* TALKING POINT, WITH VICTORIA HEWSON
* MORE THAN HARM GOOD
* IEA PATREON
* MARKETS AND MORALITY
* iN THE MEDIA
* THINK 2021
* IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
* YOU'RE INVITED
Among all of the 'levelling up' and 'building back better' promises we will hear from Her Majesty, next week's Queen's Speech is expected to include a measure of concern to supporters of free markets and a free society: an Online Safety Bill.
First outlined in the 2019 Online Harms White paper, the Bill will introduce a duty of care on digital platforms, to be overseen and enforced by Ofcom (a regulator not universally regarded as a friend of free expression). In my paper, More Harm Than Good ([link removed]) ? The Perils of Regulating Online Content ([link removed]) , published last week as a teaser to the forthcoming IEA book on free speech, I have explored the background to the online harms agenda.
Not too long ago, social media was considered to be an example of the positive contribution technology can make to our economy and society, showcasing liberal values of toleration, limited government and voluntary association, while facilitating exchanges of information unthinkable a generation before. Now, it’s widely believed that democratic processes have been subverted by online disinformation and misinformation, and that children and even adults are at risk of psychological harm and exploitation from offensive or inappropriate material. Digital platforms are portrayed as an unregulated ‘wild west’.
But how much of this is true? My research suggests not much. Instead, the Internet has brought hypertransparency and a moral panic – and of course it suits incumbent politicians who have had their noses put out of joint by political movements across Europe and the United States to blame manipulation and disinformation rather than undertake self-reflection and engage in the battle of ideas.
Ministers have promised protections for freedom of expression in the Bill, and I co-authored a paper with the Free Speech Union ([link removed]) , published last week, suggesting some ways this could be done. Let's hope this Bill gets some much-needed scrutiny in Parliament.
Head of Regulatory Affairs, Institute of Economic Affairs
MORE HARM THAN GOOD?
As Victoria mentioned above, this week the IEA published a new paper on the Online Safety Bill. 'More Harm Than Good? ([link removed]) ' examines the risks associated with, and the potential unintended consequences of, state regulation of online communications.
In an article for Spiked ([link removed]) , Victoria argued that government is mistaken if it believes that IT and compliance professionals can simply design away online harm – without political bias and while protecting free speech.
Victoria also noted that there is very little evidence to suggest content-regulation laws will even have the desired effect of protecting children and vulnerable people from abuse. Instead, Victoria said, governments would be better off giving the police the resources they need to investigate online criminality.
You can read Victoria's article here ([link removed]) and the full IEA research paper here ([link removed]) .
Do you want VIP access to our latest videos, priority invites to our virtual events, or to engage directly with IEA Director General Mark Littlewood and the IEA team? If so, then why not become an IEA Online Patron? For just a small donation you can get all these benefits and more.
The IEA’s Patreon page serves as a membership platform, allowing our followers to become Online Patrons, and support and donate towards our digital content. This gives our supporters and followers the opportunity directly to help the IEA continue to produce stimulating and educational online content.
All income from this service goes to supporting the costs of the IEA’s digital work and online content. Alongside this, our Online Patrons have access to exclusive IEA perks, bespoke benefits, priority access to our content, and much much more.
To visit the page and find out more about the IEA’s Patreon, follow the link here ([link removed]) or watch our trailer here ([link removed]) .
MARKETS AND MORALITY
While we at the IEA often spend our time challenging left-wing ideology, we also enjoy exploring our own differences.
Markets and Morality is the IEA's new regular show, premiering every Sunday at 9.30am. It will explore the social and economic issues where liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and others broadly on the 'right' may find themselves on opposing sides. The first episode – which goes live this morning at 9.30am – looks at the case for lowering the voting age to 16.
Hosted by IEA Head of Public Affairs Emma Revell, EPICENTER Director Adam Bartha will go head-to-head with IEA Economics Fellow Julian Jessop. As mentioned, the show premieres on the IEA London YouTube channel at 9.30am on Sundays but Patreon supporters get early access, so sign up now ([link removed]) to get the next episode early. You can watch this latest episode here ([link removed]) .
iN THE MEDIA
We're all in this together.. In his biweekly column for The Times ([link removed]) , IEA Director General Mark Littlewood turned his attention to the growing divide in economic prosperity between younger and older people.
Mark argued that the lockdown strategy, albeit justified in some cases, has severely impacted young people's prospects, while at the same time pensioners’'incomes have been protected by the triple lock and many continue to receive a raft of free or subsidised perks, like free bus passes.
Mark said: “The younger generation will increasingly — and perhaps rightly — feel they have no real stake in the economy. Their worry about the sort of natural environment they are going to inherit from their parents will surely start to include the economic climate too“.
Mark also appeared on Times Radio to discuss his column and what we can do to improve outcomes for young people, including addressing the cost of housing. You can listen to a clip here ([link removed]) .
Covid rebound...The Bank of England has forecast that Britain will see an economic “bounce back” in the second quarter of 2021, following the success of the vaccine roll-out.
Responding to the revised growth forecast, IEA Economics Fellow Julian Jessop argued that "officials can stop casting around for even more ways to increases the tax burden. A booming economy will do the job of repairing the public finances for them." Julian's comments, which you can read in full here ([link removed]) , were featured in the Express ([link removed]) .
News review... Head of Media Emily Carver appeared as a panelist on the Jeremy Vine show to discuss some of top news stories of the day, including whether Facebook's Oversight Board was right to uphold the ban on Donald Trump, the Jersey fishing row and the continued social distancing regulations.
