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!
We were delighted to welcome Jonathan Isaby this week, who addressed the Society in a talk at Trinity College on the relevance of the national debt and the budget deficit to students. The talk, entitled “Generation Screwed”, was very insightful in explaining why we as a generation are particularly burdened with the debt.
Mr. Isaby put it to us that it is prudent to seek to manage government budgets at whatever level, be it local council or national, in the same way as we would seek to manage our own household budget: balancing the best quality with the best price, rather than the tendency of public spending to be unconcerned with both cost and quality of public service provision.
Public choice theory and that personal and government spending may involve similar considerations were novel concepts for some in attendance. It was therefore a pleasure to see many people of a variety of political persuasions were in attendance to hear these concepts explained for the first time and that all had the opportunity to ask questions, with some who advocated greater borrowing and spending challenging Mr. Isaby’s position. Hence we had a very stimulating discussion with all hearing both sides of the debate.
We would like to thank Mr. Isaby for a very interesting evening and would be delighted if he would address us again in future.
Pictured is Jonathan Isaby speaking to the Hayek Society and the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s “Generation Screwed” student protest outside the Bank of England in March 2015, with those in attendance displaying the value of the national debt.
Thank you very much to Diego Zuluaga, International Research Fellow at Institute of Economic Affairs, the London think-tank, who came to speak to us this week about the future of China’s economy for our first speaker event of term.
Mr. Zuluaga spoke to us about a range of political and economic factors affecting the situation, such as the property-building bubble and the impact of widespread illegal internal migration.
Here are a few photos of the event.
We were delighted to welcome all our new members and especially Sam Bowman, Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, the London think-tank, to address us over drinks at our first event of term; a welcome wine reception for members new and returning.
Sam spoke to use about using market solutions to combat poverty and the principles of Bleeding Heart Libertarianism.
You can view a few photos from the event here:
IWe’ve got a fantastic term of events lined up for you all, the first of which I have the pleasure of announcing now:
All Members new and old are warmly invited to attend our Wine Reception this coming Tuesday, with guest speaker Sam Bowman.
Sam Bowman is Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, the economics think-tank in London. He will be available to chat to Members throughout the evening, as well as delivering a brief address and answering any questions. Sam has made regular appearances on UK national television news, as well as being ranked this year as a UK top-ten Most Influential Economist by CITY A.M., the London financial daily.
The event will take place from 19:00 in the Charles Wellbeloved room, Harris Manchester College (Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TD). The evening is an opportunity for members to get to know each other, more about the society and upcoming events. Be sure not to miss Sam Bowman’s address from 19:30!
Like all our events, this event is free and not ticketed, but to make sure we don’t run out of drinks too early, we recommend that you RSVP so we have a good idea of expected numbers. You can RSVP by joining the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1064830386875022/.of intellectual viewpoints.
The Hayek Society works together with prominent institutions like the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute not only to bring high-profile speakers to Oxford, but also to offer opportunities to our members like internships or invitations to external events. Be sure to ask Sam about opportunities at the ASI!
We very much look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
On behalf of the Committee of the Oxford Hayek Society,
To keep informed of all our future events, sign up to our Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/OxfordHayekSociety
Top-ten ranking economist Ryan Bourne will talk to us in November about Piketty’s economics. Ryan has debated Piketty on UK national news. Stay tuned for the date!