Markets and Morality

May must now follow through on her defence of free markets


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Reaction to the Prime Minister's speech at the Bank of England

Commenting on Theresa May’s speech at the Bank of England, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“It is encouraging that the Prime Minister has spoken out in defence of free markets. There can be no doubt that the spread of free market capitalism around the world – particularly in poorer countries – has been the best medicine for alleviating poverty. The poverty rate in China fell from 88 per cent to just 2 per cent between the 1980s and today. And the real incomes of the poorest in Britain have doubled since 1977. It has been precisely measures to allow business to be free and competitive that has moved the UK towards prosperity and growth and Theresa May is right to emphasise this, not disown it.

“Now the government must make good on this rhetoric and give the economy a much needed boost by genuinely embracing enterprise and competition. Scrapping the government’s ‘industrial strategy’- which will only result in more state intervention and prop up loss-making industries – would be a good first step. Deregulation of markets such as energy and housing would also help in vastly improving living standards.

“The government has a great opportunity to liberate the UK economy for the benefit of workers and consumers alike. In recent years progress has been held back often due to political machinations and attempts to appease particular interest groups rather than the economy as a whole.”

Notes to editors: 

For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: [email protected] or 0207 799 8920 or 07791 390 268.

In 2014 the IEA published ‘Selfishness, Greed and Capitalism’, a book which debunks a number of myths which proponents of free markets often find laid at their door. To read more click here.

Further IEA Reading: 1. An Introduction to Capitalism

2. Taxation, Government Spending and Economic Growth

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.



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