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By Ralph Harris, Arthur Seldon

From the mid Fifties to the past due Nineteen Eighties, Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, as common director and editorial director respectively of the IEA, battled opposed to a standard knowledge which used to be antagonistic to markets. finally, by means of strength of argument, they overcame a lot of the resistance to marketplace principles, and within the procedure tested the Institute's bold effect in shaping either opinion and coverage. This Occasional Paper starts with a transcript of a talk with Harris and Seldon which supplies many insights into how they labored and what hindrances they encountered. 8 amazing students, every one accustomed to the paintings of the Institute, then supply commentaries which verify its impression on pondering and the problem to govt which it constituted through the Harris/Seldon years.

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Additional resources for A Conversation With Harris & Seldon (Occasional Paper, 116)

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All of that is at risk in a globalised world. So we want freer markets, I mean really freer markets, freer labour markets as well as freer product markets, and I worry that we don’t have that in Europe. SE: Do you agree with that, Arthur? 59 a c o n v e r sat i o n w i t h h a r r i s a n d s e l d o n AS: I agree with the general direction of it. I think it’s a question of weighing up the impact that this will have on the power of governments to rule in the areas where they have sovereignty. I think that the technological changes of the past ten or fifteen years centred on the internet, and the freedom it gives to people in Asia and Africa and Europe and America to exchange or trade with less ability of government to control it, mean that in the end this advance in technology will have the greatest effect on the framework of law that governs the inter-relationships between nations.

48 t h e c o n v e r s at i o n RH: What is good for you – what they think is good for you. AS: ‘We are the one supplier. ’ So you are caught. ‘We are the sole supplier of the things that we think you ought to have. ’ Government is not run by the people, it’s run by the bosses, the bosses who can organise and activate and influence. This notion of government has made prisoners of us all. RH: Alas, you need government, but big government is subject to such flaws, incorrigible flaws. Big government is irresponsible government because they can’t know all the circumstances of the nation, the society, the families that they are administering.

SE: Arthur, you have written that cash gives choice and dignity, whereas welfare systems enslave. Could you say something more about that? AS: Yes. Our welfare state gives to the poor, the sick, the halt, the lame and the blind. It gives them goods and services, which means treating them like children who have no power to choose or make or have a view. You treat them as though they were aged eight, ten or twelve. They have no choice. ’ A welfare state that was sensitive to the feelings of people being helped would say you can have either cash or kind, and you take the risk.

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