Economic Theory
Most Western countries today offer extensive pension and healthcare entitlements which are predicated on inter-generational transfers: those of working age pay the benefits of the old in exchange for the promise to receive payments and public services commensurate with their lifetime contributions in retirement. Yet increasingly lavish benefits, rising life expectancy with which the statutory ... Continue reading
There is a strong case to be made that the most important pre-requisite for a sustainable environment is a society that has a sophisticated, comprehensive and respected set of institutions based on private property. This will not necessarily solve all problems, but it is a good start. As Thomas Aquinas put it, in one of ... Continue reading
Justine Greening, the women and equalities minister, is being criticised because she has rejected most of the 17 recommendations of the Women and Equalities Select Committee for ‘addressing the structural reasons why women are paid 18 per cent less than men’. We should perhaps take issue with this much-touted figure for starters: the Women and ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Consider this thought experiment. You have been transported back to 1912 and have the power to change the course of history. You foresee a century ravaged by the effects of two catastrophic World Wars, with a resulting 100m casualties. You also know the effects of violent communist revolution and rule, with a death toll almost ... Continue reading
Anything can happen when faith comes under fire. Take the classic tale of Peter the Apostle, who denied Christ three times before the rooster crowed; and in a more modern twist, take Prime Minister May, who this week managed to dodge stating her support for West Cumberland Hospital’s maternity services four times over the course ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Socialism is popular in Britain. More popular than capitalism, at any rate. That was the result of a YouGov survey last year, in which 36% of respondents expressed a favourable view of socialism, while only 32% expressed an unfavourable one. Capitalism, meanwhile, is viewed unfavourably by 39% of respondents, while only 33% view it favourably. ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
The challenge for Greece is how to reduce taxes without lowering government revenue in a stagnant economy that is under tight fiscal monitoring by its lenders. Global experience has shown that one of the most effective ways to increase economic activity, and eventually increase tax revenue, is to reduce corporate taxes. There is a wide ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
The financial crash knocked some of the stuffing out of the economics profession, though you wouldn’t know it given the confidence with which economists still parade their forecasts. A few – especially those with a monetarist or Austrian inclination – publicly expressed concern about policy in 2005-2007, but nobody from the mainstream predicted a financial ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality
The universal Church has not always been a strong supporter of globalisation and certainly not of free trade. In 1967, for example, Pope Paul VI published Populorum progressio. This was a major encyclical on human development which inspired the creation of Cafod and many other charitable organisations. The document was highly critical of free trade, ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Continued from Part 1   The great 20th century economist Joseph Schumpeter noted that it is not our technological capabilities that hold back our innovative powers, but the economic and social conditions of a time. This aversion to “creative destruction” has been present throughout history, with even Queen Elizabeth I rejecting the patenting of a ... Continue reading