In his talk, Steve Baker recognised that small business is ‘the engine room of prosperity’, and argued that a big and invasive government is its biggest enemy. Too much regulation, too much spending, too much taxation: these placed an obstacle before prosperity. Free markets, genuine economic growth from ethical business and liberty under the law instead would instead promote thriving societies and virtuous citizens.

Baker argued that government should provide businesses with a broad route map—not a step-by-step guide. He also criticised government for sending business mixed signals, as uncertainty stops companies from making more money and employing more people.

During his talk, Baker referred to the Legatum Prosperity Index™ as a useful tool in understanding the drivers of prosperity and contributing data to support the critical role that business plays.

The discussion was moderated by James Barty, Senior Adviser at the Legatum Institute and Strategic Director at the British Bankers Association.

About the Speaker

Steve Baker chairs the 1922 Committee’s Public Services Group. The group focuses on Education, Health, and Transport policy and which will feed into the 2015 Conservative manifesto.

Baker's career began in the Royal Air Force as an engineer officer, becoming a Chartered Engineer through the Royal Aeronautical Society. After his time with the RAF, he read for an MSc in Computer Science at Oxford University (St Cross College) and joined a specialist, entrepreneurial software firm as Head of Consulting and Product Manager. Alongside this, he co-founded The Cobden Centre, an educational charity for social progress through honest money, free trade and peace.

Baker relentlessly seeks to extend prosperity through liberty under the law, free enterprise and a renaissance of civil society.