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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

We’re struggling to see Julian Baggini’s point here

We're told that Adam Smith and this free trade lark are wrong because, well, because what?However, decades of seeming plenty, with supermarket aisles full of cheap, enticing products, moved food off the list of political priorities. cold war images of people queuing for bread in the Soviet Union reinforced the belief that government’s only role in feeding its people was to enable a free market. The fundamental principle of food policy was reduced to Adam Smith’s famous line: “It is not from...

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A Legless Healthcare Announcement

The PM’s £20bn. healthcare announcement may remind you of Dudley Moore auditioning for the role of Tarzan even though he had “one leg too few”.  Back in January, the Government made a big deal of adding “Social Care” to the name of the Department even though it had already had that role for six years.  The announcement reflected the widely held view that the NHS and adult social care should be seen together and, indeed, the NHS could only work if social care was adequately funded and...

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This is bananas – incorrect uses of the word “however”

The Guardian brings us some good news. A small - and British, for what little that matters - company is getting somewhere with solving one of the world's problems. That specific thing we hope gets solved being bananas.The world's commercial crop is, pretty much exclusively, one cultivar, the Cavendish. There are hundreds of others out there, but that just the one is the commercial industry. More than just a cultivar, they're all clones. Thus any disease that can affect the one plant (an herb...

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There’s a reason to have private ownership of something like Hastings Pier – to cover the losses

The "community organisers" who lost out in their bid to purchase the bankrupt Hastings Pier are complaining. Yet there's a good reason to have such things in private hands. Shareholders, private such, don't just collect the profits when there are any, they also pay the losses when there are such:Campaigners fighting to save Hastings pier for the community are “devastated and furious” over its sale to a businessman for a fraction of what it cost to rebuild.The Eastbourne hotelier Sheikh Abid...

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Wood and trees – Tesco the best, Waitrose the worst for food waste, apparently

An interesting little insight into how some think the world should be run. The underlying subject is food waste in the supermarket supply and retail chain. An odd thing to be worrying about really, as the very existence of that supermarket supply and retail chain is what reduces food waste to minimal levels in the first place. Any reading of FAO and the like reports reveals that it is their absence which leads to 50% and about of food rotting between field and fork. Their existence leads to...

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Perhaps it should solve the problem, but does it?

We can all think up solutions to varied societal problems, methods of achieving desires. Some of them are even based upon reasonable logic. For example, if the gender pay gap is the creation of gender different reactions to the arrival of children, will insisting upon gender neutral responses lea to the eradication of the gap? Seems a reasonable enough insistence to be honest.It's also largely our own view - men and women tend, note, tend - to react differently to the arrival of the little...

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The document that changed the world

Forty years ago, in 1978, 18 farmers from the village of Xiaogang in China, met at night in secret. They had seen subsistence and famine. Exhausted and emaciated, they lacked the energy to work the collective fields as Party discipline required. A few years earlier they had seen 67 of their 120 population starve to death in the "Great Leap Forward" Now they took matters into their own hands. By flickering lights (none had seen electricity), they came forward in turn to sign a document...

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It’s definitely, absolutely, a measurement error – just, well, how large a one is it?

As Paul Krugman pointed out, productivity isn't everything but in the long run it's pretty much everything. That productivity of labour is the largest, by far, determinant of future living standards. Thus the recent slow down in the labour productivity numbers is something to worry about. Most people getting this wrong, including Martin Wolf:One possible explanation is mismeasurement. It is, and always has been, difficult to measure the impact of new technologies, particularly now when many...

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Madsen Moment – The Minimum Wage

On Monday we gathered in Parliament's Terrace Pavilion to hear Professor David Neumark deliver the annual Adam Smith Lecture. This year it was on the impact of the Minimum Wage in the USA and the UK.Building on what we heard at the lecture, Dr Pirie uses this week's Madsen Moment to explain why the policy fails its most basic test – helping the poor.

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