Event—Scholarly Seminars

Daniel Coleman, University of Cambridge, and Emily Hull, University College London


Getting Tough or Rolling Back the State? Why Neoliberals Disagreed on a Guaranteed Income, Daniel Coleman, University of Cambridge

My paper will explore why neoliberal thinkers associated with the Mont Pelerin Society disagreed on the desirability of a guaranteed minimum income since the Second World War. Participants in this debate are categorised along a spectrum between “libertarians” like Milton Friedman and Arthur Kemp who favoured a minimum income plan, and “paternalists” like Henry Hazlitt who vehemently opposed one in any form. The division between participants on the moral, economic and political legitimacy of minimum income programs often reflected wider disagreements these thinkers held on the boundaries of citizenship and consumer choice, policing, and the moral implications of dependency. “What does neoliberal welfare reform do?”, I hope to demonstrate, is a question requiring more complex answers than have previously been recognised in the historiographical literature on social policy. I am delighted to be presenting alongside Emily Hull, whose research I know well and respect very deeply.

Critiquing Capitalism: Irving Kristol’s Economic Thought, Emily Hull, University College London

In 1978, Irving Kristol, the ex-Trotskyist and “godfather of neoconservatism,” famously declined to give a “third cheer” for capitalism in his essay collection Two Cheers for Capitalism. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kristol was an instrumental figure in the promotion of neoconservative ideas, and played a key role in introducing the concept of “the market” to mainstream politics. This paper interrogates Kristol’s understanding of liberal market capitalism, and ultimately provides new perspectives not only on this important and understudied intellectual figure, but also on the overlapping historiographies of twentieth century conservatism and capitalism.

Respondent: Daniel Geary, Trinity College Dublin