Thursday, July 15, 2004

Conversation, Sushi, Chocolate....and Globalisation

24 July Update 1: Wrong book title - duh!

Tuesday night saw me at the impressive Westminster premises of the Institution of Civil Engineers to hear the FT's economic columnist Martin Wolf, who was giving the IEA's Hayek memorial lecture to coincide with the launch of his new book Why Globalisation Works.

I went along with Victor, and the writer and technologist Michael Fuchs, who I had first met at a panel on the politics of the net at the NotCon technology conference last month.

Economics groupies could thrill to the presence of Sunil Wadhani, Ruth Leas, Paul Ormerod and Roger Bootle among others. The mix of academics, political types and journalists were soberly-clad, not like the sprinkling of hedge fund types in their jackets, jeans and funky shirts. One guest was celebrity disgraced politicianNeil Hamilton (How about an unrestricted market for buying MPs?), looking dapper in a pink bow tie and white linen suit.

Wolf spoke for about fifty minutes, more or less repeating verbatim one of the chapters of his book, addressing his oration mainly to the notes before him on the podium.

I'd largely agree with Niall Ferguson's review. I've not read the whole book, only selectively browsed for those places he takes on George Monbiot.

The three of us hung around drinking and grabbing many of the excellent nibbles provided in the banquet hall of the Institution, whose barrel roof was decorated, in the sytle of the Sistine chapel, with a mural of a huge Union Jack and an RAF biplane. We went for dinner, and afterwards to Borders, where an a capella duet sang along loudly to their headphones in the record department.

Overall, it was definitely a very good night, one which I will try to repeat.