A Disorderly House: UK Excise Duties on Alcohol and Tobacco

In this paper, Barry Bracewell-Milnes argues that excise duty on alcohol and tobacco in the UK are high compared to international standards, and that whilst developing nations may experience public sector financing gains from applying excise duties to these goods, developed nations can only achieve gains from applying these duties to motoring. He advocates the reduction of these duties.  

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Exorcising Inflation

From an economic point of view the history of the world since 1939 might  be described as 'The Age of Inflation'. In several countries, especially those devastated by war and in South America, currencies have become practically worthless. Most other countries have experienced steadily rising prices. In the United Kingdom, where the phrases 'As good as gold' or 'As safe as the Bank of England' originated, prices have been rising continuously since 1939, and the pound sterling in 1993 is worth about one twenty fifth (or 4 per cent) of its 1939 value. Clearly, during this period money has totally failed to fulfil one of its three essential functions -- acting as a store of wealth -- and it has served most unsatisfactorily as a unit of account and a medium of exchange. Is inflation inevitable?

However, two things might be said about this world-wife inflation. First, there is the suggestion that it does not matter, or indeed that it actually stimulated economic activity, because for the period 1945-1970 the world experienced a period of unprecedented full employment and prosperity. And second, because all those under the age of 54 have lived with inflation throughout their lives, it might be said that inflation is inevitable; that the achievement of stable prices is a utopian fantasy and therefore not worth serious consideration.

Much of this Paper is devoted to refuting the first argument -- that inflation is usually beneficial to economic growth. But it is also necessary to destroy the fallacious notion that inflation is inevitable.

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Europe at Risk

Instead of enhancing European unity and furthering prosperity, such [paternalistic] policies will, if left unchecked, inevitably foster political conflict and a dependency culture. By failing to endorse the dynamic vision of a truly trans-national free market system and withdraw from the dangerous consequences of social engineering and economic centralisation, the EC is acing like an old-fashioned and isolated nation state. Instead of promoting development, it is increasingly being perceived by its citizens as an obstacle to wealth creation, personal freedom, and the basic principles upon which an open society is built. Following years of misuse by anti-competitive vested interests and bureaucratic empire builders, the Brussels' bureaucracy  has grown to such an extent it is, today, placing the European ideal in danger.

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The Consultant's Report on the Church of England

Is a common morality necessary for the proper functioning of a market, or is religious freedom an undeniable facet of overall freedom in a liberal society? This paper explores those questions and comes to the conclusion that the implementation of market strategies for the Church of England will more successfully promote itself and recruit members, rather than withering within its shelf of state protection, while promoting the freedom of choice that accompanies open markets. In a classic liberal idea, the church will have more importance and influcence if chosen on the market rather than forced by the state.

A Disorderly House

This paper examines the place of excise duties on alcohol within the British fiscal system. It argues that United Kingdom taxes are by international standards heavy on beer, even heavier on wine and very heavy on spirits. These duties on alcohol are the result of historical accident and political pressures and have little or no economic rationale.

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Exorcising Inflation

Governments should aim for zero inflation, since even moderate inflation leads to higher interest rates, business failures and ultimately higher unemployment. 5 years before the Bank of England were granted nominal independence  Charles Hanson called for monetary policy to be given over to them, as successfully demonstrated by New Zealand.

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Wood for the Trees

The privatization of the Forestry Commission and the reasons why are looked into by Douglas Mason. He looks closely at the history of the Forestry Commission and the reasons as to why they have failed in all areas to make state owned forestry viable. He highlights one area, visitors to the forests, as the only one if run properly by the State that could be profitable, though the need for change exists. Douglas Mason also looks at how the privatization could be pushed through and how best to protect the forests under the private sector.

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Judgement Day

Our courts our slow, outdated, and costly. Adam Thierer shows how people in the US have abandoned them for private arbitration: and how the state and federal courts have had to accommodate this change. A model for modernising the court service in the United Kingdom and elsewhere?

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