David Ricardo, the classical economist has been dead for nearly 200 years – but his insights and theories remain immeasurably valuable today. Ricardo was, in many ways, an unlikely economist. Born into a large Sephardic Jewish family, he received little formal education, instead joining his father on the London Stock Exchange at the age of ... Continue reading
The United Kingdom’s House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence recently published the report, “AI in the UK: Ready, Willing and Able?” The recommendations on how the UK can become a global leader in Artificial Intelligence are off the mark. While the report contains numerous uncontroversial and welcome suggestions on such topics as increased use of ... Continue reading
Sajid Javid has recently announced that in future, estate agents will be required to hold a professional qualification, thus adding to the large numbers of people who cannot conduct business without government permission. Around a fifth of the workforce is already in this position. According to the EU Single Market Regulated Professions database, nowhere else in ... Continue reading
Socialism is extremely in vogue. Opinion pieces which tell us to stop obsessing over socialism’s past failures, and start to get excited about its future potential, have almost become a genre in its own right. For example, Bhaskhar Sunkara, the founder of Jacobin magazine, recently wrote a New York Times article, in which he claimed ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Yesterday, the Labour Party announced a plan to introduce free bus passes for people under the age of 25. According to their own estimates, the policy would cost £1.4bn. This was followed by the usual political bickering. The transport minister described the policy as “bribing young people”, and claimed that it would cost far more ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Among statisticians, economists, and business executives, “Big Data” is all the rage. Large and detailed data sets that, until recently, couldn’t even be stored on a computer are now managed and analysed using innovative statistical techniques. Hopes are high that these advances will improve scientists’ ability to predict human behaviour. Some enthusiasts even speculate that ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
What happens when a US President uses his bully pulpit to threaten individual companies? Forget Donald Trump’s escalation of a trade war with China, his fire at Amazon is arguably more dangerous for the long-term health of the US business environment. A thriving market must be underpinned by the rule of law, and due process. ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Fans of Blade Runner – and I am one of them – have to admit that the film has a few moments that, to modern eyes, look a little odd. When our hero Deckard falls for “Rachael”, he already knows that Rachael is a highly intelligent organic robot, with memories uploaded from a human. She ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Listen to the Dear Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow travellers, and one would think that economic inequality in the UK is going through the roof. “We cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality,” Corbyn said last year. Left-wing commentators such as Polly Toynbee and Will Hutton have in the past claimed inequality is ... Continue reading
Economic Theory

Mark Littlewood appears on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions

The IEA's Director General Mark Littlewood appeared on the panel for BBC Any Questions this week, alongside activist Nimco Ali, author Lionel Shriver and Tristram Hunt, former MP and Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Topics discussed included anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the future of Brexit, gender pay gap reporting measures, Facebook and data, ... Continue reading