Economic festivities

The UK’s first Festival of Economics in Bristol on 23-24 November was a triumph, I think it’s safe to say. Despite horrible weather affecting travel, around 1400 people attended altogether over four sessions, and the debate was fantastic: lively, informed, engaged. So already plans are underfoot for next year’s follow-up – and warmest thanks to this year’s sponsors and supporters, the Government Economic Service, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Princeton University Press, the Royal Economic Society and Wiley, as well as Business West and Bristol Chamber – and my huge thanks to the leading spirit of the Festival of Ideas, Andrew Kelly, who responded enthusiastically earlier this year to my tweeted suggestion that the UK needed a Festival of Economics. The videos of the event will be online shortly – I’ll update this with a link when they are. The live tweets are under the hashtag #economicsfest.

I went to Bristol with one book to give to someone and (as is the way with books) came back with four to read:  by Lynsey Hanley,  by Geoff Andrews,  by Susan Maushart and  by John Sutton. The Festival pop-up bookstore was provided by the fab Arnolfini bookshop. I think next year we need to include an Economics Cafe with some debates….

Festival books


4 thoughts on “Economic festivities

  1. Agreed that this was a fantastic event !! Here are some suggestions for next year.

    * Ask Paul Mason – he can only say ‘no’. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get..

    * Ask Stephanie Flanders. Her recent ‘Masters of Money’ series couldn’t squeeze in Milton Friedman so why not have a discussion about him ?

    * Jeremy Warner from the Telegraph would be good, but Ambrose Evans Pritchard would be EVEN BETTER !!

    * Gillian Tett had to pull out of a visit to Bristol a few years ago due to illness and as one of the few to predict the downturn, surely she would be worth inviting.

    * Maybe get people like George Monbiot to talk about ‘carbon trading’ and Polly Toynbee to talk about social sciences, welfare, minimum vs living wages..

    * Get more ‘free marketeers’, disciples of Hayek, heck, even some Ayn Rand acolytes to spice things up a bit.

    * Clear the ‘Ground Floor’ of ‘@ Bristol’ so we could all bring our tents and make it a kind of ‘Glastonbury For Economists’…

    • I’m pleased you enjoyed the Festival & thank you for the suggestions. I tried some of the people for this year but it was organised at much shorter notice, so maybe we’ll have more luck with the stars next year. Your Glastonbury parallel makes me think about bands – Andrew Sentance for one plays in a rock band!

  2. Ah – this decides it !! Next year you will have to include a ‘musical element’, even if it is just ‘economic karaoke’….

    “What the world needs now is dosh, sweet dosh, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of… or was until QE3..”

    I also understand, courtesy of the WSJ that the new BoE Governor has “eclectic music tastes that range from classic rockers AC/DC to Toronto rap MCs Down With Webster”..

    After 3…
    “We’re On a Highway To Hel..p Small to Medium Size Enterprises kick-start the economic recovery…”

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