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“Making markets more free in China, India, Eastern Europe and other places around the world has lifted more than a billion people out of poverty.  So far so good. 

But life for the less fortunate third of the population in the UK and other rich countries is not improving at the rate it can and should.  The reason is that nobody has yet come up with a simple, radical, free market idea to make the difference.  

I believe in the power of bold new market-based policies to change the economy and society.  Ideas such as free trade, privatization, and the sale of council homes have proved their magic. 

Now is the time for a great new idea of similar force for good. So I am offering this Breakthrough Prize to transform the fortunes of millions of people whose lives are less rich than they should be. The idea exists; it is out there somewhere, in your mind and your imagination. Liberate the best idea in your mind and you can make a huge difference.”

Richard Koch

About Richard Koch

Richard Koch is a former management consultant, entrepreneur, and writer of several books on how to apply the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) in all walks of life. Richard has also used his concepts to make a fortune from several private equity investments made personally. Richard’s investments have included Filofax, Plymouth Gin, the Great Little Trading Company and Betfair. Previously he had been a consultant at Boston Consulting Group and later a partner at Bain and Company, before leaving to start management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting with Jim Lawrence and Iain Evans.

 

About the IEA

For over 60 years, the IEA has been promoting the intellectual case for a free economy, lower taxes, freedom in education, health and welfare and lower levels of regulations.

We are tremendously proud of our rich history. Shortly after the Second World War, Sir Antony Fisher read economist F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Fisher feared that whilst liberation was being celebrated, the West was turning its back on capitalism and that the “command and control” approach of wartime was now to be the model for peacetime economic organization. The story goes that Fisher tracked down Hayek at the London School of Economics, hoping to receive the latter’s blessing to enter a career in politics. But Hayek warned Fisher against such an approach and instead advised that if he truly wanted to change the world, he should avoid partisan politics and instead seek to win the battle of ideas.

Antony Fisher went on to establish the Institute of Economic Affairs in 1955, having met with success in business as a chicken farmer in the east of England. He employed the help of Ralph Harris, the IEA’s first Director General, and Arthur Seldon, the IEA’s first Editorial Director. For many years, they pursued a lonely and – many thought – forlorn mission. The prevailing consensus was that vast swathes of economic activity should be managed by the state, not by free men and women. But, slowly and surely, they began to win the argument. The case for abolishing exchange controls and privatising many state run industries helped form the Thatcher revolution. Indeed, Margaret Thatcher said of the IEA “They were the few, but they were right and they saved Britain.”

Fisher went on to become one of the most influential background players in the global rise of free market organisations in the latter half of the 20th century, helping to found the Atlas Network, Manhattan Institute, Pacific Research Institute, and several groups that are now part of the State Policy Network in the USA.

Today, our mission remains what it always has been – to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

We are humbled by Richard Koch’s generosity and honoured to work with him to offer the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize.

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