Beesely lectures

The IEA has posted a series of lectures in honour of Professor Michael Beesley, “architect” of the British system of utility regulation. The lectures cover a series of topics of interest to libertarians where the design of policy is non-trivial, where new knowledge might influence the design of policy, and where libertarian ideas might make an impact.

Below, I list the lectures by topic, with date. For the full title of the talk, speaker bios and options to RSVP, click through to the IEA.

All the talks take place at the Institue of Directors on Pall Mall:

We Need a State Monopoly of Education…

It would seem Mr Gove’s speech at Brighton College yesterday has riled our good friend Mr Monbiot into a bit of a rage

Michael Gove is of course quite right: the “stratification and segregation” of British society are “morally indefensible”. He is also right to observe that “it is remarkable how many of the positions of wealth, influence, celebrity and power in our society are held by individuals who were privately educated”. Among other beneficiaries of this unearned privilege, he names some “of our most prominent contemporary radical and activist writers”. As I came top of his list, I feel I should respond.

The first thing to say is that he has one heck of a brass neck. He talks of “those of us who believe in social justice”. I’m sure he does believe in it, much as he might also believe in the existence of the Higgs boson. What he does not believe in is making it a reality. Or if he does, he finds himself in some very strange company.

So what is Mr Monbiot’s answer to the scourge of the Left-Wing, Privately Educated Toff? The abolition of private education…

The Conservatives cannot tell us how the land really lies, which is why Gove must make stirring speeches about social justice. If he really believed in it, in the sense of being an adherent to the cause, he would implement a simple policy, which lies within his department’s reach: shutting down private schools. This would produce the following beneficial effects:

Basically what Mr Monbiot is arguing for is a State Monopoly of Education. Now, correct me if I am wrong but aren’t monopolies a bad thing..? Don’t they lead to higher prices, poor service and exploitation..? Surely, on this basis, an education monopoly cannot possibly drive up standards for all..?

Who knows..? Maybe I’m wrong. Thinking about it I am just an ignorant comp boy, so how would I know..? Probably best I just wait for our friend Mr Monbiot to enlighten me. After all, he was privately educated…