You would hope that politicians – current or prospective – would rank improving the lives of their fellow citizens as one of their top priorities. Their approaches and methods would probably be different, with some viewing individual liberty as paramount and others willing to sacrifice certain freedoms for better health outcomes. Both of these groups ... Continue reading
It’s easy to dismiss ‘nanny state’ regulation as a minor nuisance but the underlying paternalism of those who wish to regulate our lifestyles raises fundamental questions about the limits of government intervention. It is an issue about which social liberals and market liberals should be united in opposition. Economists take it as a given that ... Continue reading
Healthcare
When the NHS was created in 1948, Aneurin Bevan believed that healthcare spending would fall as the population became healthier. In the years since, infectious diseases have been virtually eradicated, diets have improved, smoking rates have plummeted, and life expectancy has risen from 68 years to 81 years. And yet healthcare spending has manifestly not ... Continue reading
Lifestyle Economics
Sin and consumption taxes, including taxes on tobacco and alcohol, cost low income people more than 37% of their income (as opposed to only 15% for richer Britons). Cutting these taxes can have significant benefits to the economy and lower the disproportionate burden on low income Britons. ieaTV explores the effect of sin taxes in ... Continue reading
This morning I was on the radio discussing electronic cigarettes in response to a headteacher banning their use at Blatchington Mill School, East Sussex (listen from 12 minutes in). The school has every right to make its own rules, of course, and it is as appropriate for a teacher to ban e-cigarettes in the class ... Continue reading
The Australian government recently decided to homogenise tobacco products by forcing them into uniform packaging. A key question is whether ‘public health’ provides sufficient grounds for governments effectively to expropriate internationally recognised trademarks. The importance of allowing branding in a free market (and therefore a free society) should not be underestimated. In particular, branding enables ... Continue reading