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
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
Economic Theory
The old joke “Why did the chicken cross the road?” (“To get to the other side”) might have come out of some readers’ Christmas crackers. In fact, there is a serious point to that joke. The chicken can know of no higher purpose. There was no ultimate end: it just crossed the road to get ... Continue reading

Mark Littlewood writes for The Times

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs has written for The Times Business on the impact of the current political climate on the economy. The accepted wisdom is that uncertainty and unpredictability in the arena of politics are highly deleterious to the economy. The reasoning goes that if businesses don’t have some ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
The French ‘Gilets Jaunes’ started their protests a month ago and since then the global media landscape has interpreted their actions and demands in a million ways. News outlets representing all political angles have found something that they can love or hate about the protests. Macron became the punching bag of conservatives and socialists alike. ... Continue reading

No-Deal Fear Checker, No 8

According to the latest Whitehall analysis, the UK economy could be between 6.3% and 10.7% smaller in a no-deal scenario, compared to remaining in the EU. These figures refer to the level of GDP around 15 years after the UK’s new relationship with the EU comes into effect. Another study by the Bank of England ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
By far the least interesting aspect of the Brexit campaign is that it won. What should be much more mystifying for those flummoxed by recent events is that, even on a bad day, the Leave vote would have probably been somewhere in the region of 35-45%. This irreducible core of euroscepticism, near-half of the electorate ... Continue reading

Trade sanctions rarely work & create substantial costs for the world economy, says new IEA report

Summary: During the twentieth century, economic sanctions became more prevalent. In the twenty-first century they have become a frequently used tool for governments seeking to change the behaviour of other countries.  An extensive research literature exists on the effectiveness of sanctions. Overall the research shows that sanctions very rarely achieve foreign policy goals. At the ... Continue reading

IEA releases report on the side effects of trade sanctions

More and more, governments are using sanctions as a tool to change the behaviour of other countries - most notably the USA. But according to a new IEA report released today, these sanctions are often ineffective and can have damaging consequences. The report, 'Blocking Progress: The damaging side effects of economic sanctions', makes the case ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
Continued from Part 1. Furthermore, the condition of poverty is not uniform and some will endure more hardship than others. HBAI data do allow us to make some distinctions. 1.5 million children are classified as living in conditions of low income and material deprivation in 2016/17 (before housing costs). That is 11 per cent. The ... Continue reading