• Oxford Hayek Society

Kristian Niemietz: Socialism - The Failed Idea That Never Dies

This summary was written by Matteo Baccaglini, President.


On Tuesday 22 October 2019, we were delighted to welcome Dr. Kristian Niemietz, Head of Political Economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs, to speak to the Oxford Hayek Society at Merton College on the topic of his recent book: 'Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies'.


You can find a YouTube video of Kristian's talk and the follow-up question-and-answer session below. Courtesy of the IEA, Kristian's book is available to view and download for free here, or purchase from Amazon here.



Kristian's book investigates the oft-repeated claim that socialism has never been tried. Through his extensive country-by-country analysis, Kristian documents how socialists and academics praise new socialist projects - from Cuba to China and from Cambodia to Venezuela - before rejecting that they were ever socialist in the first place when they inevitably fail.


His talk to the Oxford Hayek Society drew much from the insights of his survey, providing many entertaining and well-sourced examples of the phenomenon. Kristian also discussed the reasons why socialism has never worked, why socialism has an enduring appeal, and the phenomenon of so-called 'millennial socialism'.


In all, Kristian's talk made for our highest-attended event in several terms, with registration closing well in advance of doors opening. We were delighted that Kristian could join us at The Bear to continue our entertaining discussions.


Dr. Kristian Niemietz is the Head of Political Economy at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a free-market thinktank based in Westminster. Kristian joined the IEA as its Poverty Research Fellow in 2008, before becoming Head of Health and Welfare in 2015 and assuming his current position in 2018. He had previously worked for the Institute for Free Enterprise in Berlin. Kristian achieved prominence following the publication of his criticism of the National Health Service, Universal Healthcare Without the NHS (IEA, 2016), and makes frequent appearances in media outlets including Sky News, The Independent and The Telegraph.

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