Dr Eamonn Butler

Eamonn Butler is director of the Adam Smith Institute. He is the author of books on the pioneering economists Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Adam Smith, and co-author of Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls and books on intelligence testing. He has degrees in economics, philosophy and psychology, gaining a PhD from the University of St Andrews in 1978.

Mr Cameron's fuzzy electioneering

Written by | Monday 7 January 2013

UK Prime Minister David Cameron MP says that he fully intends to to fight the next election (in 2015) and serve another full term as Prime Minister – meaning that he will be Prime Minister until 2020. But you can't take what any politician says quite literally.

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Don't let newspapers become the lapdogs of the political class

Written by | Friday 30 November 2012

My old friend John Whittingdale MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Media Committee, says that if the press become regulated in the same way that the broadcast media are, our newspapers will turn out just as bland and boring. Mind you, it is interesting no note that even all the regulation that we do have on broadcast media does not stop it messing up big time – I cite the Newsnight Savile and McAlpine fiascos in evidence.

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The unintended consequences of banning price discrimination

Written by | Thursday 15 November 2012

British car insurance advertisements are going to change. Right now they are populated by annoying Welsh opera singers, stick cartoon figures, and meerkats. But all of these are likely soon to be made redundant, replaced perhaps by white kittens with pink bows, giggling babies and sophisticated-looking models with designer handbags. So I predict.

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Michael Heseltine's report: the good, the bad and the unlikely

Written by | Wednesday 31 October 2012

In his report today, former UK Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine makes 89 recommendations aimed at stimulating growth in the regions. Some of them are good. Most of them are bad. And some of them will never happen.

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Heseltine's lessons from the jungle won't help the regions

Written by | Tuesday 30 October 2012

This week the UK former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine will present a report on boosting economic growth in Britain's regions. The fact that the report is 80 pages long and has taken six months to compile is surely evidence that its analysis and conclusions are far too complicated. It is actually pretty obvious what is holding back growth, not just in Britain's regions, but all over.

Lord Heseltine, who as a business minister promised to 'intervene before breakfast, dinner and tea' is expected to propose the following.

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Twenty-two crisis meetings and no solutions

Written by | Friday 19 October 2012

So, 22 crisis summits on since the eurozone crisis erupted, are the problems now solved? Hardly. France was very keen to push towards much deeper economic integration of the eurozone. Germany, which will end up paying for it, wasn't so sure. What we have ended up with is an agreement to create a single eurozone bank regulator, sometime in the summer.

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Don't believe the austerity hype

Written by | Monday 15 October 2012

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has been warned by the International Monetary Fund that he risks further damaging the economy unless he slows the pace of austerity and faces up to Britain's 'growth challenge.

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Cable's business bank is a terrible idea

Written by | Monday 24 September 2012

Business Secretary Vince Cable wants to establish a state business bank to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises. This idea will do business no good, will mess up the finance market, and saddle taxpayers with yet more cost.

There are three reasons why businesses are not borrowing. First, having found themselves overstretched when the crisis hit, they are now doing the right thing and – unlike Mr Cable's government – reducing their debt. The existence of a state business bank is not going to change that.

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Mitchell and the decline in politics

Written by | Saturday 22 September 2012

The new Chief Whip of Britain's Conservative Party, and former Police Minister, Andrew Mitchell MP, had something of an altercation the other day with the police at the gates of Downing Street. The Chief Whip, of course, has an official home in Downing Street, so he probably knows the cops there pretty well. There he was on his bike, trying to leave, but the police wouldn't open the main gate for him.

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A little bit of inflation is still too much

Written by | Wednesday 19 September 2012

Headline inflation in the UK has fallen to 2.5% (from a peak of 5.2% a year ago), so there is great rejoicing. The monetary hawks (such as Liam Halligan) have been proved wrong, we are told – all the Quantitative Easing didn't actually fuel inflation. Meanwhile, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, is relieved that he doesn't have to keep writing to the Chancellor, as the law requires when the inflation target is widely missed.

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