July 17, 2017 Print

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), an Atlas Network partner based in the United Kingdom, focuses its THINK Conference on reaching the next generation of free market proponents. First launched in 2015, THINK aims to provide a place for young people to come together, learn more and meet other students with a passion for economics.

On Saturday, July 1, 2017, at the Royal Geographical Society in London, the IEA held its third annual THINK Conference. This year’s conference saw 600 students take part in the day-long event, where prominent speakers covered a range of topics ranging from international development to the sharing economy.

“About 35 percent of attendees were still in high school, and many had never heard of the IEA,” said IEA Director of Programmes Christiana Stewart-Lockhart.

Among this year’s speakers were professor Donald Boudreaux, a senior fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Stephen Davies, Ph.D., head of education at IEA; and Luigi Zingales, a professor from the University of Chicago and author of “A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity.”

Boudreaux’s talk, “The Economics of Trade,” discussed free trade and whether it is always the best policy for a country. Davies hosted a Q&A session, during which students were invited to ask him questions about current economic challenges. Professor Philip Booth, a senior academic fellow at IEA, interviewed Zingales on topics addressed in his books.

While only in its third year, IEA’s THINK Conference has provided hundreds of students in the U.K. and abroad with a forum to share free-market ideas. This year, a student from China attended the conference.

“She was living with a host family and had found the information about the IEA and THINK Conference while looking for internships,” said Stewart-Lockhart. “That day, she got up at 4:30 a.m., got herself to the railway station and made her way to the event!”