Chris Snowdon

Christopher Snowdon is a fellow of the Adam Smith Institute and an independent writer and researcher. He is the author of The Art of Suppression (2011), The Spirit Level Delusion (2010) and Velvet Glove, Iron Fist (2009). His work focuses on pleasure, prohibition and dodgy statistics. His blog is Velvet Glove, Iron Fist.

Some fallacies are more equal than others

Written by | Friday 6 January 2012

One of the central arguments of The Spirit Level - the Bible of self-styled “egalitarians” - is that income inequality erodes trust and social cohesion. This lack of social capital is blamed for a host of societal problems, including a reluctance to help others. The book’s authors, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, say that “individuals who trust other people are more likely to give to charity”. This may be true, but unfortunately for their argument, the empirical evidence shows that people in ‘more equal’ countries do not give more to charity.

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Laffer curve sighted in Ireland

Written by | Tuesday 20 December 2011

Earlier this year, Ireland’s Office of Revenue Commissioners made a shock discovery, albeit one which sounds slightly dull when put in the language of economics. They found that the price elasticity of cigarettes in Ireland is -3.6, which is to say that a 10% increase in price reduces sales by 36%.

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Holland gives smokers a break

Written by | Friday 9 December 2011

The current issue of the British Medical Journal carries an angst-ridden letter titled ‘Can the Dutch Government really be abandoning smokers to their fate?’ Since June 2010, the largest party in the Dutch parliament has been the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy which, as its name implies, is anathema to the public health establishment. Last year, it relaxed the Dutch smoking ban after a grass-roots campaign led by small bar owners.

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