Housing and Planning
You hear that a private developer plans to build a new apartment building across the street. What does that mean to you? Here are some typical responses: “More traffic and less street parking!” “Crowded classrooms!” “My home will lose value!” “The character of the neighbourhood will change!” Or the ever-popular-but-seldom-spoken, “The wrong kind of people will ... Continue reading
If you’re under 30 — or have a child in their teens — then chances are you’ve heard of a game called Fortnite. Fortnite, a “survival shooter” video game released last year, has quickly become one of the most popular online games in the world — a towering cultural phenomenon on a par with Minecraft ... Continue reading
Before the UK joined the European Union, we had a stable and vibrant financial sector which had always been one of the most lightly regulated in the world. Exchange controls from 1939 to 1979 combined with high inflation in the 1970s meant that some parts of the City became backwaters in global terms. However, sectors ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
The House of Commons Education Committee has been hearing about childcare and early years provision from various sector groups. The news isn’t good. Despite the huge amounts of taxpayers’ money now being pumped into childcare, it’s not working out the way politicians hoped. For one thing, as Liz Bayrum of the Professional Association for Childcare ... Continue reading
Labour Market
Jeremy Corbyn has had another brainwave. The Labour leader wants to make it illegal for businesses to “pocket” tips and optional service charges. Some restaurants and hospitality firms currently collectivise what we add to our bills or give to waiters and waitresses. They might directly pool tips to redistribute them through a common fund system ... Continue reading
The UK labour market is not some "Wild West", where ruthless employers are free to exploit defenceless workers. The last thirty years have seen a proliferation of government regulation of employment, with laws on discrimination, minimum wages, unfair dismissal, union recognition, paid holidays, parental leave, flexible working,  and a host of other interventions However, although ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Next time someone advocates a new government policy, here’s a simple test to tell whether they are serious or selling snake oil: are they willing to acknowledge the trade-offs inherent in their proposal? That might seem a banal – and low – hurdle to pass. But it has a remarkable ability to separate wheat from ... Continue reading
Tax and Fiscal Policy
Would the world be a better place if offshore finance didn’t exist? Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell doubtless thinks so, believing that the tax planning these jurisdictions make possible only hurts other countries. Yet a look at the evidence might surprise him. There is ample reason to venture that the unprecedented rise in living standards and ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
…continued from Part 2   China’s Drive for National and Global “Greatness” In the case of China, President Xi Jinping rules over a Communist Party and a political dictatorship that rejects the very notion of individual freedom and a free-market economy. China is a peculiar mix of State enterprises and private businesses (great and small) ... Continue reading