Trade, Development, and Immigration
Around the time the US Congress debated the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), opinion surveys on the subject showed an intriguing divide. When voters were asked about individual components of Obamacare, it turned out that a lot of components enjoyed widespread support, and that there was quite a lot of agreement between Democrats, ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
We are living in a new era of 'Nudge'. Over the past decade, a growing number of academics and policymakers have made the moral case for the state to use its coercive power to steer our choices towards what they believe best - provided we retain the ability to opt out of the specified choice ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
In 1958, the British couple Alec and Moira Dickinson founded the charity Volunteer Service Overseas. Armed with the lofty vision of a “world without poverty”, the organisation supplied British school-leavers the chance to volunteer their unskilled labour in developing countries, providing them with only basic accommodation and a small stipend to cover living costs. Ever ... Continue reading
Energy and Environment
Revelling in things that are non-quantifiably, hard-to-explain, valuable for their own sake is one of the great features of being human. For me, one of these things is an interest in space. Rockets, stars, impossible questions about infinity — you name it, I’m a sucker for it. Sure, there are great practical reasons to learn about all ... Continue reading
Housing and Planning
The housing crisis is Britain’s most urgent economic and social problem. This is not exactly news, but until serious steps are being undertaken to address it, it cannot be said often enough. In this sense, Shelter’s new report “A vision for social housing. The final report of Shelter’s commission on the future of social housing” ... Continue reading
Lifestyle Economics
Opponents of drugs reform often trot out the line that the UK gave up fighting the war on drugs some decades ago. They argue that, following the sexual and moral revolutions which shook British society during the 1960s, the police effectively stopped trying to enforce the laws prohibiting the possession and consumption of cannabis. Any ... Continue reading
While Friedrich Hayek penned The Road to Serfdom in wartime Britain, on the other side of the world another Viennese exile was composing a great anti-totalitarian text. That work became The Open Society and Its Enemies, by Karl Popper, Hayek’s friend and correspondent. Written during Popper’s tenure at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, ... Continue reading
The morning I turned eight, I woke up and told my father that I was “halfway there”. This, in my home state of Connecticut, was in reference to getting my driving licence, a process I could start on my sixteenth birthday. As a kid, this was the milestone that I was most excited to reach, ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
A lot has been written about how social media (or digital media more generally), by creating online echo chambers and filter bubbles, increases political polarisation. On social media, it is easy to create an environment which confirms our pre-existing beliefs, but rarely find those beliefs challenged in an intelligent way. Thus, our beliefs become more ... Continue reading
Step away from Twitter for a few hours and you often miss something. No, I don’t mean Chris Grayling and trains, or Chris Grayling and ferries (any news on planes?). I mean the furore over the nation’s most loved bakery launching a new product. Yesterday it was announced that Greggs would release a vegan sausage ... Continue reading