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 Nineteen Eighties, Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, as common director and editorial director respectively of the IEA, battled opposed to a traditional knowledge which used to be adversarial to markets. finally, by way of strength of argument, they overcame a lot of the resistance to industry rules, and within the approach validated the Institute's ambitious effect in shaping either opinion and coverage. This Occasional Paper starts off with a transcript of a talk with Harris and Seldon which supplies many insights into how they labored and what hindrances they encountered. 8 distinctive students, every one acquainted with the paintings of the Institute, then supply commentaries which examine its impression 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)

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And that’s the way they chose to describe you, and then of course went on to say they weren’t altogether sure about how true or important that was. AS: I would say it is difficult to think of any fundamentally justifiable exceptions. Even the things that government does, it has no right to do unless it has given the market a chance to show whether it can supply better. RH: I remember a marvellous phrase that I used on public platforms and university debates; that the collectivists (we didn’t always say socialists, there were collectivists from all parties) were people who believed in free-range chickens, but not in free-range people.

It is a social system which does not depend for its functioning on our finding good men for running it, or all men becoming better than they now are, but which makes use of men in all their given variety and complexities, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes intelligent, more often stupid. That is his defence for the free society. SE: I would like to talk a little about the way the two of you relate now. Yours is a very long-term relationship, and I gather it must be one of the more interesting relationships in your lives?

RH: I kept the shop! How much is just pure chance and happy accident? But we had a complete division of labour. I would consult Arthur about financial matters and all of that, and he would always let me see manuscripts and even proofs. But he was publications. ’ And I learned not to try and breathe down his neck too fiercely. On the other hand, he was happy for me to raise money. The only arguments we ever had were: ‘Why don’t we spend more on publicity? ’ And it was a good point. If we had had unlimited money, we could have saturated the market with some of our writings much more quickly than we did.

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