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
Economic Theory
…continued from Part 1.   Protectionism Is Planning Winners and Losers Trade-restricting policies represent forms of governmental economic planning. It is usual to think of “planning” in the classic Soviet or Nazi sense of a government directly and comprehensively owning and/or controlling the means of production and commanding their allocation and use. But the fact ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Trade wars are dangerous and harmful policies for governments to pursue. They hurt consumers due to higher prices and fewer alternatives, they reduce competitive opportunities for producers by restricting markets, and they narrow the benefits that come from a market-based system of division of labor in which each participant tends to devote his or her ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Plenty of theologians and Christian leaders have become animated by the temptations of money. According to St Paul, the love of money is the root of all evil. Pope Francis has insisted that “money has to serve, not to rule”. But what is money? In fact, it has a relatively mundane function. In simple terms, ... Continue reading