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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

A ban always does mean people want the thing being banned

A ban on the taking of narcotics does, quite obviously, mean that those proposing the ban think some would like to take narcotics. A ban on booze sales after midnight equally means those banning think that in the absence of the ban booze sales after midnight would take place as part of voluntary interactions.It is with this in mind that we can evaluate the ban on petrol or diesel cars by 2030. The government is insisting that the electric, hydrogen, whatever, cars on offer by then will be...

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Oxfam demands that we all get much poorer right now

Oxfam has given us an interesting little lesson in how an assumption drives the conclusion here. They’re telling us that richer people have higher carbon emissions than poorer people. This is terribly naughty of us all. And it is all likely to read this too. The top 10% of the world is, as they say, those earning more than $35,000 a year. Everyone on more than median UK income that is, roughly enough. Their solution is that everyone at this giddy height of plutocratic luxury must have less -...

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It’s such fun watching a myth being created

Fun to watch the attempt, as long as none of us succumb. As Will Hutton states:The first issue would surely have been the need to build a resilient public health system capable of handling pandemics effectively; it is the precondition for all economic and social life.Local and city government simply has to be more empowered to act, with systematic access to data, on the German model; and, like Germany, the diagnostic capacity has to be built within the public sector rather than run by an...

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A bad – and important – missing of the point

We ourselves have a certain nostalgia for flying, especially those days of yore and unlimited free gin even in cattle class. We are perhaps less enamoured of today’s bus in the sky manner of travel. But the important point to grasp here is that those are our preferences, not those of others:Environmental campaigners have condemned the rise of scenic “joy flights” aimed at passengers “missing the excitement of travel”.This is to miss the entire point of the whole economic exercise.Anna Hughes,...

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Cornish lithium

Apparently Cornwall is floating on a pond of lithium containing brine. We have no view at all on whether this is a commercially viable prospect. This is not a share tipping column. The presence of lithium does not surprise at all though. There is, for example, a similar finding from the geologically very similar Ore Mountains on the German/Czech border. The point we do want to make is that this is just another example of how we’re not about to run short of any metal or mineral we might find...

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This command of other peoples’ stuff is very popular, isn’t it?

As we noted yesterday there’s a certain fashion for assuming that other peoples’ property isn’t in fact other peoples’.Effectively commercialising innovation and then defending it from being snapped up by overseas rivals are vital too.For overseas to have any useful meaning here it would be necessary for the innovation, or the organisation, to be owned by the country. Which isn’t what is being talked about at all. Rather, the results of innovation having been done and being owned by people...

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PHISAG wants to hear from you

As Matt Hancock has been too busy even to think about the date for the Social Care Green Paper (Q182), you may be wondering how he has been spending his time.  The answer is establishing the "Population Health Improvement Stakeholder Advisory Group" (PHISAG) which will be ready to roll and wanting to receive your advice next month. This will be part of Lady Dido Harding's new empire: the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), You may remember her as the person bringing us the world...

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There’s ever such a slight problem with this industrial strategy for ARM

Apparently we should try to sell what we don’t own. There’s a part of the criminal law that deals with that sort of thing:There’s one way to save Arm from Nvidia – sell it to someone elseWho is doing the selling here? As far as we can see that’s Softbank. So, who is this who should be selling ARM to someone else? Us? We don’t own it. Britain doesn’t own it, the country doesn’t, the political class doesn’t. So, how can any one of those “we”s sell something it doesn’t own to someone else? It...

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Tax Justice UK seem to have a problem with numbers

Or perhaps it is logic that’s escaping them. We’re told that their focus groups produce the information that everyone’s entirely willing to pay more tax to gain more of that lovely state goodness. Which is a bit of a problem for the other major work of Tax Justice UK, complaining about how many people dodge too much of the bill for lovely state goodness. But let us leave that little difficulty aside. We all all for more tax they say. Except:According to our research, 74% of people want to see...

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You’ll never guess who owns the politically allocated property

No, really, you won’t:A commercial farmer has been evicted from his land in Zimbabwe six weeks after the government announced a “historic” deal with dispossessed white landowners. Martin Grobler, 63, and his wife Debbie were given hours to vacate their home by the new owner, an official from the lands ministry, who arrived with a sheriff, a court order and a lorry full of police.Isn’t that a terrific surprise? It’s the same feature of political allocation of property that leads to councillors...

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