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By Ralph Harris, Arthur Seldon

From the mid Nineteen Fifties to the overdue Eighties, Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, as common director and editorial director respectively of the IEA, battled opposed to a standard knowledge which was once adverse to markets. ultimately, 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 off with a transcript of a talk with Harris and Seldon which gives many insights into how they labored and what stumbling blocks they encountered. 8 individual students, each one acquainted with the paintings of the Institute, then offer commentaries which examine its impact on considering 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)

Sample text

It’s the greatest change since the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s – textiles and all that – and it is difficult to see that it will have less than fundamental effects on the power of government to rule its territories. SE: How do you see that, Ralph? RH: I am normally optimistic and hope for the best and can see hope for the future. I am less optimistic than Arthur about the whole European entanglement. The removal of barriers to trade, the removal of barriers for the free movement of men and of capital is an excellent thing: it is the free-trade ideal of Adam Smith, which even he thought was utopian.

AS: . . rectitude. We were searchers after the truth, and the papers on the left, which had adverse thoughts that we were right-wing and so on, quite soon accepted that we were raising serious questions which they had ignored in much of their work. RH: This was the strange thing – Arthur would always make it very 37 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 clear in his prefaces. He wrote these masterly prefaces to every study, and he would specify our approach was to examine the ways in which markets could better serve consumer preferences that are changing, and progressing in dynamic society, and so forth.

AS: I think not much notice of us was taken by government people until 1966, when a minister quoted a paper of ours that argued that the so-called National Plan of the government was going to lapse or fail. We then began to feel that if we managed to get our work known by people in office they would take us more seriously than they seemed to be doing in the early years. And from about the mid 1960s I would say that we had a feeling that we were at last being heard. But that was a full ten years after we started.

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