Bouncing Back or Basket Case: the State of the UK Economy w/ Vicky Pryce, Sam Bowman, William Clouston & Phil Mullan

28 Oct 2023 – 12:15—13:30
Battle of Ideas Festival
Harvey Goodwin Suite
Church House
Great Smith Street

Vicky Pryce, Sam Bowman, William Clouston & Phil Mullan will be discussing the state of the UK economy at the Battle of Ideas festival.

Back in the Noughties, a popular image was of the ‘Polish plumber’, coming to the UK to earn more money. But with UK living standards stalling and Poland’s economy growing, could Brits soon be heading the other way? Labour has claimed that Poland’s GDP per person could overtake the UK’s by the end of the decade. Slovenia could overtake the UK as early as next year.

It seems after the problems of the past few years that the UK economy has been in the doldrums. GDP has barely risen above pre-Covid levels and inflation has lingered for longer than elsewhere. Even the poorest US states have higher levels of GDP per person than the UK. For some commentators, the answer is obvious: Brexit. But that hardly explains the fact that the UK economy has struggled for decades.

Yet perhaps the doom-and-gloom is one-sided. Indeed, government ministers argue that such arguments are talking the economy down. According to IMF figures published in April this year, the UK has the sixth-largest economy in the world with GDP per person similar to France and Italy. The UK remains in the top 10 countries for manufacturing ‘value added’. Our leading universities are regularly ranked as among the best in the world. The City of London is one of the two biggest financial services providers, dominating Europe and second only to New York.

Has the UK really stagnated while other countries have leapt ahead? Are things really that bad here, and if so, why?

About the speakers

Sam Bowman is an editor at Works in Progress, a magazine that aims to drive scientific, technological and economic progress. He is also a board member of the Mercatus Center.

William Clouston has written articles for the Spectatorspiked and UnHerd and regularly makes media appearances on TalkRadio. He holds first and masters degrees in urban planning and property management respectively and read philosophy at Durham University at postgraduate level.

Phil Mullan is a writer and business manager, who researches and lectures on the interplay of the economy and politics. His work is informed by over two decades of experience in senior management and advisory roles in international business.

Professor Vicky Pryce is chief economic adviser and board member of the Centre for Economics and Business Research. She sits on the advisory board of OMFIF, the central banking consultancy and think tank. She is also on the new Economic Advisory Council of the British Chambers of Commerce.

About the book

An urgent call to reform capitalism so that it stops failing women.

Although the #MeToo movement has been hugely important, empowerment of the mind will not achieve full power for women while there remains economic inequality. Leading economist Vicky Pryce urgently calls for feminists to focus attention on this pressing issue: the pay gap, the glass ceiling, and the obstacles to women working at all. She shows that gender equality is good for business and economies, but the free market is wired to perpetuate inequality; only government intervention can empower women, with proper support and reward for their work.

From the gendered threat of robot labour to the lack of women in economics itself, Women vs Capitalism is a bold and timely look at an uncomfortable truth: we will not achieve equality for women without radical changes to contemporary capitalism.

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