No-Deal Fear Checker, No. 5

According to a report from investment bank UBS, the UK economy is already 2.1% smaller than it would have been without Brexit. And because the UK has not even left the EU yet, the damage will only increase. The UBS report was only the latest of several papers using the same methodology, starting with an ... Continue reading
Summary: We live in a liberal, pluralistic, largely secular society where, in theory, there is fundamental protection for freedom of conscience generally and freedom of religion in particular. There is, however, both in statute and common law, increasing pressure on religious believers and conscientious objectors (outside wartime) to act in ways that violate their sincere, ... Continue reading

IEA releases primer on capitalism

Summary:  It is hard to find a book that explains, simply and fairly, what capitalism is, how it works, and its strengths and weaknesses. The very word capitalism was coined as a term of abuse. And still today, most books on the subject remain hostile to capitalism, or paint a distorted, confused picture of it. ... Continue reading

Clamping down on offshore financial centres would not raise tax revenue

Summary:  Offshore financial centres (OFCs) are alleged to be hotbeds of tax evasion. Their role in facilitating individual and corporate tax planning, which is entirely legal but politically controversial, has also come under the spotlight. However, OFCs play an important economic function. By mitigating instances of double and triple taxation, offshore centres raise aggregate investment. ... Continue reading

Insights from an Economic Contrarian

Introduction: In the summer of 2012, I was invited to write a weekly opinion column for City A.M. newspaper. It is a free, business-focused newspaper, launched in 2005, and is distributed at more than 250 commuter hubs across London and the Home Counties, as well as 1,600 offices throughout the City, Canary Wharf and other ... Continue reading

Melrose takeover of GKN is a matter for business, not politicians

Summary:  The ongoing controversy over Melrose’s purchase of engineering company GKN illustrates many common misunderstandings about how free markets can work to the benefit of all. Shareholders, not politicians, should decide how to run their businesses, including whether a new management team could do better. There is only a limited set of circumstances where it ... Continue reading

Politicians should stop jumping on the anti-finance bandwagon

Summary:  Animosity towards the business of finance is ancient and persistent. Because finance creates intangible value, its contribution to society is still invisible to many observers – including former regulator Lord Turner, who described large swathes of the sector as ‘socially useless’. Such claims are unfounded and dangerous. Not only that, but the oftproposed remedy ... Continue reading

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

Heavy handed regulation of ticket resales would be of scant benefit

Summary:  The reselling of tickets for events has a long history, dating back at least to Roman times. Such secondary markets in tickets are no different from other kinds of secondary market, and serve the same purpose: to correct flaws in the initial primary market. In recent years, new technology has led to the appearance of many ... Continue reading

Debunking a number of myths and straw men which proponents of free markets often find laid at their door

To download a copy to your e-reader, click here. To purchase a copy of Selfishness, Greed and Capitalism, at £12.50 each, click here. For orders of five or more copies, please email [email protected] to discuss discounts. Summary It is often asserted that supporters of a market economy believe that ‘greed is good’. This is simply not true. Economists know that people are ... Continue reading