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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 end of Prohibition

America went dry on January 17th, 1920, as the Eighteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution, inaugurating Prohibition. Just under 14 years later, on December 5th, 1933, the Twenty-First Amendment was added to the Constitution, repealing the Eighteenth and ending the era of Prohibition.Prohibition was a disaster, in that it was an attempt to force the views of some, led by pious protestants and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, upon the whole of America. The Anti-Saloon League was...

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To be nakedly ideological about utilities nationalisation

The country cousins over at the IFS are apparently being “nakedly ideological” when they question whether the re-nationalisation of the utilities will contribute to beating climate change. As is well known we’re rather less worried about that change problem, thinking it at worst a chronic problem that will be solved over time, but we can still be nakedly ideological ourselves on this more specific point.Labour’s plan to renationalise large chunks of the economy risks years of disruption that...

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Is it physically possible to plant 100 million trees per year?

Labour’s eye-catching promise to plant two billion trees by 2040 is not particularly believable. All the major political parties have pledged to plant millions of trees as part of a larger ‘green’ strategy. The Conservatives have committed to 30 million trees a year until 2024, while the Liberal Democrats want 60 million a year until 2045. Labour’s plans add up to 100 million a year. While this all sounds like a valiant cause and one that may be applauded by some, this forestry arms race...

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When a killer smog hit London

It began late on December 4th, 1952, and lasted about a week. It was London’s Great Smog, a name that derived from the combination of smoke and fog. Unusually cold weather coupled with an anticyclone and windless conditions created a pall of airborne pollutants that gripped the UK’s capital city for days.Virtually all of London’s several million homes were heated by coal fires, and the coal used was a low-grade, high sulphur variety, since the higher grade ‘hard’ coals such as anthracite were...

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The Singapore on Thames question – Do you sincerely want to be rich?

Quoting Bernie Cornfeld might not be entirely appropriate for a free market think tank as much of his activity was over the edge of what even we think a free market should allow. And yet it is the correct question to be asking about this idea of Singapore on Thames:If he wants working-class Labour votes the PM can’t promote the rightwing post-Brexit ideal of Singapore-on-ThamesSingapore’s GDP per capita, at PPP exchange rates, is some $57,700. That for the UK is some $39,700. for the...

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ASI Forum will change your life — sign up before it’s too late

This is important!Saturday, December 7th will not only change your life. It will change the world.That is when the people who will shape tomorrow’s world, including yourself, will see a glimpse of the future.That's because Saturday is the ASI’s Forum at The Comedy Store in London, where we will explore the ideas for a better future. A world in which young people are well educated so they can achieve success. Flying cars make traffic jams as obsolete as the smog they generated. Young people...

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The arrival of the potato

Thomas Herriot, an astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer and translator, is credited with first introducing the potato into England from Colombia in South America on December 3rd, 1586. It was a fateful event.The potato was a richer food source than grain. This was because grain stalks would collapse if the head were too heavy, whereas potatoes, grown underground, had no such limits. Not until Norman Borlaug developed short-stemmed grains in his Green Revolution, could cereal crops compete....

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If only the Fair Tax Mark knew what they were talking about

The Fair Tax Mark wants to tell us all that the Silicon Valley giants aren’t paying enough in tax. Their analysis rather failing on two technical points which they, as self-declared experts in taxation, should really know about. Plus, obviously, the economic point that we value organisations producing things for the value we place upon their production - defined as our value in the consumption of them - not how much tax they pay.That last will obviously not penetrate their tutti nello stato...

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Gary Becker

On December 2nd, 1930, Gary Becker was born. One of the most influential economists of his day, he received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1992. Much of his influence came about because he used the methods of economics to analyze human behaviour for the first time in areas such as family life, crime and sociology. As a professor of Economics and Sociology at Chicago, he was among the leaders of the so-called third generation of the Chicago School.In his “The Economics of Discrimination”...

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Those pensioner drug addicts

An interesting little commentary upon the nation’s drug woes here. The number of pensioners requiring treatment for the use of currently illegal drugs is rising substantially:The number of hospital admissions for pensioners with drug-related conditions has increased sixfold in the past decade, NHS figures have revealed. Charities have said that more older people living with addiction, and that the social isolation of older people can exacerbate problematic drug use such as opium, making it...

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