The “resource curse” hypothesis postulates that resource-rich countries are doomed to stagnation. However, a number of countries with high levels of economic freedom demonstrate that it is possible to build a prosperous economy with a significant share of GDP from the sale of minerals. It is not the price of a barrel, but the quality of institutions – namely, secure property rights, a favorable tax regime, minimal red tape – that determine whether oil is a blessing or a curse.
What caused the fall in oil prices in 2014? How will global politics be affected by the changing energy environment? Will countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia stick to the traditional model of “resource nationalism” or are we likely to see elements of modernisation?
Find out on Tuesday, 21th Feb (Week 6), at 6.30 pm. The address is Deakin Room, Founders Building, St. Antony’s College (62 Woodstock Rd).
Our guest speaker will be Peter Kaznacheev, an energy economist, researcher and columnist. He runs the Centre for Resource Economics, a think tank, and a consulting firm helping businesses to adapt to the new era of cheaper oil. Previously, he worked as a business developer at BP, and before that (in 2002-2005), as a senior advisor in the Russian Presidential Administration.
Peter is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, a network of international scholars founded by F. A. Hayek. His most recent policy paper Curse or Blessing? How Institutions Determine Success in Resource-Rich Economies was published by the Cato Institute.
Being a Hayek Society, we are starting a series of discussions on Friedrich Hayek’s heritage. Our initial meeting will be dedicated to The Road to Serfdom, the book that became a powerful and influential manifesto for many generations of classical liberals.
Hayek warns of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from central planning. Now that the global anti-liberalism, both in its leftist and rightist version, is on the rise, how can we avoid ‘the road to serfdom’?
- What’s wrong with central planning?
- Can we have political liberty without having economic freedom?
- Why socialist ideas are so appealing to intellectuals?
- How does propaganda help dictators survive?
- What can a book written half-a-century ago teach us about the world we live in?
Let’s discuss! We encourage you to (re-)read The Road To Serfdom, at least partially, and prepare your thoughts and questions. FREE BOOKS from the Institute of Economic Affairs will be waiting for you.
Date: Friday, 17th Feb (Week 5), 5.30 pm.
Location: Deakin Room, St. Antony’s College
After the discussion, we can have a dinner at St. Antony’s College for £4.50 only and then go on a Friday’s pub crawl!
Many thanks to Geoffrey Neale, ex-Chairman of the U.S. Libertarian Party, for coming to meet us on January, 25th.
The third largest political party in the U.S., it was founded in 1971 as a response to the Vietnam War, conscription, and the end of the gold standard. After resigning as an LP Chairman, Geoff inspired the foundation of the International Alliance of Libertarian Parties. In 2016, he took part in Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign which became the most successful LP electoral campaign to date.
At King’s Arms, Geoff enjoyed discussing British and American politics over a pint — we did too!
Oxford Hayek Society invites all Oxford students and faculty to our first meeting of the 2015/16 academic year.
More information »
Many thanks to Professor Evans for a most interesting lecture on the past, present and future of the UK political economy on Monday. In under an hour he covered 200 years of the UK public sector, from the Napoleonic Wars to present, the nature of government, Adam Smith, governance in the digital age and more besides!
There was a very engaging discussion afterwards during the Q&A and continued over drinks, on topics ranging from the UK’s economic relations with China to Brexit.
Here are some photos from the event:
We hope our supporters have enjoyed this term’s programme of events and we look forward to welcoming you back in Trinity.
Many thanks to Linda Whetstone for coming to speak to the Hayek Society on Monday. Linda Whetstone is Chairman of Network for a Free Society and a member of the boards of the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation USA, the Mont Pelerin Society and the Istanbul Network for Liberty.
Linda addressed the issues most in common in affecting the world’s poorest, including a lack of property rights, widespread corruption and violence in autocratic regimes, with the threat of prison and abuse faced by those who openly discuss democracy, and the many obstacles to setting up business. She also examined successful cases, such as Hong Kong; once one of the world’s poorest places, with few natural resources, where real poverty fell by half in just ten years, and India, where the introduction of property rights in some areas has meant farmers can club together to invest in wells and tractors to share between fields they now own as well as work.
Everyone took a copy of the Ideas for a Free Society CD, a free mini-library of 125 texts containing a selection of contributions by some of the primary scholars and thinkers who have developed ideas which relate to the free society and their applications to public policy. This is distributed to 50 countries around the world to partners of Network for a Free Society, who then distribute copies to schools and Universities.
Because of the limited access there is to texts in many countries around the world, Network for a Free Society created this mini-library to make it easy to copy and share: all you need is a PC with a PDF reader. Although these are fairly old fashioned technology they are relatively cheap to send and this makes texts available in countries where internet connection maybe too slow or expensive to be widely useful and available. As well as English, the CD is available in languages including French, Chinese, Kyrgyz, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi.
Find out more about the work of the Network for a Free Society here.
Committee Member Anne Cremin did a sterling job this evening, representing the Society at the Oxford Forum Debate. Speaking in opposition to the motion, Anne argued that it is not fair for the lowest paid to fund free education through taxes for the benefit of those who will go on to earn much high wages as graduates. She also made the point that opponents of tuition fees support unfair alternatives, such as the graduate tax.
Guy Butler, the Oxford Forum President, said ” While there was no formal adjudication or audience result it seemed pretty clear that the majority of the audience sympathised with the opposition.”
Well done Anne for winning them over!
Many thanks to everyone who came this evening for a very successful event with our guest speaker Christopher Snowdon, the Institute of Economic Affairs’s Director of Lifestyle Economics. Christopher’s talk on sugar taxes, their ineffectualness and their causing most harm to the poorest promoted some very interesting questions and further discussion and debate over drinks afterwards.
You can read Christopher’s report on sugar taxes, jointly written with Rob Lyons, which was distributed this evening, here.
The Oxford Hayek Society wish to thank two Committee Members who are stepping down at the end of this term for all their hard work.
Our thanks go to Wojciech Woźnicki, who has been most valued for his support in booking meeting venues, and to Sammy Jordan, whose thorough work supporting financial matters has been fundamental to securing the Society’s future.
Wojciech will be leading the Oxford Forum from next term to further the cause of freedom of speech within Oxford University and we wish him very well in this endeavour. Sammy is returning to George Mason University to continue her studies after a term abroad on a visiting student programme and hopes to return in the future for postgraduate studies: we look forward to welcoming her back to the Committee.
Thank you to everyone who came to the end of term social! It was a pleasure to catch up with many regular members and especially to meet several people who came to a Hayek Society event for the first time, keen to find out more about our activities and how to get involved. I hope to see you all at our next event!
Thank you very much to Andrew and Debbie Hall at the Rose and Crown for your splendid hospitality. Thank you also to the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Taxpayers’ Alliance for reading materials to take away that provoked much discussion.
Below are some photos of the event.
After the Christmas holidays, our next meeting will be on 18 January with Ryan Bourne, an event that was rescheduled from this term. Mr. Bourne, Head of Public Policy and Director of the Paragon Initiative at the Economic Affairs, will speak to us on and refute the theories of Piketty, whom he has debated on UK nation TV. Venue details to follow.
Have a good holiday and see you all in Hilary Term!