Economic Theory
There is an old and often very useful adage that “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” But that hasn’t stopped some people from arguing that the next government can ramp up spending without worrying about where the money will come from, because the additional spending will somehow pay for ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
A large number of MPs seem to believe that net inflows of 330,000 people per year into Britain are “too high”. What, then, is the optimal annual number of net migrants? Up until recently, the Conservatives said “tens of thousands” should be the aim. What’s not entirely clear is why they felt they had the ... Continue reading
Housing and Planning
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has recently published the paper ‘How to repair the housing market quickly – A crisis response’, which makes the case for a (re-)introduction of rent controls. It includes a Survation poll which shows that there is indeed overwhelming popular support for such a policy: Only 6.6% of the public are ... Continue reading
A question, readers. Who said “spending and borrowing our way out of a recession, over and above the levels that are implied by the automatic stabilisers… will not work and is not sustainable”? Clue: he’s now Chancellor of the Exchequer. Philip Hammond once believed that Keynesian demand management was a fool’s errand. Just two weeks into his ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
In welfare states, the economic benefits from immigration may be eroded by the additional costs of government handouts and public services. This problem has been particularly evident with some refugee populations. For example, according to one estimate, just one in ten working-age Somalis in the UK is in full-time employment, while the vast majority are ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
Remember April 2015? The tail end of the coalition government seems a long time ago. The bien-pensants now have a majority Conservative government and Brexit to get in a tizzy about, but before we forget the era of Clegg and Cameron it is worth casting our minds back to the day before yesterday when 'austerity' ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
In the run-up to the EU referendum, a number of the most high-profile companies, institutes and departments went out on a limb to claim that the economics profession was almost completely united in opposing Brexit. Following the vote to Leave, Paul Johnson of the IFS has written an introspective piece on what the economics profession ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Anyone who has what might be called an instinct for freedom is likely to baulk at being dictated to by experts. A fundamental liberal principle is that individuals should have the autonomy to make their own decisions about how to run their own lives. This insight goes back at least to the eighteenth century. Immanuel ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality

On 12 May, Together for the Common Good hosted a debate between Prof Philip Booth and Maurice Glasman at St. Michael’s Cornhill. The article below is based on Prof Booth’s presentation. The question that I have been asked to answer is whether we can build the common good – or the conditions that promote human ... Continue reading

I’ve got an idea for an alternative history novel, an alternate timeline in which the fall of the Berlin Wall never happens. (It’s been done before, but, I’d argue, not that well.) The alternative-historical backdrop I have in mind looks, roughly, like this: East Germany, spring 1989. The socialist regime is finding it increasingly difficult ... Continue reading