Last week the Keynes Society welcomed Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs and former chief press spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, who reflected on ‘the state of our economy’.
Questions submitted by the virtual audience unsurprisingly revolved around two potential challenges to Britain’s economic stability and security, the impact of Brexit and a Biden presidency. Mr Littlewood emphasised the dichotomy of ‘deal and no-deal’ as an over-simplification, in fact some elements of a deal already exist, such as air traffic protocols. Moreover, he suggested that ‘the question of our relationship with Europe’ would be ‘a perennial one’ and whilst trade deals remain useful, they are not fundamental to the health of an economy.
Mr Littlewood argued that a Biden presidency would likely slow down trading negotiations between Britain and the US, particularly since Biden has shown some scepticism of Brexit in the past. However, he reiterated that the need for a free-trade deal with America might decrease if both join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Agreement (CPTTP).
Further questions from the virtual floor were evidence of how much Eton and partner school students were fascinated by Mr Littlewood’s expert understanding of the economy. They posed questions on the ideal role of state ownership to maximise economic growth, as well as the evidence for and against tax rises.