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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

Farmers and the milk price: this is how markets are supposed to work

We’ve another of those pieces complaining about the fact that dairy farmers cannot make money producing milk these days: As I write this, the future of our dairy farm is bleak. It must be a crazy concept to keep borrowing money to produce something that almost all of us use and which is, somewhere along the line, making money for somebody. But farmers’ lives and homes are so entwined with the production of food that they continue doing it when most serious business people would have...

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If you hate sweatshops, you should love immigration

Last week I argued that sweatshops are good for workers in poor countries. They usually pay more than the alternatives their workers have near them, they seem to reduce child marriage and pregnancy rates for girls who live near them, and when you actually ask workers in poor countries, they tell you that sweatshops are the best options going. But that isn’t sufficient, because compared to even very bad jobs in Western countries, sweatshop jobs are still exhausting, poorly paid, and...

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This blessed isle, this England

Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have so many keeping watch over us.  An elderly woman running a B&B up here on the Norfolk Costa Geriatrica has not been paying attention to this good fortune.  Someone comes in from the village to help with making beds and the like.  As an employer she should have been complying with the rules on Legionnaires’ disease but, and I know it is hard to believe, the guidance had escaped her attention.  Its six pages are merely an introduction to “the...

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Not enough people watch Game of Thrones

That might just sound like the subjective ramblings of someone who’s into blood, guts, quality drama and gratuitous nudity. But economic theory suggests that an inefficiently low number of people are enjoying George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, along with other cultural gems such as Wolf Hall, Mad Men, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The BBC’s current system turns its rights over to private distributors who profit from the sole right to sell it on. Instead the...

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The case for abolishing Inheritance Tax

Posthumous taxation is no different to Victorian style grave robbery, only done on a much larger scale. Morally- the inheritance tax should be abolished. As well as the moralistic argument, there are also serious economic consequences of the tax- chiefly that it makes the tax system incredibly complicated. Abolishing the tax also means that those who are about to die will have the security of knowing their loved ones will have enough to live comfortably- a worry most parents have in common....

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Finally, an idea on international aid we can get behind

Should we clothe the naked, feed the starving and succour the ill favoured in our world? Yes, no doubt we should. Emergency aid isn’t one of those things that really causes much controversy. There might be arguments about how it is done, should we ship food or ship money to buy food locally, for example? (The answer is the second). But that’s not what international aid is these days: it’s rather more about paying the EU to teach people to take trapeeze lessons.So, we...

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Britain should leave the United Nations

Much talk these days is made of Britain leaving the EU. But what of other bodies that violate Parliamentary Sovereignty? What about, for example, the United Nations? The EU, is made of 28 member states, most of whom could broadly be described as liberal democracies . The UN is made of 167 non-micro states, 88 of whom The Economist would describe as “Hybrid regimes” or “Authoritarian regimes”. Only 25 are full democracies. When dictatorships have a say on the policy of Great Britain, one...

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Britain needs more slums

The problems with the UK housing market have been well-documented. There is a ‘housing crisis.’ No-one today can afford to buy the sorts of houses their parents did. Household formation is depressed. Every day, the reports get more lurid. The latest example of this is a survey suggesting that all 43 of the affordable houses in London aren’t actually houses, but rather boats. There has been a proliferation of not-houses in recent years, from houseboats to...

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Can we really decriminalise sex work, globally?

Amnesty International have released a draft policy arguing for global decriminalisation of sex work. As a rule, decriminalisation of consensual actions between individuals that do not directly harm others is something I support. Prioritising the removal of legislation that disproportionately hurts the worst off/most marginalised is top of this agenda. However, wading into an unfamiliar political landscape and applying libertarian principles without care for the consequences is not something I...

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If only the warmists bothered to read the actual research

Talking about climate change inevitably brings up huge shouting matches. But let’s put that to one side for a moment and just start insisting that those who do urge action on it actually read the reports that lead to the urging of action. As The Guardian quite obviously isn’t here: The fact is that it is in the very poorest countries where women have the most children, on average. And where population growth slows, generally economic growth speeds up, and carbon emissions rise...

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