A system of private banks ensures stability without a central bank

Summary:  In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Scotland had a stable financial system. Its stability arose from the pressure that private banks, which had the right to issue bank notes, placed on each other to behave prudently. Unlike in England, the Scottish banking system had no central bank. If one bank within the ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions

Kate Andrews writes for City AM

Kate Andrews, News Editors at the Institute of Economic Affairs has written for City AM on the foreign secretary's speech on Brexit. In her article Kate argues that if the cabinet is going to continue on with its series of Brexit vision speeches, ministers will need to produce more thought-provoking content than questions about personal ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published figures this week highlighting efforts to increase the numbers of female and minority ethnic recruits, and those with a state school education. Praiseworthy perhaps, but one very important reason why the legal profession generally does not ‘reflect the community it serves’, to use the SRA’s words, lies not in ... Continue reading
Britain takes a uniquely restrictive approach to occupational licensing. Around one in five UK employees requires a licence from government to practice their chosen occupation - a proportion which has doubled in the last fifteen years. Len Shackleton, IEA editorial fellow and author of a recent report into occupational licensing, sat down with us this ... Continue reading
Everyone objects to slavery. Employment should be voluntary. This liberal attitude towards labour does not extend to capital. A recent survey by the Legatum Institute showed that most Brits think people should be forced to invest in businesses on threat of imprisonment. That’s not quite how they put it. Instead, the survey respondents said that ... Continue reading
Tax and Fiscal Policy
So much for US Republicans starving the government beast. When the party’s major tax reform package passed in December, Democrats worried that projections for a $1 trillion debt increase over a decade would be used by Republicans to justify spending cuts and reforms to old-age entitlements. Instead, with a looming government shutdown, Republican and Democrat ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality
Robert H. Frank offered an unusual justification for clamping down on smokers in the New York Times last month. As it touches on some of the themes in my book Killjoys I want to discuss it. One the main points in Killjoys is that paternalists are always looking for ways to disguise their paternalism. Even in ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration

Julian Jessop writes for The Telegraph

Julian Jessop, Chief Economist at the Institute of Economic Affairs has written for The Telegraph following the release of the IEA Brexit Unit's latest paper on US-UK trade. In his article Julian argues that there are many areas where trade could be liberalised to the benefits of both sides. But here are just two examples ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
The government’s response to the Taylor Review seems, thankfully, to have avoided serious changes to the status of gig economy employment. However, one thing it seems to have gone for is acceptance of Taylor’s agenda for promoting ‘good’ or ‘quality’ work. This deserves closer scrutiny than it has so far received. The Department for Business, ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration

IEA Brexit Unit report features in City AM

A new IEA Brexit Unit report has featured in City AM that calls for an early trade deal to help post-Brexit Britain set out its stall as a global champion of free trade. The UK should target the US for a trade deal ahead of the trickier task of negotiating deals with big emerging economies ... Continue reading