What is Opportunity Lost?

Opportunity Lost is a newsletter with some of my thoughts on economics, law, politics, public policy, and anything else I find interesting.

Who are you?

I’m Ben Ramanauskas. I have spent most of my career working in academia at the Univeristy of Oxford and for a number of different think tanks. I spent 16 months advising Liz Truss (at the Department for International Trade NOT Number 10). My role here involved overseeing policy development in technology, digital, advanced manufacturing, and human rights and green trade as well as the relevant chapters for FTA negotiations with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. I oversaw the work of the Board of Trade and the negotiations with the government of Singapore for a Digital Economy Agreement. I also worked on the launch of the negotiations for the UK joining CPTPP.

I have also given more informal advice to other government ministers on a consultancy type basis.

My academic research has focussed on a number of areas within economics and law such as crime, health, trade, social mobility, poverty, inequality, taxation, immigration, and labour markets.

I have written policy papers for various think tanks on lots of different topics including: tax reform; drug legalisation; criminal law reform; the use of AI in health & social care; public sector productivity; housing markets; transhumanism; immigration; the national debt; and access to finance for startups.

What’s with the name?

Assuming you mean the Substack and not my actual name then it’s a reference to ‘opportunity cost’. In economics, the opportunity cost of a particular activity is the value or benefit given up by engaging in that activity, relative to engaging in an alternative activity. There is, for example, an opportunity cost to subscribing to and reading this newsletter. Time spent with friends and family or on Twitter or reading a more interesting Substack.

It’s also a nod to Paradise Lost. Not that I’m comparing my blog to Milton but…

Why are you doing this?

Opportunity Lost also refers to the fact that the UK (and many other nations) are making decisions which are detrimental to our current and future economic growth and prosperity. A lost opportunity, if you will. We have the potential to transform the UK and the world into a place where we can flourish and enjoy long, healthy, and happy lives, but we need the right policies in place.

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A blog about economics and public policy.


Economist. Former adviser to the UK's Secretary of State for International Trade. Sometime academic at Oxford University.