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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

Some economic findings are simply obvious

Or at least, some economic findings are obvious if one takes a mere moment to think about them. Take this for example:Wealth gaps are bigger. Black home-ownership rates are under half those of white. Bangladeshi adults have a quarter of the wealth held by white adults on average. With evidence of such inequalities, it’s beyond me how anyone thinks it’s job done.Wealth inequality is greater than income inequality. Well, that’s not just a common finding it’s one that holds for everywhere,...

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That camel that’s a horse designed by a committee

This is about a monument to slavery in France:Setting aside the obvious practical difficulties that a memorial containing such a vast roll-call would pose, this is also a perfect example of how art cannot be devised by administrative bodies. A memorial should be entrusted to the vision of one artist, not determined by bureaucrats. The problem with steering committees and orientation committees is that they’re all too willing to impose their political or ideological agendas onto an artist’s...

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Prince Philip and the power of personal choice

The world marked the passing of The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh yesterday at the grand old age of 99. It truly was the world too, born a Prince of Greece and Denmark he died a Prince of sixteen realms over which quite literally the sun never sets. The Prince’s life was an extraordinary one. So much of which was buffeted by world events not of his choice and defined by others. In that respect his titles belie a sense of control that was not his, and is not ours in many cases. But it is...

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This is the way economic recoveries happen

Covid lockdowns have caused more than a few businesses to crumble - airlines among them. So, what will happen after covid with airlines? This:MESA, AZ — Avelo Airlines, which launched Thursday at Hollywood Burbank Airport, offers $19 flights to and from Mesa Gateway Airport. Avelo’s only flight option from Mesa Gateway as of now is Burbank, but the price tag of only $19 after taxes and fees is pretty enticing.Not that we’re backing, in any manner, this particular adventure into the soaring...

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Here’s the difficulty with investing our way out of debt

The IMF tells us how to get out of this problem of there both being a massive debt mountain and also slack in the economy:The IMF tries to square the policy circle by advocating investment in infrastructure projects with a fiscal multiplier of 1.0 to 2.0, meaning that they pay for themselves through higher GDP growth, and ultimately lower the debt ratio over time.Well, yes, but does anyone know of a manner of ensuring an actually existing political system makes such investments?We have a...

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It’s so immensely annoying when George Monbiot almost gets there

Monbiot tells us that:The central premise of neoliberalism is that the locus of decision-making can be shifted from democratic government to the individual, working through “the market”. Rather than using politics to change the world for the better, we can do it through our purchases. If neoliberals even half-believed this nonsense, you’d expect them to ensure we were as knowledgable as possible, so that we could exercise effective decision-making in their great consumer democracy. Instead,...

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A Formula of Diplomatic Etiquette

When my great-grandfather was deputy head of the Royal Irish Constabulary during the troubles at the dawn of the 20th century, he considered Whitehall to be the main obstacle. Were he alive today, his views would probably not have changed. The Northern Ireland Protocol is an example.  It all started from a good idea. The Irish land border is 499 km long, about 10% longer than that between France and Germany. Nearly 300 public roads cross it.  Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, border posts...

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We’re always insisting that things must be properly measured

There is Hayek’s point, that the central planner never can quite measure the world accurately enough to be able to plan things properly. We then go on to insist that even if we’re going to ignore that - because some things really do require management even if it cannot be done perfectly accurately - then we do have to devote a certain effort to trying to measure matters as well as we can.For example, we insist that all measures of the wealth distribution are wrong because they, quite...

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Reasons for optimism – Space

In 1956 the then Astronomer Royal, Sir Richard van der Riet Woolley, was widely quoted saying, “Space travel is utter bilge.” When the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched a year later, he was asked if he stood by his remarks and replied, “It depends what you mean by utter bilge.” I forgave Sir Richard when he taught me to play croquet three years later, but I’m not sure the space industry ever did.The conquest of space has enabled us to do things that were impossible or at...

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Just how much should those other people be allowed to make?

It’s a standard joke - or observation of human behaviour - that those rich people over there who must be taxed much more are defined as being those earning 10% more than the person making the demand. Perhaps we should expand this to business matters too:Channel 4 has urged the competition watchdog to broaden its crackdown on Google and Facebook to prevent broadcasters ceding millions of pounds in advertising income. The Gogglebox broadcaster has called on the Competition & Markets...

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