help us produce further video explainer courses, or support our wider student programme, please do contact me (mailto:[email protected]) . The ideas are there – we just need the funds to make them happen.
Development Director, Institute of Economic Affairs
iN THE MEDIA
* More fuel you! IEA Head of Transport Dr Richard Wellings was swift to condemn reports of a potential fuel duty rise in the forthcoming Budget. Reacting to the story, Richard said: "Fuel duty is a tax on business, trade and jobs, so raising it will damage the UK economy at a time when a strong recovery is desperately needed". Read our full press release here ([link removed]) .
* Statist aid.. Has the prospect of a bonfire of regulations, and the injection of free market competition, been abandoned? Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP announced plans for new state aid rules which will allow taxpayers' money to be spent on subsidising private companies in the UK. IEA Head of Regulatory Affairs Victoria Hewson responded by saying: "Using taxpayers' money to prop up failing businesses is likely to distort competition, slow down innovation and favour incumbents". Victoria's comments were featured in The ([link removed]) Telegraph ([link removed]) .
* Hard labour.. In an IEA blog post, our Editorial and Research Fellow Professor Len Shackleton made the case that "most employment 'rights' are ultimately paid for by workers themselves in terms of lower pay and fewer job opportunities". Len's blog post, which was also published by CapX ([link removed]) , is available to read here ([link removed]) .
* Is the ban on betting sponsorships a mug's game? This week ministers were said to be considering a ban on gambling sponsorships in sport, putting many sports at risk of losing financial investment. Our Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon warned that "the financial damage that will be done to sport by having an entire sector excluded from sponsorship will be enormous". After a year of playing to empty stands, now is not the time to starve cash-strapped clubs of investment. Read Christopher's full article here ([link removed]) .
Despite the former European Commission President saying they "were wrong to over-regulate and interfere too much", the EU continues to go down that road in many areas. And the lifestyle sector is no exception, as our Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon outlines in a new briefing paper for EPICENTER ([link removed]) .
As Christopher outlines in an accompanying article for Spiked ([link removed]) , "The Commission document is full of policies that are either none of its business (smoking bans, food taxes), or don’t work (plain packaging, advertising bans), or would be counterproductive for 'beating cancer' (e-cigarette flavour bans, vaping bans)".
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
* Live with Littlewood.. Could our new spirit of solidarity pave the way for Soviet-style state overreach, as Janet Daley has previously written ([link removed]) ? When this crisis draws to a close, will the dominant narrative be one of governments successfully "taking hold" and handling the pandemic, as Jon Caldara suggests? How do we mend our battered economy – and will the tax burden under Boris Johnson be higher than under almost every post-war Prime Minister?
Catch up here ([link removed]) on the show that brings you free-flowing discussion on the issues that matter with guests Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield; Jon Caldara, President of Colorado’s Independence Institute; Telegraph columnist Janet Daley; Comedian and MoneyWeek columnist Dominic Frisby; Adam Smith Institute Fellow Jonathon Kitson; President of the Oxford Union James Price; Duncan Simpson, Research Director at the TaxPayers' Alliance; and Olivia Utley, Assistant Comment Editor at The Telegraph.
We'll be taking a break next week, but will be back on Wednesday 17th February at 6pm with more analysis, more guests and more fiscal stimulus with the Live with Littlewood quiz!
* A battle of ideas.. IEA Policy Analyst
Alexander Hammond chaired a lively debate between Professor Terence Kealey and Christopher Snowdon over whether intellectual property rights should exist.
Professor Kealey, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, argued that some forms of intellectual property, such as patents, are a "downright menace" and should be abolished.
Christopher instead stated that "there should be no argument over the basic principle that people should be rewarded for ideas that make the world a better place". In his view, intellectual property rights provide a crucial incentive for individuals and organisations to make useful goods and services that benefit us all. Watch here ([link removed]) .
* Levelling down? Why have successive governments failed to redress our economic imbalance?
We have launched a new "Levelling Up" series, in which we will discuss and debate ideas and policies around rebalancing the UK economy with a range of guests. What free market solutions can bring prosperity to all corners of the country?
