Political party leader wins prestigious Seldon Award

Jamie Whyte wins IEA Seldon Prize

Jamie Whyte, leader of the ACT party in New Zealand, was this week awarded the IEA Seldon Award for his publication Quack Policy, Abusing Science in the Cause of Paternalism.

The Seldon Award for Excellence is given to the author who, in the opinion of the judges, has produced the best piece of writing for the IEA in the previous two years.

The award is named after Arthur Seldon, the first Editorial Director of the Institute, in recognition of his extraordinary skills in identifying authors and bringing rigorous and profound free-market economics to a wider audience through the IEA’s publications. Amongst Arthur’s many authors were a number of Nobel Prize winners and we continue that tradition of excellence today. Nobel Laureates Gary Becker, Elinor Ostrom, Oliver Williamson and Ronald Coase have all been IEA authors in the last four or five years.

In Quack Policy, Jamie Whyte explains how the pursuit of evidence-based policy in government had descended into a pseudo-scientific process of producing policy-based evidence. The monograph argues that both the government and the public should be far more sceptical about policies which are purported to be ‘evidence-based’.

Using four policy areas as case studies - minimum alcohol pricing, passive smoking, global warming and happiness – ‘evidence-based’ policymaking is shown to be based on poor science. It also provides a mechanism for academic elites to impose their own values on society as a whole, showing contempt for the wishes of the public.

Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries surrounding the prize, please contact Stephanie Lis, Head of Communications: slis@iea.org.uk or 07766 221 268.

Jamie Whyte’s award winning monograph, Quack Policy – Abusing Science in the Cause of Paternalismcan be downloaded here.

Jamie Whyte is leader of the ACT party in New Zealand. He has previously worked as a management consultatnt, foreign currency trader and as a philosophy lecturer at Cambridge University. He is the author of Crimes Against Logic (McGraw Hill, Chicago, 2004), A Load of Blair (Corvo, London, 2005) and Free Thoughts (ASI, London, 2012). He is a frequent contributor of comment articles to newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, The Times, the Financial Times and City AM. In 2006 he won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism and in 2010 he was runner-up.

The ACT party in New Zealand is led by former Cambridge University philosopher Jamie Whyte. The party is currently in government in coalition and based on two guiding principles:

  • Individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent freedoms and responsibilities.
  • The proper purpose of government is to protect such freedoms and not to assume such responsibilities.

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.

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