Lord Griffiths - Young Economists' dinner

Hosted by Nabarro

March 30 2015


Brian Griffiths - Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (a small town near Swansea, where most of the population seems to be called Griffiths) - is a man of many parts, some of which may seem hard to reconcile.

He is, I think, first and foremost, a Christian - and a Christian of the evangelical persuasion. He has written extensively on 'Morality and the Market', and has recently chaired the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lambeth Commission. I think he genuinely tries to put his religious convictions into day-to-day practise.

He is also a radical, of a distinctly free-market bent - despite having begun his (distinguished) academic career teaching at that bastion of wishy-washy leftism, LSE. He subsequently chaired Mrs Thatcher's Downing St. Policy Unit from 1985 to 1990, and then went on to be chairman of the (Thatcherite) Centre for Policy Studies.

More recently, he has become an extremely successful banker as vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs International. With that hat on, he achieved a certain notoriety by defending banker bonuses, and by insisting that we should be prepared to “tolerate inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all”. That got right up the Guardianistas' noses.

I don't know which combination of interests and experiences he will draw on, but I am delighted that he has agreed to talk to our little dining group. And I am sure that one or more of our Young Economists will draw him out (if you don't I will). Unfortunately (given that Jonathan Ruffer and Brian share many of the same beliefs), Ruffer LLP, our usual benefactors, are unable to host us this month. But I am delighted that our friends at Nabarro have stepped in; we are very grateful.