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
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
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
The furore about the gender pay gap continues, with little economic analysis but a lot of emotion. The latest concern is over the unsurprising news that the part-time work done by many women is paid less, and offers less career progression, than full-time work. This is likely to lead to demands that businesses equalise hourly ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
In the UK, a furore has broken out over the failure of a company called Carillion. The focus of the debate is on its involvement with government contracts largely through what is known as the “private finance initiative” (PFI). Until the 1990s, the government would have built, paid for, and run all hospitals itself, borrowing ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Now we’ve finally learned what went wrong in Venezuela: it wasn’t real socialism. At the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell explained: "It’s not that the issue is socialism vs capitalism. […] All the objectives of Chavez […] would have been successful if they had mobilised the oil resources to actually ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
The Left has won the economic argument. You can tell that from the fact that whatever happens in the world, it only takes five minutes for someone to come up with an explanation for why this event somehow represents “a damning indictment of neoliberalism”. And within another fifteen minutes, that interpretation will have become the ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Continued from Part 2   Regardless of which individual is “playing this role” in society, we anticipate each will act toward any others with whom they interact in a generally prescribed way. Thus, if I go into a bank I know that if I sit down with a bank manager he will be able (and ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Continued from Part 1.   But if not under the commanding instructions of a central planner or government regulator, how will people know how, when, and for what to apply their unique bits of knowledge, which cumulatively add up to all “the knowledge in the world,” but resides in no one mind or group of ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Open, competitive markets have a resilient capacity to successfully coordinate the actions of billions of people around the world. With an amazing adaptability to changing circumstances, the actions and reactions of suppliers and demanders are brought into balance with each other. Yet, none of this requires government planning or control. But how does this all ... Continue reading