If Eurogroup meetings fail, is a Greek default inevitable? – Sam Bowman leans YES in CityAM

Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute Sam Bowman took part in the CityAM debate, arguing that failed Eurogroup meetings would make a Greek default more likely:

No country has pulled back from a peacetime debt-to-GDP ratio as high as Greece’s 175 per cent without defaulting. Its options are to grow out of debt, default unilaterally, or restructure its debt in cooperation with the Eurogroup. With the last of these off the cards, it may push for growth. But the country is in a state of near-perpetual deflation, which means that, even if it did have growth, it would still not be enough to boost its nominal GDP growth to the 4.9 per cent the Eurogroup believes is needed to start paying down its debts. Big supply-side liberalisations seem unlikely under Syriza, and certainly not on the scale necessary to deliver the growth a deflationary Greece would need to change its borrowing trajectory. However, absent debt servicing costs, it is running a budget surplus. If it defaulted, it may not need to worry about borrowing for now. If debt restructuring is truly off the table, a unilateral default may look very tempting.

Read the full debate here.

Is Google’s dominance actually dangerous? – Charlotte Bowyer argues NO in City AM

Head of Digital Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Charlotte Bowyer, argues that Google’s online prominence isn’t something to worry about in the CityAM Forum Debate:

There’s no denying that Google’s empire is vast. But the question is whether the prioritisation of its own services within search is actually bad for consumers. Many rival facilities exist, yet despite heavy investment and the promotion of services like Yahoo’s Bing, EU consumers just aren’t that interested. This suggests that people simply find Google’s search function superior, or enjoy the efficiency of its integrated services. But the way in which we access information and entertainment is evolving. Personal Assistant services like Siri are designed to compete with traditional search, while consumers are increasingly turning “in-app” to services like Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat for news and recommendations. Many once-popular services and tech companies fall out of favour with time. With so many alternatives out there, there’s no reason to assume that Google’s current dominance is anti-competitive, or even guaranteed to continue.

Read the full article here.

Kate Andrews argues against minimum alcohol pricing on BBC The Big Questions

Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, Kate Andrews, appeared on BBC One’s The Big Questions to debate whether drinkers need to ‘pay their way’. She argued that drinkers are already paying their way and that increasing the price of alcohol serves as a regressive tax that hurts the least well-off and contributes to the cost of living crisis.

Watch the full episode here. (Segment on minimum alcohol pricing starts 22:50)

The ASI’s reaction to UKIP’s Manifesto features in City AM

The Adam Smith Institute’s comments on Ukip’s pledge to ban unskilled immigrants from the UK for five years were featured in City AM:

A key pledge made by Nigel Farage as Ukip launched its manifesto, designed to rouse voters at the General Election in May, has been slammed by one think-tank within hours.

Plans to crackdown on immigration by unskilled workers has been described as breaking with “evidence, common sense and moral decency” by the Adam Smith Institute.

Read the full article here.