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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

Number Ten’s first Prime Minister

On September 22nd, 1735, Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister (although the title was not used until much later), moved into Number Ten Downing Street (although it did not have that number then). Its famous door (through which it was not then entered) has become an iconic symbol of Britain's democratic government. That famous door was not added until 40 years later, and was made of oak until after the 1991 IRA mortar attack on the building, following which it was replaced by...

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Carbon abolition misunderstands the entire climate change problem

Talk about entirely missing the point:It is time to do this for climate change: to make human carbon pollution illegal in every country in the world. It is time for a “carbon abolition” movement, to put an end to emissions.The justification for this is:Human-induced climate change is a moral wrong. It involves one group of humans harming others. People of this generation harming those in future generations. People in the developed world harming those in the developing world. Each of us is...

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H G Wells – the future seen through fiction

Described as the most important English writer of his age, H G Wells was born on September 21st, 1866, and died in 1946, shortly before his 80th birthday. His international fame is demonstrated by his appearance in the cover of Time magazine on the day before his 60th birthday.He wrote novels, especially science fiction stories that anticipated the future. He managed to make the impossible seem believable, and his record of prediction is impressive. Writing in the late 19th and very early...

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The actual problem with the Green New Deal

Both here and in the US there’s this thing called the Green New Deal. A vast and transformative project to, well, actually, to move the world over to an entirely different economic structure. The claimed justification being the need to deal with climate change. Caroline Lucas is to launch the proposal for legislation. There’s a problem with it though:It’s been more than 10 years in the making, and is the top demand of the youth strikers gathering on Friday for the UK’s largest ever climate...

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A Third Way for Education

Our school system is far from perfect. At the moment reform is being dominated by the left. In the upcoming Labour party conference, a motion, backed by John McDonnell, has been tabled to make it Labour policy to abolish all private schools. This is a massive step up from the already radical proposals from the Labour party. At the same time the Conservative party, unironically, have nothing to do but argue for a continuation of the current system. There must be an alternative to both of these...

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A panic started a depression

The panic of 1873 triggered a worldwide recession, starting in the US. On September 20th the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading for the first time, and closed for 10 days. The panic resulted from speculative over-investment in railroads that followed the end of the Civil War. In the five years from 1868 - 1873, some 33,000 miles of track was laid, some resulting from government land grants and subsidies, but mostly funded on borrowed money from the sale of bonds. Vast amount of capital...

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George Monbiot falls for a spoof – and is wrong to boot

The advantage of a newspaper over whoever just publishing stuff on the internet is those teams of editors who have a look at stuff before the print button is pushed. Well, sometimes:The most expensive yacht in the world, costing £3bn, is a preposterous slab of floating bling called History Supreme. It carries 100 tonnes of gold and platinum wrapped around almost every surface, even the anchor.That’s actually a spoof press release from 2011 rather than an extant boat. Still, at least The...

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The Hong Kong transfer treaty

On September 19th, 1984, the UK and China agreed the English and Chinese texts of what came to be known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It set out the details of Hong Kong’s status when sovereignty was transferred on 1st July 1997. The Chinese had argued that Hong Kong should simply revert to being Chinese territory when the UK’s lease expired, since the historical treaties that underpinned that lease were acquired under duress. They ruled out any prospect of a continuation of British...

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Sirius Minerals and the imminent global shortage of potash

One of the usual claims from the wilder shores of the environmental movement is that the world is about to run out of potash. This would be a problem, if true, because that’s the way that we get water soluble potassium into the soil so that we can grow plants to feed us all. The alternative is to try organic farming, using manure, and also ploughing up all the land we currently leave nature to thrive in.As we’ve discussed before the claim is nonsense in itself. Because the measurements are...

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The Anti-Corn Law League fought for free trade

On September 18th, 1838, the most successful single issue pressure group of the 19th Century was established as a nation-wide organization dedicated to free trade. Specifically, it demanded repeal of the Corn Laws, introduced in 1815 to keep cereal prices high in Britain by taxing foreign imports of cereals. The laws prohibited the import of foreign corn at less than 80s a quarter (28 lb), a limit replaced in 1828 by a sliding scale. The laws served the interests of the landed classes and...

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