Think Pieces

The case for single-issue activism

Written by | Thursday 31 May 2012

Classical liberals, libertarians or indeed anyone arguing for a smaller state (I’m going to use ‘Liberals’ as shorthand) have a serious problem. We don’t seem to be very successful at converting the corpus of intellectual work and powerful arguments against interventionism into concrete political success. Whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury, Polly Toynbee or Michael Sandel, to name a few, seem to think we are living in an era of unbridled free markets, any sensible observer can see that this is not the case; state capitalism or corporatism is the status quo.

Review: Keynes Hayek, The clash that defined modern economics

Written by | Tuesday 3 April 2012

The confrontation between John Maynard Keynes, and his Austrian born free market adversary and friend, Friedrich August von Hayek, is one of the most famous in the history of contemporary economic thought.  The debate took place during the Great Depression of the 1930s about the causes and remedies of business cycle downturns in market economies.

A critique of the GAAR Report

Written by | Thursday 15 March 2012


For many years, the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable plans to reduce a UK tax bill has been depicted by tax “avoidance” versus tax “evasion”, the former being acceptable and the latter not.

The global economics of corporate tax cuts

Written by | Wednesday 29 February 2012

Jim Flaherty, Canada’s minister of finance, may well be exasperated.  Speaking of the federal government’s plan for a national corporate tax of 25 per cent, the Minister affirmed that ‘we believe lower taxes create investment and jobs.  I continue to encourage our provincial partners to follow our lead.’  Unfortunately, his counterparts remain to be convinced, with British Columbia and Ontario signalling their intentions to halt the downward tre

The triumph of global capitalism

Written by | Friday 17 February 2012

When she was young, Maria Vargas moved from the countryside in northern Brazil to Sacadura Cabral, a poor suburb (favela) of São Paolo. (Melo, 2002) She worked as a maid and in the textiles industry, but was injured and had to provide for herself and her seven children – one of whom died as a four-year-old – by sewing after the death of her husband.  Maria is only one of the many faces of poverty.

The future of European Monetary Union

Written by | Thursday 2 February 2012

Introduction [1]

Until a couple of years ago, any suggestion that the great experiment of European Monetary Union was in trouble met with a hostile response, but since then the problem has become more obvious and much has been written on it in the daily and weekly press. The 10th anniversary of the introduction of the currency and an apparent period of relative calm seems an excellent opportunity to stand back and look at the broader context. Where are we now, how did we get there and where do we go from here?

Fiscal and economic stability in the eurozone

Written by | Tuesday 31 January 2012

Every day the news is filled with increasingly depressing news about the economy. The recent Autumn Statement (29 November 2011) to the House of Commons by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, confirmed that the cause of a potential “double dip” recession in the British economy lay largely at the doors of the European Union and, in particular, the eurozone. It is easy to understand why some commentators feel that perhaps the European single currency is in its death-throes, and that the European Union itself needs major structural revisions.

Why MigrationWatch is wrong about immigration and unemployment

Written by | Tuesday 10 January 2012

Harold Macmillan was Chancellor of the Exchequer for one year in 1956. Although the budget speech he delivered was a fairly tepid bit of Keynesian tinkering (famous, almost, for introducing Premium Bonds) it did contain some wisdom about the usefulness of economic data:

…some of our statistics are too late to be as useful as they ought to be. We are always, as it were, looking up a train in last year's Bradshaw [train timetable].

Does stimulus cure recession?

Written by | Friday 6 January 2012

"If people won’t spend, the Government must spend in their place" — Christopher Smallwood

Law and order in Kenya: BABS Security Services Ltd

Written by | Monday 19 December 2011

Excerpted from the forthcoming work: “Business, Casual: The Spontaneous Order of the Kenyan Street Trade”


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