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Dr Arthur Seldon CBE (29 May 1916 – 11 October 2005) was joint founder president, with Ralph Harris, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, where he directed academic affairs for 30 years.

He was born Abraham Margolis in the East End of London to Russian-Jewish refugee parents. They both died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. He was adopted by a cobbler, Pinchas Slaberdain, and his wife Eva.

He studied at the London School of Economics where Arnold Plant and Lionel Robbins deepened his interest in classical liberalism and Friedrich Hayek introduced him to Austrian Economics. Seldon helped found the university's student Liberal Society. He continued to be involved with the Liberal Party and was chairman of the its committee on the elderly from 1948 to 1949. Seldon was also involved in the famous Orpington by-election in 1962, in which the Liberal Party gained the seat from the Conservative Party and weakened the confidence of the Macmillan administration.

He received an honorary degree in 1999 from the University of Buckingham.

In the media

Seldon's widow Marjorie was interviewed about his work at the IEA and the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!.


This article uses content from the SourceWatch article on Arthur Seldon under the terms of the GFDL.

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