Two weeks ago, Tim Gurner, an Australian property developer, caused a wave of social media outrage. Gurner had suggested that the reason why so many young people cannot afford to buy a home is that they spend too much money on fancy stuff – he specifically mentioned ‘smashed avocado’ and ‘four coffees’ – rather than ... Continue reading
Continued from Part 1.   Let me suggest that what Marx was objecting to – revolting against – was human nature and the existence of scarcity. Man can never escape from or get outside of being an individual “ego.” We exist as individual human beings; we think, remember, imagine, choose, and act as distinct and ... Continue reading
Gross Domestic Product pops up everywhere in the news. In the summer of 2016, for example, the news that Ireland’s GDP had increased by 26.3 per cent in 2015 had people scratching their heads. Last September’s issue of The Economist raised the perennial question of whether GDP figures released by the Chinese government are reliable. ... Continue reading
First published in the Netherlands in 2014 and now republished in English with a retina-burning, bright orange jacket, Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists has become an international bestseller thanks to three big ideas: open borders, a basic income and a shorter working week. At least two of these proposals have been of longstanding interest to ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
My track record on Brexit-related predictions has so far been abysmal. I got it wrong at every turn. For a start, I was sure that voter turnout would be low. I thought that after an initial campaign hype, most people would conclude that leaving the EU would be neither the end of the world, nor ... Continue reading
As Chancellor Philip Hammond and US President Donald Trump begin work on their respective budgets, speculation is rife about changes to spending plans and taxes. Will there be significant infrastructure investment? How fast will government spending be cut, if at all? Underpinning all these decisions lies a modelling assumption with arguably much more significance than ... Continue reading
Justine Greening, the women and equalities minister, is being criticised because she has rejected most of the 17 recommendations of the Women and Equalities Select Committee for ‘addressing the structural reasons why women are paid 18 per cent less than men’. We should perhaps take issue with this much-touted figure for starters: the Women and ... Continue reading
By and large, free-marketeers understand where their opponents are coming from. We understand what explicit or implicit assumptions they make about the world, and why a lot of their conclusions make sense under those assumptions. Most of us could pass an ‘ideological Turing test’, such as attending a Momentum gathering and pretending to be a ... Continue reading
This week, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed that university applications have fallen by 5% for the first time since fees were raised to £9000 per year in 2012. In our most recent ieaTV interview, IEA author Peter Ainsworth finds this fall to be notable, arguing that it’s not hard to see why ... Continue reading
Continued from Part 2.   Sir Robert Peel and the End to the Corn Laws In 1841, Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) became prime minister for the Tory Party, determined to maintain the Corn Laws as a cornerstone of British foreign economic policy. But through one of those ironies of history, the man appointed to lead ... Continue reading