Economics: Bede's Students Attend IEA Conference


Tuesday 19th January saw a cohort of Bede’s Sixth Form Economics students attending an informative and thought-provoking conference organised by the influential think-tank The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) at Lancing College. 

Based in London, the IEA is an independent organisation which advocates for free market economics, and twelve economists involved in the IEA’s work have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, including Milton Friedman, Ronald Coase and Friedrich Hayek.

The conference consisted of 3 lectures, with the first being given by IEA Fellow and Head of Health and Welfare Dr Kristian Niemietz.

Dr Niemietz challenged students to consider the market for healthcare in the UK, and whether or not wider provision by the private sector would be more effective than a nationalised NHS.


After a stimulating 40-minute talk, students were challenged to consider the arguments put forward and present their own ideas.

Well-known author and freelance journalist Christopher Snowdon, a prominent and vocal opponent of Government intervention in matters such as alcohol and obesity, then gave the second talk.

Mr Snowden’s Twitter biography states that he is ‘not that keen on the nanny state’, and his talk questioned the effectiveness of a sugar tax in solving the problems of obesity.


The IEA’s Education Director Dr Steve Davies then gave the third lecture, which was a very stimulating and challenging talk on the current crisis in the Eurozone.

Dr Davies’ contention was that the Euro was a doomed currency unless there was greater political integration across the European Union to support it.

Students were subsequently challenged to think about and discuss these issues while also considering issues related to the United Kingdom’s continued participation in the EU.


At the end of the conference, Bede’s students talked to Dr Davies about the work of the IEA and, as a result of all that they had seen, heard and learned, several students applied to participate in the IEA’s internship programme this summer.

Everyone in the Business faculty at Bede’s wishes those students the very best of luck in gaining places on the scheme, and we are now looking very much forward to hosting an IEA conference at Bede’s later in the year.


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