Towards a Liberal Utopia?

Eighteen liberal academics set out their vision of a liberal utopia in a special publication to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Towards a Liberal Utopia? is a free-market manifesto for the next fifty years covering a diverse range of policy areas, including health, education, social security, pensions, labour markets, tax policy, Europe and the environment.

In addition to these visions of the future, Ralph Harris describes the success of the IEA in changing the climate of opinion in its first 50 years.

Given the impact that the ideas of IEA authors have had on policy-making in the last 50 years – for example in trade union reform, removal of exchange and rent controls, the control of inflation, independence of central banks and the development of road user charging – Towards a Liberal Utopia? is essential reading for those keen to learn about the ideas that should dominate the policy agenda in the coming decades.

Contributors to the book envisage a radically reduced role for the state in all aspects of economic life. Hitherto unimagined private solutions to economic problems will ensure that greater freedom leads to greater well-being. For example, in education, Professor James Tooley envisages a world where formal schools no longer exist and educational opportunities are enmeshed with normal adult life and places of work.

In the chapter on climate change Dr. Roger Bate and Dr. David Montgomery highlight the correlation between low greenhouse gas emissions and economic freedom, suggesting that less not more regulation is the key to reducing carbon emissions.

Dr. Mark Pennington describes how private planning mechanisms can be more effective in achieving desirable economic and environmental goals than bureaucratic local and central governments. These proposals and the others would be underpinned by a ‘constitution for liberty’ described by Dr. John Meadowcroft.

Ends

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