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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

Mr Johnson, Tear Down Those Borders

Amidst 45 minutes of rhetoric, Boris Johnson’s conference speech did have a smidge of policy. The Prime Minister used this opportunity to briefly outline a key cause of Britain's stagnation:  mass immigration. Boris’ view is that an excessive supply of labour has ruined the bargaining power of native workers resulting in lower wages and higher unemployment. However, cutting immigration won’t reduce unemployment and it won’t increase wages. A reality of immigration, widely ignored by...

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Now, what was it that Hayek said about the NHS making us slaves?

The Road To Serfdom does indeed make the claim that nationalised health care is the start of a slippery slope to a certain slavery to the state. It is a proper slippery slope argument too, not the logical fallacy. For the insistence is that if this first step is taken then the rest will inevitably follow.It’s also worth noting what the argument is not, which is that government making or ensuring provision for health care will lead to such. Rather, that if it is the state itself doing it then...

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Why would we want to tax consumers more and landlords less?

The argument in favour of us having all those clever and informed people governing us, in such detail, is that they’re all clever and informed people governing us. Therefore they can correct our misbehaviours and solve our problems, in detail.This all rather fails when those doing the governing are neither clever nor informed: Rishi Sunak is stepping up plans for an online sales tax to level the playing field between tech behemoths and high street retailers after delaying an overhaul of...

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Waging war against asylum seekers

The Nationality and Borders Bill will make it more challenging for asylum seekers to access protection. The government has justified the changes by claiming that the system is overwhelmed, with 73% of claims having been in the system for over a year. While this is certainly an issue, the solution should be to improve the systems for the benefit of the UK and asylum seekers, rather than break the Refugee Convention. The Refugee Convention requires states to provide certain protections to...

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The Hume-Rousseau Affair

When David Hume learned in 1762 that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was interested in relocating to Britain, he got busy to make that happen. The two men first met in Paris in 1765. They travelled together from Paris to England in January 1766. Hume arranged lodging for Rousseau, otherwise tended to him, and successfully procured a pension for him from King George III.Within a few months, things turned very sour. Rousseau wrote hateful letters to Hume accusing him of having plotted for his disgrace...

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The problem with government planning things

There are problems with planning. There’s that uncertainty about the future which gangs aft agley the ability to make it arrive on time and in line as upon rails. There’s the quality of the people doing the planning of course, a talent for kissing babies not being notably efficient as a method of selecting those who should decide upon, say, what the energy production mix should be. There’s that problem with planning for everyone rather than just for the self-interested who bother to engage...

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At least we’re getting an accurate definition of austerity

How long has this taken to arrive? “Restrictions on the growth in health and social care expenditure during ‘austerity’ have been associated with tens of thousands more deaths than would have been observed had pre-austerity expenditure growth been sustained,” said Prof Karl Claxton of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.“Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the slowdown in the rate of improvement in life expectancy in England and Wales since 2010 is...

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We fear the Prince has been grievously ill-informed

It is never The Prince who is wrong but the advisors. So we fear it is here:In his interview about climate change, ahead of his inaugural Earthshot Prize awards, the duke said: 'We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.'This about Bezos boldly firing Shatner off into sub-orbit and all that. The mistake being to think that space isn’t a (not the, a) solution to repairing this planet. For...

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Covid and the Permanent Income Hypothesis

In a rare display of political bipartisanship, Joe Biden and Donald Trump have been united by their belief that fiscal injections are the sole gospel of salvation for the Covid-19 economy. This idea is derived from the largely untested Keynesian axiom of the ‘consumption function’, that stipulates a universally positive correlation between one's disposable income and their levels of consumption (measured by their personal consumption expenditure).This thinking flows into the idea that...

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Finally, a sensible complaint about business rates

It really does seem to take time for good economics to sink into the collective consciousness. Henry George was making this point a century and a half ago:The industry groups – representing all sectors of the UK economy from airports to pubs, shops, construction and manufacturing – said the current system served as a tax on investment and could hold back firms from spending on green projects and boosting their operations outside London and large cities.Their statement urged the chancellor to...

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