Markets and Morality
“How could they be so heartless?” declared a newspaper on Facebook. “Shame on you” screamed the paper’s headline. No, this was not about the despicable bomb attack in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood on Saturday. It was rather a public shaming for the ride-sharing app Uber after customers complained of increased prices following the explosion. With a … Continue reading “The public are wrong. A defence of ‘heartless’ surge-pricing”
Economic Theory
In my recent paper, entitled How Governments Harm Trade, I explain why in most cases the free market works best when governments do not interfere in the prices society engenders by the laws of supply and demand. Those prices, I will argue, reflect human choices played out on a day to day basis, and are … Continue reading “How governments distort and reduce trade”
Economic Theory
With labour productivity rising only slowly, and computing power doubling, roughly, every two years, it is easy to see why businesses are eager to replace labour with technology. Perhaps ‘techno-worriers’ are on to something. Looking at the potential impact of robots and AI on employment, two key concerns arise – will unemployment skyrocket? And will … Continue reading “Will robots and Artificial Intelligence ‘steal’ our jobs?”
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan is in the process of attempting to increase the regulatory burden on Uber and other app based ride-hailing services. The main detail of the current proposal is to require drivers to undergo an expensive English language test prior to gaining a licence. In truth, these new proposals are less onerous than … Continue reading “How app-based ride sharing services overcome information asymmetries”
This article is based on a presentation Prof Booth gave at the Autumn University of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECF). Never before has a developed country with a high level of government spending and an enormous pay-as-you-go social security system faced the kind of demographic decline that we will see over the … Continue reading “Europe’s demographic timebomb”
Economic Theory
It looks as if Hinkley Point will now be given the green light. Astonishingly, the government has found a way of producing electricity that is even more expensive than offshore wind, and it is backing it. It just goes to show that the new industrial strategy is not a great deal different from the old … Continue reading “Two fallacies around Hinkley Point”
Housing and Planning
Rent controls are back on the political agenda. Their reintroduction is now official Labour Party policy, and the Conservatives will probably follow with a somewhat milder version in due course. It is easy to see why: according to a recent Survation poll, two thirds of the public support rent controls, with most of the remaining … Continue reading “Shooting the messenger: Rent controls have always and everywhere ended in failure”
Tax and Fiscal Policy
Every once in a while, Oxfam likes to talk about inequality in the UK, though God knows what that has to do with famine relief. They invariably twist the facts and they’ve been doing it again today. Oxfam have realised that journalists are not familiar with the inequality data and don’t know the difference between … Continue reading “Oxfam’s inequality fabrications”
Markets and Morality
Meritocracy. It’s a term beloved by Conservatives, who say they want a “fair” society where people’s outcomes are determined purely by a combination of hard work and talent. This was Theresa May’s rallying cry last week as she turned Tory education policy on its head by outlining the case for a new generation of grammar … Continue reading “Who could be opposed to meritocracy? Me, that’s who”
Economic Theory
Over Labour Day weekend, I saw many friends arguing that labour unions and government intervention “humanised capitalism” by giving us the 8-hour workday, the 40-hour workweek, ending child labour, and so forth. Unfortunately, these folks have their history backward. We didn’t humanise capitalism, it humanised us. The wealth produced by capitalism allowed us to indulge … Continue reading “We didn’t humanise markets, markets humanised us”