In An international development policy that works: Why the Conservative Party should rethink its commitment to development aid Sam Bowman argues that the UK Conservatives have failed to propose the radical policy overhaul needed to make the Department for International Development (DFID) an effective body. He suggests scrapping the pledge to spend 0.7% of national GDP on international development aid each year, and focusing instead on private donations, economic migration and unilateral tariff reduction.
This think piece by ASI fellow Tim Worstall critically examines the National Equality Panel's 'Hills Report', with particular emphasis on its treatment of wealth inequality and the gender pay gap. He argues that not only have the report's authors directly ignored Office of National Statistics guidelines on how to measure the gender pay gap, but that they have also hugely overstated income and wealth inequality in the UK by failing to take account of the effects of the welfare state.
According to this briefing paper, proposals to introduce a new ‘bank levy’ would do little to correct the problems in the banking sector, and act as a distraction from other, more pressing reforms. Politicians ought to reject populist calls for new taxes and punitive regulation and instead focus on a few key issues: breaking up the nationalized banks; ensuring greater transparency and more honest accounting; requiring tougher capital and liquidity ratios; mandating living wills so banks can be run down in an orderly fashion; and moving derivative contracts onto regulated exchanges.
Government support for the arts is currently provided as a subsidy to producers. This system suffers from four major problems: it relies on an expensive bureaucracy; it distributes subsidies unequally between regions and income groups; it distorts producers’ incentives through corruption, politicisation and arbitrary criteria; and it reduces competition, innovation and efficiency. This paper proposes a new system for arts funding: consumer-side subsidies delivered as vouchers to all citizens, which would alleviate the four problems outlined above, and better fulfil the central objectives of art funding.
In The Broken University, education expert James Stanfield examines what is seen and what is not seen in the UK higher education sector. In contrast to the conventional wisdom, he finds no compelling evidence to suggest that public subsidies to higher education have any economic benefit. Moreover, Stanfield convincingly argues that once its hidden costs and unintended consequences are taken into account, government intervention in higher education is doing far more harm than good, and is holding back the development of one of the UK’s most important service sectors.
NIkhil Arora argues that we need to radically reform that state pension, moving from the current pay-as-you-go model (a Madoff-style ponzi scheme) to a funded system based on personal pension accounts. Basing his proposals on a plan developed for the American Social Security system by the Cato Institute, Arora suggests allowing people to divert their employee National Insurance Contributions into private accounts (surrending their right to a state pension in the process), while employer National Insurance Contributions continue to be paid in order to finance the state pensions of current retirees.
A new tax on financial transactions is the wrong way to help the world's poor, argues Madsen Pirie.
ASI Fellow Eben Wilson examines the future of the UK postal service, arguing that price controls and regulation has taken a heavy toll on the Royal Mail, preventing innovation, stopping them from matching revenue to costs, and letting the organisation be captured by special interest groups. In this context, a free market approach built around privatization, deregulation and competition is the only rational way forward.
This short book is an accessible introduction to liberty – one of the key concepts of political and economic thought. It explains why liberty is so important and sets out in clear language the benefits of freeing individuals from big government. The guide consists of ten concise chapters, each focusing on a particular aspect of liberty and written by an expert in the field. The authors show why liberty is essential if people are to lead prosperous and fulfilling lives, and also point to the terrible consequences when politicians and officials get too much power. At a time when our freedom is threatened by a rising tide of government controls, A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty is essential reading.