20 December 2006
Brian Micklethwait and Leon Leow produce an excellent podcast

I have just finished listening to Brian Micklethwait’s podcast with Leon Leow.  A bit late in the day, admittedly - it was recorded about a month ago - but none the worse for that.  Actually, it’s rather better than that.  It’s really very good.  The centre of their discussion is Leow’s research into what makes countries rich and what makes them poor.  Make that statistical research.  What is interesting is that Leow sticks to the statistics even when it leads to conclusions he would normally disagree with.

The big one is tax.  Tax rates have no effect on prosperity. Bad news for me.  But that’s OK.  It only removes one of the props of my argument.  But, still, interesting.

The other big surprise (sort of) is education.  Now, while I am against state education I am by no means against education as such.  But it turns out that it either (I can’t quite remember what he said) doesn’t matter or actually makes you poorer.

A nice surprise was that race makes no difference.

The biggest factor in prosperity is the rule of law.  Get that right and you should be OK.  That was no surprise to me at all but it’s always nice to hear.

One of the amusing parts of the discussion was the way Leow managed to keep his temper in the face of Brian’s frequent enthusiastic interruptions.  London libertarians are used to the idea that Brian’s Brain runs considerably faster than his mouth (which itself runs quite fast enough) but it can be quite disconcerting at first.  So congratulations to Leon.

Update Oh crap, I’ve spent Louw wrong the whole way through.

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