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Speaking at Harrow

I gave a talk to a group of sixth-formers at Harrow School and chose “Economic Misconceptions” as my theme.  These included some of the things that emerged from my ‘reasons to be cheerful’ series.  In my view, I said, the world is not running out of scarce resources because our ability to tap new sources is expanding faster than our use of existing reserves.

The world will not drown under a sea of people because the birth rate tends to level off as countries become richer.  Furthermore, the second green revolution of genetically modified crops will easily give us enough food.

I covered pollution, getting the rich to pay more by lowering, not increasing, their tax rates, and aiding poorer countries by opening our markets to their goods, rather than feeding them crumbs of development aid.

It was all counter-intuitive stuff, running directly against what is conventionally taken to be true in the media.  The questions afterwards were lively and intelligent, and there was a dinner afterwards with some of the students and their teacher, where the talk extended to cover universities and future careers.

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