I spoke at Brighton University as part of their seminar series on neo-liberalism. The term ‘neo-liberal’ is usually used in a derogatory sense, though I chose not to use it that way. I was the only speaker in the series to speak in favour of neo-liberal ideas, and my title was “Looking At the World Through Neo-Liberal Eyes.” I began by quoting an old Chinese proverb: “Never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. That way you are a mile away when you voice your criticism; and you have his shoes.” I invited the audience to see the world briefly as it looks through neo-liberal eyes. These were the points I made.
In the Western world, modern civilizations are often thought of in comparison to those of the ancient world. The Roman Empire is typically the first considered, and arguably the most natural reference point owing to its many achievements, complexity and durability. It stands in history, widely considered the high water mark of the ancient world; one against which contemporary political, economic and social questions can be posed. Much of the world is still living with the consequences of Roman policy choices in a very real sense, in matters ranging from the location of cities to commercial and legal practices to customs.
It is a very common view that “importing” foreign football players into the UK to play in the Premier League leads to less opportunity for English players to play for these teams. This means that English players get less high-level experience, and consequently aren’t as good as the players of Spain, France, Italy or Germany, who make up a larger fraction of the players playing in their home leagues. This, the argument runs, is an important factor in explaining the English national team’s perceived underperformance in international competitions. I review the literature and present novel data establishing a negative relationship between current performance (as measured by FIFA ranking) and the current amount of football played in a league by native players (across Spain, England, Germany and Italy). Further, I find no relationship between minutes played by English players in the Premier League five or ten years ago and current performance. Finally, I find strong evidence that a league’s overall strength (as measured by its UEFA coefficient) is predicted by the current amount of foreigners playing in it. To restrict foreign players would not directly benefit the English national team, but it would risk substantially curtailing the overall quality of the world’s most popular football league.
Gabriel Sahlgren shows the relationship between educational outcomes and economic growth and argues that expanding access to private education would improve long-run GDP growth dramatically. (more…)
With UKIP set to increase further their share of the vote in the upcoming European elections, and Farage’s triumph over Nick Clegg in the televised debate late last month, the issue of EU membership is as heated and controversial as ever. We are once more reminded of the strengths and limitations of a Common Market, and the anxieties the union has bred here in Britain. (more…)