Freedom to offend...? With a number of Russell Group universities issuing speech guidance to their lecturers and staff, Emily wrote her biweekly column for ([link removed]) Conservative Home ([link removed]) on the government's proposals to bolster free speech in universities.
Emily warned that “overregulation of the education system could lead to a loss of institutional autonomy, and freedom to criticise government policy”. Instead of imposing further bureaucracy on universities, she wrote, the government could start by reviewing the Equality Act 2010.
Looking East... Shanker Singham, IEA Trade Fellow and author of IEA briefing paperhttps://iea.org.uk/publications/eastern-promise-assessing-the-future-of-uk-india-trade/Eastern Promise: Assessing the Future of UK-India Trade ([link removed]) , welcomed the news this week that the UK and India have agreed a new deal for trade and investment worth £1bn. Shanker noted that it is important that Prime Minister Modi acknowledges the challenges, especially in the area of property rights protection. You can read his full comments here ([link removed]) .
The Guardian covered the story ([link removed]) , with reference to Shanker's research. The article explained: "According to Shanker Singham, trade fellow at the free market Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, it’s relatively easy to see what the two countries would want out of an agreement. For Britain, the wins would be improved access for finance and legal services firms, together with lower duties on Scotch whisky”. You can read the full IEA briefing paper here ([link removed]) .
Dizzying deficits... Last week marked President Joe Biden's first 100 days in the Oval Office. In an article for Reaction ([link removed]) , IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham reflected on the new administration's approach to the economy, which includes trillions of dollars of stimulus. Annabel warned that the Commander-in-Chief's embrace of giddying deficits won't end well.
And Economics Fellow Julian Jessop took part in a debate column for 1828 ([link removed]) , arguing against the notion that Joe Biden is setting the US economy on the right track. Julian argued that on economic policy, the praise for Biden is overdone. He also noted that it is not obvious that the US economy actually needs all this stimulus, given activity was already rebounding before the American Rescue Plan was introduced.
We are thrilled to announce our fifth guest speaker for the THINK conference this year: Ruth Kelly, former Labour Party politician and Secretary of State for Transport under Gordon Brown.
THINK 2021 will take place on Saturday, 12th June and is free to attend on Zoom – you can register here ([link removed]) .
For more information, please visit THINKIEA.com ([link removed]) or email the IEA's Education, Outreach, and Programmes Manager Brittany Davis at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) . We hope you can join us!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
*Live with Littlewood
Live with Littlewood was back this week with panelists Dr Andrew Lilico, Executive Director of Europe Economics and a Telegraph columnist, Dr Tom Palmer, Executive Vice President for International Programmes at the Atlas Network and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, Konstantin Kisin, comedian and political commentator, Julian Jessop, independent economist and IEA fellow, and Karin Svanborg-Sjövall, former Director General of Timbro.
They discussed President Biden's first three months in office, the potential for a UK-India trade agreement, and whether "we're all Keynesians now". You can catch up here ([link removed]) .
*Growing paternalism in Europe – Launch of the Nanny State Index
European governments are becoming increasingly paternalistic in the way they regulate the lifestyle choices of their citizens. The Nanny State Index – which ranks 30 countries in Europe based on how much they over-regulate eating, drinking, vaping and smoking habits – paints a grim picture of the tendency towards coercive paternalism on the continent.
To mark the launch of the Index, the IEA will host a webinar on Friday 14th May, from 1-2pm. IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon, who authored the research, will outline the situation across Europe and discuss the best and worst regulatory changes that have been implemented in the last two years with guests from three European countries.
You can watch the webinar live on our YouTube channel here ([link removed]) .
*Exclusive IEA Book Club Webinar with Mustafa Akyol: Reopening Muslim Minds
The IEA is delighted to host Mustafa Akyol, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times, for a private IEA Book Club webinar on his latest book "Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance". The book both examines "the crisis of Islam" in the modern world and offers a way forward.
This event will take place from 6-7pm on Monday 17^th May and will be chaired by IEA Acting Academic and Research Director Syed Kamall.
This event is exclusive to IEA Book Club members. For more information, follow the link here ([link removed]) or contact us directly at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
*In Conversation with the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP
On Monday 24th May, from 6-7pm, IEA Director General Mark Littlewood will be joined by Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for North Somerset, for the latest in our In Conversation series with senior figures in public life.
Dr Fox has been the Member of Parliament for North Somerset since 2021 and has held numerous ministerial positions, including Secretary of State for International Trade under Prime Minister Theresa May. In 2020, the UK government nominated Dr Fox as a candidate for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which saw him reach the last five in the election.
The event will be live-streamed on the IEA Youtube Channel here ([link removed]) .
*MA in Political Economy by Research
The IEA is working with the Vinson Centre for the Public Understanding of Economics and Entrepreneurship at the University of Buckingham on the delivery of an MA in Political Economy by Research.
The programme can be completed by distance learning and is aimed at graduates with a strong interest in the history of economic ideas and the application of economics to questions of public policy.
Online seminars will cover topics on Adam Smith; David Ricardo; John Stuart Mill; Alfred Marshall; the marginalists and neoclassical economics; Karl Marx; Friedrich Hayek and the Austrians; J.M. Keynes; James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock and public choice theory; the Frankfurt School; and behavioural economics.
For further information, please follow the link here ([link removed]) .
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