Who is to blame for the Irish crisis? The question goes to the heart of Ireland's current situation and offers guidance to policymakers in Britain who wish to avoid a similar fate. David Howden argues that the blame lies both with the European Central Bank, which created perverse incentives for investment through low interest rates, and with the Irish investors who reacted to those incentives.
In this article, Václav Klaus argues that because so much political investment has gone into the Euro it will not be abolished, but the price of maintaining it will grow. This price will be borne both directly by eurozone countries but also indirectly by non-eurozone EU countries such as the Czech Republic and Britain.
The history of the welfare state is a record of failing attempts to curb the costs of over optimistic promises made by politicians. This early welfare state was, like today's contributory and compulsory; but its benefits were neither comprehensive or universal. As we can see today the financial balance was well out of tilt. This report lays out a solution to the problems.
Implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 was meant to occur in April 2011, but has been delayed for a second time: is it now just a matter of time before it comes into effect? This think piece argues that the act itself will make Britain uncompetitive, and should be radically overhauled to prevent shifting undue responsibility onto businesses.
In What Went Wrong? An Agenda for the G20, leading financial analyst Miles Saltiel, argues that many common explanations for the economic crisis are wrong, stemming from prejudice rather than evidence. He identifies five key culprits that the G20 should focus on instead: (1) loose monetary policy; (2) hubristic social engineering in housing policy; (3) the failure of the Basel protocols on core capital; (4) banks that were 'too big to fail'; and (5) the effects of oligopoly on auditors and ratings agencies.
Robert CB Miller gives a modern Austrian explanation of the crisis, and argues that tightening the 'loose joint' of bank credit expansion is the key to preventing a repeat in the future. Based on the work of FA Hayek and other Austrian school economists, he says that the recession is a necessary part of the recovery process, as bad investments are liquidated and new profit routes discovered, but government draws out this process by regulating markets and restricting trade.
In this think piece ASI policy director Tom Clougherty outlines his reaction to the Chancellor's pre-budget report of November 2008, arguing that Alistair Darling's so-called 'stimulus package' is really a manifesto for wasteful spending, record levels of government borrowing and public debt, and higher taxes in the long term. He argues Darling should instead have announced a substantial rise in the personal allowance balanced by public spending restraint.
The coalition government’s health proposals are a mixed bag, and much will depend on the final legislation and implementation process. But whatever happens, they will not create a real market in healthcare…
Our response to the Department of Work & Pensions' '21st Century Welfare' consultation argues in favour of radical welfare reform, endorsing the 'universal credit' subsequently adopted by the government. Its authors note that piecemeal reform of the welfare system is unsuited to overcoming its two chief failings – failing to provide a safety net for the needy and creating perverse incentives against work – and instead suggest sweeping away the existing welfare system and introducing a Universal Credit that pays initial benefits at 50% of the median income, and tapers at 55%.
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.