At the age of 86, he was one of Britain’s great liberals. He wrote columns for the FT for almost fifty years, defended capitalism, and also was an early advocate of an ngdp approach. From the FT:
Brittan had a wonderful, restless intelligence which made him an ideal, if demanding, companion…Peter Jay wrote that when he was economics editor of The Times, he was “haunted by the spectre . . . of Brittan endlessly at work, morning, noon and night, reading, reading, reading, while I tried ineffectually to reconcile the demands of work and family life”.
His Capitalism and the Permissive Society is now but a shell of a listing on Amazon, but I can recall Roy Childs excitedly telling me about the book. Back then, it seemed like the way forward for liberalism, a way to develop a truly emancipatory vision of free market capitalism. Now all that seems so long ago.
Here is Sam’s Wikipedia page, note the badly “off” and misrepresentative second sentence: “He was a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a non-profit organisation “restoring balance and trust to the climate debate” that has been characterised as promoting climate change denial.”
Here was Sam in the 2009 Observer:
I have no expertise on the subject of global warming; nor do I have a strong view about it. But I do know attempted thought control and hostility to free speech when I see it; and I find these unlovely phenomena present among all too many of the enthusiasts for climate action. Words such as ‘denial’ are intentionally brought into the debate and recall those who deny the reality of the Nazi Holocaust.
Here is John McDermott’s Ode to Sam upon Sam’s retirement in 2014.