In the first episode of the series, IEA Head of Public Affairs Emma Revell spoke to journalist and former Conservative Councillor Harry Phibbs about the debate between levelling-up and libertarianism. Is it a false divide? Listen here ([link removed]) .
And if you have any policy ideas which you believe can offer a free market solution to levelling-up the UK – see "Make the (lockdown) Breakthrough" below!
* Personal responsibility or state intervention? This week, IEA Chief Operating Officer Andy Mayer spoke to London Assembly members about the impact of working from home on health and safety regulations. On balance, Andy believes that the current obligations employers have to their employees while working remotely are acceptable. However, any further government interference in health and safety law could increase employment costs and therefore harm the UK's economic recovery. Watch here ([link removed]) .
MAKE THE (LOCKDOWN) BREAKTHROUGH!
Looking for a lockdown project? We're swiftly approaching the deadline for our Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize – why not take part?
The competition is looking for ideas to 'level up' Britain – and there’s a first prize of £50,000 for the winning essay. Our judges are seeking the best answers to this question:
"In the current severe economic climate, what pro-market, pro-enterprise policy would be the best way of supercharging growth, employment and living standards in 'left behind' Britain?"
Why not make lockdown work for you? You can find out all the details at
breakthroughprize.org.uk ([link removed]) .
* IEA Book Club Webinar with Ryan Bourne
On Monday 8^th February at 6pm, t
he IEA Book Club will be hosting Ryan Bourne for a private webinar ([link removed]) on his forthcoming book, 'Economics In One Virus: An Introduction to Economic Reasoning Through Covid-19'.
Chairing this discussion will be Dr Steve Davies, IEA Head of Education, who was the keynote speaker at the IEA’s 2020 Annual Hayek Memorial Lecture, The World After the Pandemic ([link removed]) .
Please note, IEA Book Club webinars are exclusive to members. To find out more about the IEA Book Club, follow the link here ([link removed]) or contact us at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
* In Conversation with the Rt Hon David Davis MP
On Tuesday 9th February at 6pm, the Institute of Economic Affairs will host a discussion with The Rt Hon David Davis MP in the latest episode of our In Conversation series with senior figures from across public life. The event will be chaired by IEA Director General Mark Littlewood, and live streamed on YouTube here ([link removed]) .
David Davis has been the Member of Parliament for Haltemprice and Howden (formerly Boothferry) since 1987. He first joined the government in 1994 as Minister of State for Europe. In opposition, David served as the Shadow Home Secretary, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Conservative Party. He returned to government in 2016, where he served as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and Chief Brexit Negotiator.
* Teachers' Seminar: Incorporating the history of economic thought into the curriculum
On Wednesday 10^th February, 1.45-5pm, the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Vinson Centre for the Public Understanding of Economics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Buckingham will be hosting a free to attend teachers' seminar on incorporating the history of economic thought into the curriculum. The seminar is aimed at A-Level/IB/Scottish Higher teachers of Economics and related subjects.
Sign up for your place now ([link removed]) , and if you have any questions, please email Brittany Davis at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) , and include the name of the school you teach at.
*Upcoming Sixth Form conferences
Throughout February and March, the IEA and the Vinson Centre for the Public Understanding of Economics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Buckingham will be hosting a number of free conferences for Sixth Form students. Find out more here ([link removed]) . You can sign up for any of our planned conferences this term and if you are interested in partnering on a future event please drop Brittany a line (mailto:[email protected]?subject=Sixth%20Form%20Conference) .
* IIMR Money Webinar series
The Institute of International Monetary Research Money Webinar Series continues this year with three upcoming sessions. You can register here ([link removed]) .
On Wednesday 10th February, Dr Dimitrios Tsomocos ([link removed]) of the Said Business School will lead a discussion on 'The role of money in modern macroeconomic modelling'. And on Wednesday 24th February, Gabriel Stein ([link removed]) of Stein Brothers (UK) will present on 'Macroeconomic forecasting and inflation leading indicators; 2021-22'.
These are difficult times for every individual and organisation, including the IEA. Understandably, your priorities will be to look after your loved ones, your family, your work or your business.
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