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Adam Smith Institute
The Adam Smith Institute is one of the world’s leading think tanks. Independent, non-profit and non-partisan, it works to promote libertarian and free market ideas through research, publishing, media commentary, and educational programmes. The Institute is today at the forefront of making the case for free markets and a free society in the United Kingdom.

Adam Smith Institute

The mad San Fran vape ban

Inspired by countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, puritanical officials in San Francisco have voted to ban the sale of e-cigarettes. The law is due to be signed off by San Francisco’s mayor within 10 days and, barring legal challenges, will come into force seven months later. Cigarettes will remain on shop shelves as before.The vape ban will leave San Franciscans unable to access one of the safest and most popular alternatives to cigarettes. The best available...

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I’m the Pied Piper, follow me

There are different versions of the legendary story, but the Lüneburg Chronicle records that it was on June 26th, 1284, Saint John and Paul’s day, that the Pied Piper took away 130 children of the town of Hamelin, luring them after him with his melodic pipe, and took them into a cave, from which they were never seen again.The tragic event was recorded on a stained-glass window, circa 1300, in the Hamelin church where the adults were at prayer when the children were led away. The piper,...

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The problem with the four day work week

We have a claim that Britons are all behind moving to a four day work week. And why not of course, leisure is indeed a luxury or superior good, as we get richer we devote more of our income to it.Reducing the time we spend working would be welcomed by many. A recent UK poll found that 74% of people supported a four-day week.Super, great, let’s do it. Except, well, there’s a proviso here. It’s a YouGov survey, which asked a rather more subtle question:However, support falls off substantially...

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Orwell and the Left

Eric Arthur Blair was born on June 25th, 1903. The world knows him by his pen-name, George Orwell, named from the Suffolk river not far from where he'd lived. He is best known today for his two satirical novels, Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), both critiques of the brutal Stalinism that ruled the Soviet Union in the 1930s.Orwell wrote much more than those two works, however. In addition to them he wrote four more novels, three non-fiction books and literally dozens of...

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The value of charging university students for their education

There’re a number of justifications behind charging university students for their education. One being that such a qualification is likely to lead to a higher lifetime income. Therefore why shouldn’t those who gain the privilege pay for doing so, rather than our taxing the lower incomes of the general public to finance it? We can also consider the choice of courses. An economic decision made where there’s real money at stake should lead to better decision making. We can hope therefore that...

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Our online freedom is under attack

State control of the internet is no longer a foreign reality, a distant intrusion reserved for the Chinese and Russians. It is about to start happening right here in the UK. The Government’s Online Harms White Paper proposes the most comprehensive regulation of online speech in the Western world. The Government is placing legal responsibility on social media platforms, and any other websites with user-generated content, like search engines and web forums, to curate the content posted on their...

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The Berlin Airlift countered the Soviet blockade

The postwar allied occupation of Germany saw the country divided into 4 zones, one each run by the US, the UK, France and the USSR. Its capital, Berlin, was divided into 4 similarly controlled zones. On June 24th, 1948, the Soviets suddenly blocked access routes across East Germany to West Berlin. They cut off road, rail and water-borne transport and traffic. It was a response to the introduction of the Deutsche Mark in West Germany and West Berlin.The Western allies were reluctant to force a...

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What a very French approach to cannabis legalisation

Yes, of course, we Britons do tend to tease our closest neighbours simply because they are our neighbours. But isn’t this a delightfully French approach to the question of cannabis legalisation?A government-tasked commission has advised France to legalise cannabis to “take back control” of the black market, calling prohibition an abject “failure”.Of course, entirely so, we agree with the basic sentiment. Of course there should be legalisation.State-controlled cannabis stores would be the best...

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It’s not “Special,” It’s Socialism

I still remember my childhood trips to Venezuela and long what I left behind. Caracas was a vibrant city, filled with nice restaurants, busy malls, and close to gorgeous beaches. Weekends on Venezuela’s main vacation island - Margarita - were identical to days at upscale resorts in Florida or the Carribean. It was metropolitan and very wealthy nation - not far off from some of our Western democracies. During the period I visited—throughout the early 2000s—Chavez’s welfare reforms won him...

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Independence Day – 3 years on

Parliament contracted out to the people of the UK the decision as to whether the UK should leave the EU or remain a member of it. The promise to hold that vote was in the Tory manifesto for the 2015 election. When they won that election, Cameron duly delivered, and the referendum was held on June 23rd, 2016, exactly 3 years ago. Political leaders on all sides pledged to deliver the result that people voted for.The electorate was given a clear choice, to Remain in the EU, or to Leave it. On...

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