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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 next billionaires

Most of us have taken on board the coming reality that will involve such technologies as self-driving electric cars, people-carrying drones, lab-grown meats and artificial intelligence, and we fully expect that some people in the forefront of these developments will become billionaires, if they are not already. It is worthwhile, however, to look beyond these innovations to speculate what might be the next breakthroughs that could generate a subsequent crop of billionaires.One approach is to...

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How the justification changes in only a generation or two

Apparently it’s necessary to abolish capitalism in order to beat climate change:Alas, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism....(...)...... it’s the obsession with economic growth at any cost.This is, of course, untrue. As the basic analysis underlying all climate change murmuring insists - and yes, this underpins Nordhaus and his Nobel, the Stern Review, the IPCC, COP this and that, all of it - beating climate change is entirely consistent with the continued...

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New technologies and the sorting process of the market

Andrew Orlowski points out that Artificial Intelligence is not, in fact, all that good.For years policymakers have believed that machine learning – the foundation of the current wave of AI hype – is fundamental to advances in robotics that will herald a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – but the two don’t really go well together at all, or at least not using currently fashionable methods. “Data-hungry, idealised algorithms simply fail,” leading researcher Filip Piękniewski told me. “The reality...

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Irish Protocol: Why can’t the Government Listen?

Three routes to resolving the Irish Protocol crisis are considered: last week’s government command paper, “feint” and “The Trojan Horse”. The command paper is well written and sets out the way the Government thinks the Protocol should have been written, as well as some of the reasons why it was not. The future use of Article 16 is flagged. The trouble is that the EU rather likes the Protocol the way it is: the UK is being penalized for Brexit, the Republic of Ireland is benefiting from trade...

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Sir Simon gives us the establishment view of British housing

Simon Jenkins tells us how things ought to be:The reality is that English housing policy is still in the dark ages. Jenrick should be promoting downsizing, taxes to discourage under-occupation, the renovation of old building and increasing housing density in suburbia. There is no need to build on greenfield rather than brownfield land anywhere in Britain. Ministers seem to think the only “real” house is a car-dependent executive home in a southern meadow. It is, as Jenrick says, a “dream” –...

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But, but, the National Health Service should be cheaper

There’s a certain logical problem with the never ending calls to spend more upon the National Health Service:Yet there is no escaping the truth that, as with supermarket chicken or a new pair of trainers, we get the health service we are willing to pay for. A world-class health service cannot be sustained by claps alone. It is no exaggeration to say I do not know a single doctor or nurse who believes that the NHS as we know it will survive much longer. We watch, resigned, despairing, as the...

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It doesn’t matter what type of housing gets built – just build some housing already

Near all agree that Britain needs more housing. The arguments start over what type of housing, who should build it and what price should be charged for it. The truth is none of those subsidiary questions matter. Just get on and build the housing, however:Increasing supply is frequently proposed as a solution to rising housing costs. However, there is little evidence on how new market-rate construction—which is typically expensive—affects the market for lower quality housing in the short run....

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It’s not that we’ve become entirely conspirazoid, not entirely

We note two pieces of news, one a day after the other:Great Britain faces its greatest risk of blackouts for six years this winter as old coal plants and nuclear reactors shut down and energy demand rises as the economy emerges from Covid-19 restrictions. National Grid’s electricity system operator, which is responsible for keeping the lights on, said it expected the country’s demand for electricity to return to normal levels this winter, and would be braced for “some tight periods”.That...

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Perhaps we shouldn’t have social housing at all?

We think this is interesting:A Labour MP defrauded her local council out of nearly £64,000 by “dishonestly” obtaining social housing over three years, a court heard. Apsana Begum appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday charged with three counts of fraud that allegedly took place over three separate periods between 2013 and 2016.Ms Begum, who denies all charges,We have no view on the case. However, the number claimed does interest - £64,000 is real money even by local council...

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What would Cuba have been without the revolution?

Given that we are seeing at least stirrings of the counterrevolution in Cuba it’s worth pondering what the place would have been without that revolution itself.One problem we have is that the usual numbers we’re presented with are entirely and wholly unbelievable. The idea that Cuba’s GDP is $100 billion is absurd. The population is about the same as that of the Dominican Republic (GDP $88 billion) and it would indeed be insane to claim that living standards are higher in Cuba than that...

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