The dawn of the 2020s has not gone as most had planned. We have, and continue to, face both an extraordinary and unprecedented predicament. While some foresaw the danger of pandemics, few could have predicted the abject failure of many governments and the seismic challenges that would eventuate.Covid-19 has created immense new challenges like developing test and trace systems, producing equipment, medications and vaccines, and millions of newly unemployed. It has also accelerated existing issues from political disillusionment and division to questions about social media. The challenge in the years ahead will not simply be to return to the relative prosperity of December 2019, but to go much further in creating a more prosperous future. We are facing an extraordinary moment of opportunity
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The dawn of the 2020s has not gone as most had planned. We have, and continue to, face both an extraordinary and unprecedented predicament. While some foresaw the danger of pandemics, few could have predicted the abject failure of many governments and the seismic challenges that would eventuate.
Covid-19 has created immense new challenges like developing test and trace systems, producing equipment, medications and vaccines, and millions of newly unemployed. It has also accelerated existing issues from political disillusionment and division to questions about social media.
The challenge in the years ahead will not simply be to return to the relative prosperity of December 2019, but to go much further in creating a more prosperous future. We are facing an extraordinary moment of opportunity yet anxiety, change yet yearning for certainty.
For over forty years the Adam Smith Institute has been at the forefront of debates about the UK’s future. We have big plans for the 2020s. While the decades may change our mission remains the same: make the UK a freer and more prosperous union.
At the centre of this challenge will be winning the war of ideas. This pandemic must not result in a closing in of society, a reduction in trade, an opposition to change, a rejection of new technologies. To recover and prosper we must be adaptive to new challenges and open to ideas and people.
That is why we are calling out for paper proposals on both ideas to address our immediate predicament (“Short, sharp Covid papers”) and broader issues (“General briefing papers”). There is a list of topics below that take our fancy. This list is by no means exhaustive. We are open to pitches on other topics.
If you would like to pitch please send us a few hundred words on the proposed topic, as well as a quick background on your interest and expertise in the area to: [email protected]. We can offer a nominal honorarium for papers that we publish.
Short, sharp Covid papers
In the first instance, we are interested in short briefings (of around 2,500 words) tackling very specific issues raised by Covid-19 that put forward narrow suggestions for how to improve our response. What can we learn from test and trace systems overseas? What simple regulatory changes could be made to allow society to better adapt? What is a simple yet effective tax change that could help businesses recover?
General briefing papers
Additionally, the following are a list of topics and questions that are of interest to the Adam Smith Institute, and we would be open to publishing 5,000-10,000 word policy briefing papers. If you are unfamiliar with our work, and style of our writing (accessible yet rigorously academic), please see previous papers.
Red tape and regulation: What specific regulation holds back prosperity and opportunity? What is the cost of regulation to Britain's economy or a particular sector? Can we introduce new mechanisms and processes to reduce red tape (RegData, Sunsetting, One-in-two-out, Exclusionary clauses, Green Book treasury rules)? What regulations can be reformed after Brexit? What can we learn from the Trump Administration’s red tape cutting exercise?
Tax reform: what is a key modification to the tax system that could, with the least revenue hit achieve the most additional investment? How should a broader tax system be structured?
Fiscal responsibility: What is the impact on economic growth of more government spending? How can the Government get the national books back in order? What spending can be cut to ensure better intergenerational fairness (i.e. abolishing pension triple lock)?
Social mobility: What are key policies to ensure equal opportunity for every individual? What should be the focus (housing, education and skills, transfers, etc)?
New technologies: Artificial intelligence and machine learning, driverless cars, air taxis, 5G, drones, OLED, robots, supersonic flight, hyperloop, blockchain, e-scooters, vertical farming, vertical aquaculture, lab grown meat. What are the potential benefits and what regulations need to be developed or red tape cut to ensure they can prosper?
Market environmentalism: What are some pro-market policies that would help address climate change and broader conservation aims? How can we better use property rights? What’s holding back wider use of nuclear energy?
Education: Should we fund higher education using an equity stakes rather than debt model? How can we ensure free speech and diversity of ideas are produced throughout the education sector? Should we be adopting ‘micro schooling’?
Free trade: How can we remake the case for free trade? Should Britain adopt an entirely tariff-free system policy? What should replace the common agricultural policy (CAP)?
Bureaucracy: What has Covid taught us about the state of the British bureaucracy? How can we increase state capacity?
Decentralisation: What has Covid taught us about the state of localism in the United Kingdom? How can we effectively decentralise both powers and responsibilities (fiscal decentralization)?
Infrastructure and project management: How can we ‘fix’ the civil service? How can we stop projects always being ‘over time, over budget’?
Criminal justice: How can we be ‘tough’ and ‘smart’ on crime, both saving the taxpayer money and reducing criminal activity? What about drug policy reform?
Nanny state: What impact do paternalistic policies have on the least fortunate? Do they actually achieve their goals?
Urbanism: What is the future of cities? How can we ensure cities flourish after the disruption caused by Covid? What powers should be held by city governments and how should they be funded?
Immigration: What is the economic impact of the loss of immigrants caused by Covid? How can we most effectively make the case for the movement of people?
Internet: What are the threats to online freedom? How can we ensure free speech is protected? What is the impact of new regulations on online competition?
Aid, development and remittances: What has been the impact of Covid on remittances to the developing world and how does that compare to aid? How can we restructure domestic policies to help the world’s poorest (reducing tariffs and regulatory barriers to trade? Cutting remittances red tape?)?
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