Alternative EU Constitution

John Hopkins won the Institute's £1000 prize for the best draft EU Constitution under 3000 words in length. The contest was inspired by widespread and growing concern that both the original rejected constitution and the new draft treaty are far too long and complex to be comprehensible to the citizens of EU member states. The new draft Treaty (English version) is 67,000 words long. The US Constitution, by contrast, is just 7,700 words long.

 

The Right to Choose: Yes, Prime Minister!

Sweden has been operating a choice-based school funding system since the early 1990s, with great success.

To promote this right to choose in the UK, three proposals are recommended: (1) parents should be entitled to remove their children from failing schools and choose any other school instead; (2) public finance would be available to all schools on the basis of the number of students they could attract; and (3) a non-refundable tax credit to provide parents with a pound-for-pound reductions in their income tax liability (up to an agreed limit) for each child they have in non-state education.

 

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EUtopia

Britain must get off the back foot in EU negotiations and positively advance its own vision of what the EU should be like. While other countries vigorously promote federalism, Britain is reduced to being a permanent critic - the Grumpy Old Man of Europe. Instead Britain should be linking with other countries to advance its vision of a common market, open trade, cost-consciousness, better decision-making, and deregulation. These goals would be as good for the whole of Europe as they would be for Britain. Instead of a fruitless debate about pulling out of the EU, we should be striving to end protectionism and make it a paragon of open markets, free trade, and efficient administration.

 

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Road Map to Reform: Deregulation

"Over-regulation depresses corporate profits, consumes valuable management time and saps entrepreneurial morale," say the authors. "It makes the UK less attractive to investors and destroys the wealth creation on which the whole of government depends."

There are three big sources of red tape - the EU, Whitehell, and the regulatory offices like Ofcom and Ofwat. For each one, we need to make sure that fewer new regulations are created, that existing ones are rationalized, and that enforcement does not become over-zealous.

 

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What EU would be best and how do we achieve it?

The crucial EU issue for the UK is not whether to leave or stay in the Union, but what Britain can do to achieve the EU it most wants. Threats to leave are counter-productive and reinforce an image of Britain as a grumpy old man best left alone and placated only when essential. Success will require a positive approach and cordial relations with those other member states likely to share those particular goals. Grandiloquent claims of British 'leadership' are equally unhelpful. The UK needs a strategic plan, to which this report is intended to contribute, and rather more effective diplomacy.  

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Road Map to Reform: Health

In this report, part of the ASI's influential Road Map series, the authors seek to retain what is best about the NHS, in particular the fairness that it represents. The report is based on the principle that everyone should have high-quality healthcare free at the point of use, and assumes that most healthcare will continue to be funded through taxation. Nonetheless the authors also propose to unleash the power of enterprise and innovation in how healthcare is actually provided. This requires breaking through the ideological barricades - a public-private mixture is really the only way forward.

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Globalization and Inflation

The effects of globalization on inflation are complicated and substantial research on this topic has been lacking, producing a level of uncertainty. This paper hopes to address four key aspects of the issue: how globalization is affecting prices, wages, asset prices and the overall implications for monetary policy. While in the long–run globalization tends to have a null effect on inflation as imbalances like wage–expectations and price arbitrage are corrected, in the short–run, the impact is more uncertain.

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The Critic of Exploitation: Adam Smith

For today's critics selfishness has been replaced by reference to greed and if that is not sufficiently colourful - "crass greed". "Greed is good" is even said to be the creed of the proponents of free markets and in today's universal media distribution this has gained widespread currency. Such negative perceptions of the market economy have the potential to undermine its moral foundations and therefore its general acceptance. However, Adam Smith outlines a free market economy does not depend on greed; indeed, Smith's central notion of self-interest is quite different to greed.

 

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Rewiring Democracy

The UK's e-government strategy is fragmented and producer driven, says Andrew Lomas, and will never deliver its full benefits to the public. By contract, tiny Estonia has re-thought its government systems around the new technology – resulting in much higher online access to government and greater public satisfaction. 

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No Way to Run a Railway

Rail's woes are due to bureaucracy, not privatization. It's time for the government to release the railway from its overburdening grip. A grip entrenched in regulation that has far too many officials, or any proper functionality. Iain Murray, the author, says that for the railways to work, "the train operation companies must be given more control, and have a major say in how station and track improvements are managed. This will lead to more customer-driven investment decisions," he insists, "providing in turn much more of what train users actually want."

 

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