Johan Norberg

Johan Norberg

Johan Norberg is a historian of ideas, based in Stockholm. His latest book is 'Open: The Story of Human Progress'

The case for capitalism

27 min listen

Kate Andrews is joined by Fraser Nelson and Johan Norberg, author of The Capitalist Manifesto: why the global free market will save the world. On the podcast Johan talks about its why lockdown societies never worked; whether he finds the word capitalism useful and his endless optimism for a better future. 

Donald Trump and the limits of free speech

Is Donald Trump’s expulsion from Twitter an attack on free speech? A great many Republicans are saying so. You certainly can call it ‘deplatforming’: when you lose your speaking invite, your social media posting rights or your book deal. Josh Hawley, a Republican Senator, has claimed that his First Amendment rights were violated by Simon

Why 2020 was the fourth best year in history

The Spectator has a long and proud history of fact-based optimism, sometimes represented by an end-of-the-year article explaining that statistics bear out that this was the best year ever, even if you didn’t get that impression when following the news. Well, 2020 is not a good candidate for such an article. ‘The worst year ever’,

The Covid trap: will society ever open up again?

44 min listen

Governments around the world have adopted extraordinary powers to deal with coronavirus – but could they end up doing more damage than good? (01:00) Next, is the best way to deal with the threat of Scottish secession to negotiate a hypothetical Scottish exit deal? (16:04) And finally, are Britain’s graveyards suffering a spate of indecent

Johan Norberg

The Covid trap: will society ever open up again?

The great pandemic of 2020 has led to an extraordinary expansion of government power. Countries rushed to close their borders and half of the world’s population were forced into some sort of curfew. Millions of companies, from micropubs to mega corporations, were prohibited from carrying on business. In supposedly free and liberal societies, peaceful strollers

Can we trust Covid modelling? More evidence from Sweden

At last we’re getting a debate about Covid-19 modelling. When people finally got to look under the hood of the famous Imperial College study, they found twisted and tangled code. And most of the model’s predictions bear little resemblance to what is actually happening. Some defend the models by saying that their predictions turned out

The rise – and disastrous fall – of the kibbutz

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are part of a breed of socialists who argue that this time will be different. Socialism never failed, they insist: only the walls, barbed wire and jackboots did. So what they plan for Britain, while radical, is bound to work! True, it’s more radical than anything done in any European

Our golden age

‘We have fallen upon evil times, politics is corrupt and the social fabric is fraying.’ Who said that? Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders? Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen? It’s difficult to keep track. They sound so alike, the populists of the left and the right. Everything is awful, so bring on the scapegoats and

The fatal mistakes of Sweden’s David Cameron

Cool, calm Sweden can still produce a surprise from time to time. Yes, our economic recovery has been the best of any major European country. Yes, our finance minister, the earringed and formerly pony-tailed Anders Borg, is hailed as the best in the world. And yes, our government has somehow managed to cut taxes so

Why Sweden has riots

  Stockholm  ‘All of them should have been very happy,’ Robert A. Heinlein begins his 1942 novel Beyond This Horizon. The material problem has been solved on this future earth, poverty and disease have been eradicated, work is optional. And yet parts of the citizenry are not enthusiastic. Some are bored, others are preparing a

The great debt bubble of 2011

Have our governments averted a financial disaster – or paved the way for one? ‘The worst of the storm has passed,’ declared Barack Obama at the start of last year, seeking to calm the fearful. For his part, Gordon Brown assured Britain that talk of tough years ahead was ‘simply not true’. Both men spoke

The noble feat of Nike

Globalisation – otherwise known as ‘ruthless international capitalism’ – is enriching the world’s poor, says Johan Norberg Nike. It means victory. It also means a type of expensive gym shoe. In the minds of the anti-globalisation movement, it stands for both at once. Nike stands for the victory of a Western footwear company over the