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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

What horrors! How could this be?

The Guardian runs a piece from a civil servant. In which we are told of the horrors to come:The omens aren’t good: we woke up on Saturday to a fawning interview in the Daily Mail, which confirmed Johnson’s incendiary plans to fix the cost of living crisis by cutting civil service numbers by a fifth, down to levels last seen in 2016.At which point we do have a question. Was the country notably undergoverned in 2016? We can’t say we particularly noted that it was ourselves but that is the...

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An example of 58 economists not being economists

There’s an open letter - which so far at least we can find no evidence of someone publishing - going around from 58 economists. Stating that the 58 aren’t being economists:A group of 58 leading economists and politicians, including the former business minister Vince Cable, has written to the chancellor to say that scaling back City regulation will put the UK at risk of another financial crash.The open letter, which has also been signed by the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and...

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Under daily attack from the Department of Health

The proposed ban on buy-one-get-one-free offers on foods considered to be unhealthy has been postponed for a year, with the cost of living crisis cited as the reason. Another part of the reason might have been the growing hostility on the part of several Conservative MPs to a stream of new laws from the Department of Health and Social Care designed to make it more expensive or difficult for people to do things the Department does not want them to do. They are usually things that people want...

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An energy windfall tax on exactly what now?

There are calls for a windfall tax on the “excess” profits being made by energy companies. This is, of course, ludicrous. Taxing supply at a time of dearth really is not the way to go about things. However, there’s a subsidiary point to be made here. Which energy companies should be taxed given that all are making “excess” profits? North Sea oilwells should be taxed more heavily and so should the production of natural gas. Energy companies are making record-breaking profits from the sale of...

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If only George Monbiot bothered to read the climate change science

This applies to many more we’re afraid:His is the latest in a line of books by professional optimists – Gates, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley – who have failed to grasp the nature of either Earth systems or the political economy that bears upon them. These men are not climate deniers; they are politics deniers. They appear to believe that the transformations necessary to prevent systemic collapse can happen without political pressure or political change. Understandably, the media loves them....

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In praise of crypto markets

We don’t really even pretend to understand the crypto markets. Apparently something called the Luna/Terra stablecoin has gone kablooie. As far as we do understand it if the Terra became worth anything less than $1 USD then Luna’s were issued to the value of $1 USD which could then be swapped for a Terra. We’re really not sure if we’ve got that right but given that Luna is now worth $0 USD this would require eiether an infinite issuance or an infinite number to swap for a Terra at which point...

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Prices really are information you know

No doubt all recall how we shouldn’t bother fracking in the UK. For if we did then the increased gas supply wouldn’t make any difference to the price. That being one of the more economically illiterate arguments that has been put forward. Now it is true that if gas were perfectly transportable then an increase in supply wouldn’t affect the local price very much. But that very non-locality of the price drop from an increase in supply means that many more people would benefit. This simply must...

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Economics really isn’t this difficult, no, really

Britain has indeed had a certain number of sterling crises in the past. It’s not going to have one now. We say that in absolute and full confidence: By UK standards, what has happened in the past few weeks qualifies as a wobble rather than a full-blown crisis of the sort that forced sterling off the Gold Standard in 1931 or out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism by speculators led by George Soros on Black Wednesday 30 years ago this year.Nor was the sell-off as serious as that seen in...

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An Accepted Code of Behaviour

The word “protocol” comes from Greek and means, amongst other things, “an accepted code of behaviour”. The question here is how long behaviour has to continue in Ireland before it can be regarded as “accepted”. In the dawn of the 20th century, my great-grandfather was deputy head of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Sinn Féin was founded in 1905 and won 73 of the Irish 105 seats at the 1918 general election. The loyalist Black and Tans were formed in response and the troubles which had begun in...

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A logical error in this climate change shouting match

Start by agreeing with the base contention - emissions are causing climate change, something needs to be done about it all. No, just start here as a basis for the argumentation.Does this mean that all activities should be reducing their emissions? “It’s clear that we need to demand reduction via a frequent flyer levy, which would discourage the frequent flying by a small group of people which makes up the bulk of emissions from planes.”Air travel accounted for 2.1% of human-produced carbon...

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