Think Pieces

System-wide studies of the for-profit effect on student test scores

Written by | Friday 9 December 2011

Opponents of the idea that schools should be owned and operated by businesses for profit often claim that such can only come at the expense of quality. Until relatively recently, advocates of the model have had to base their argument on case study evidence, mainly of the performance of proprietorially owned chains. However, system-wide studies are now beginning to emerge and it is worth bringing these to wider attention.

Why private schools have a moral duty not to support government schools

Written by | Wednesday 7 December 2011

According to Anthony Seldon, head of Wellington College, Berkshire, fee-paying private schools have a “moral duty” to help run failing government schools in deprived areas.  However private schools are right to question the wisdom of this approach.

The future of long-term care

Written by | Tuesday 18 October 2011


As the encroachment of government grows larger and larger, so does corruption, greed, and dictatorial behaviour grow likewise. The dumbing down of state education ensures that “we the people” will become less and less knowledgeable about what is a proper role for government.

Democracy and the economy

Written by | Monday 17 October 2011

Most societies have a tension between rich and poor. Many of the ancient Greek city states chose sides in wars and disputes depending on whether they were oligarchies, ruled by the rich, or democracies, which gave citizens the vote, although not women, slaves or resident foreigners.

Do libertarians apologise for autocracy?

Written by | Wednesday 31 August 2011

Michael Lind has a long post on on “Why Libertarians Apologise for Autocracy”. The piece is rather long, and has been getting some attention online. In my view it is a rather bad piece. In this post I want to reply to some of the most important claims that it makes. His post is a little incoherent, so forgive me if my reply doesn’t work well as a standalone piece. I encourage readers to take a look at Lind's piece before reading this.

Are we doomed?

Written by | Friday 5 August 2011

With so much bad news from the financial markets, it is becoming difficult to see the wood for the trees. This is my attempt to identify the main economic problems we face, and to explore their policy implications. 

Problem 1. Sovereign Debt

Liberty and assisted suicide

Written by | Tuesday 2 August 2011

This week the issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia has come up again. In one case a woman in a coma who had signed a living will asking to be taken off her life support. The court has allowed this. In another case, M is not in a Permanent Vegetative State (PVS), but in a Minimally Conscious State (MCS). The dilemma here is that she is conscious and reacts to stimuli to the extent that she cries when listening to music; but she cannot actually communicate.

LulzSec and the open society

Written by | Wednesday 13 July 2011

The first subversive act I can remember carrying out was during the spring of my senior year in high school. At the time, I had signed up for intramural ultimate frisbee – I didn't take to interscholastic sports and never saw the point of spending my weekends being carted off to faraway destinations in a van, just to throw a ball at some people I'd never met before. Everything was going swell until one day, after arriving to practice bare-footed as usual, I was ordered to go back to my room to throw on some shoes.

A thicket of summer grass: the thymotic anger behind the strikes

Written by | Thursday 16 June 2011

Summer is very nearly upon us, and for many it is a happy time of year, one we associate with pleasant memories of carefree youth and halcyon days gone by. I for one remember, as a child, lazy Sundays fishing on the creek that flowed out of the marsh alongside our house; as a teenager, spending hot and breezy afternoons skippering a rickety, thirty-year-old catamaran on Long Island Sound; and, as a law student, flying back to America to watch the Fourth of July fireworks by the water with my family.


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