A Conversation With Harris & Seldon (Occasional Paper, 116) by Ralph Harris, Arthur Seldon

By Ralph Harris, Arthur Seldon

From the mid Nineteen Fifties to the overdue Eighties, Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, as normal director and editorial director respectively of the IEA, battled opposed to a traditional knowledge which was once adversarial to markets. finally, through strength of argument, they overcame a lot of the resistance to industry rules, and within the method proven 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 special students, every one accustomed to the paintings of the Institute, then supply commentaries which check its effect on pondering and the problem to govt which it constituted in the course of the Harris/Seldon years.

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

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Arthur and I sat down and thought, as students, what kind of book is useful? About ten thousand words, Arthur decided was a good read, about forty or fifty pages. The book would have to have a reading list for further reading for students. The book would have to have footnotes to encourage the students to pursue the matters discussed in more detail if they wished. They had to be presented in a lively form and they had to be well written: accessible to a good sixth former, the highest grade in secondary school, or first-year undergraduates.

If the state is reduced to concentrate on those things it has to do, to maintain order, to enforce contracts, to help look after those who cannot live in a free-market state because of a permanent disability, then that would be marvellous, that would be a proper balance in society. SE: Again, it’s been a real privilege to spend some time with you, and I should probably just ask you one final time if there is any particular thing that you would like to have linger with us? AS: I think if you feel you are right you go on arguing until you are established as having told the truth.

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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