Governments have completely mishandled risk issues such as BSE, GM foods and mobile telephones. People's reactions to risk depends on their own view of it, not on anything they hear from the government. Trying to make people avoid risk - by wearing seatbelts, for example - can easily backfire as people seek new ways to get back to their normal risk levels.
Globalization and the Internet will discriminate against high tax and high spending governments, so believers in state power are now turning to international government to impose international controls. The choice is between the American model that creates a million new jobs a year, and the high tax, high unemployment model of the continent. Britain should set low, simple, transparent taxes and low regulation, which are the conditions that reward success and encourage investment and risk-taking. Britain should embrace globalization and all that it offers, instead of retreating into protectionism.
This analysis suggests that official economic statistics systematically understate increases in living standards. It makes the case that many statistics, including Gross Domestic Product (GDP), might have been appropriate to the age of mass production, but fail to reflect accurately the new economy which is being created by the application of information technology.
Inflexible friend examines the likely impact of the governments IR35 proposals to force many self - employed contractors into the tax net of full time employment. Professor Burton points out that all of today's advanced economies are primarily service based. Britain, being no exception to this, is placing future economic success in jeopardy with these proposals, possibly resulting in "the virtual emasculation of the self employment sector of the UK economy".
Excise duties on alcohol should be lowered and those on spirits should be cut most of all says St Andrews economist Dr Paul Haines. The report examines and challenges Treasury assumptions concerning the way in which consumption of alcohol reacts to price changes. Alcohol consumption doesn't rise indefinitely with increases in prosperity, and attempts to curb alcohol consumption by increases in excise duties will probably fail. Not only that but further increases only lead to an increase in smuggling. The recent rises relate to losses in the Treasury revenue whereas a freeze or reduction to more revenue. Dr Haines proposes a duty of £10 per litre of pure alcohol, an abolishment of the duty and VAT on Commonwealth importation of alcohol. We should have lower duties and equal duties.
Bus services would be more efficient if local transport officials, who seem bent on reversing the deregulation of the last decade, just got out of the way and let private bus companies manage things more freely, an international expert on transport argues. A government so committed to competition should reject highly regulated European-style 'franchise' systems that prevail in London, the report maintains.
This detailed report from the institutes trafficflow project team explores the equipment and policy requirements to make congestion charging work in major cities. How much does congestion cost? Why must a charging scheme be electronic rather than paper based? How can the technology be made affordable? How much importance should be given to simplicity, flexibility, public opinion, privacy and bolt on services that make life better for road users?
This paper examines the Labour government's record on individual freedom in their first 500 days in office.
Peter Reeve, himself an experienced lawyer, says that the whole process for selecting and appointing the UK's top barristers -- Queen's Counsel -- is both antiquated and against the public interest. The legal profession is one of the country's poshest but most effective trade unions, and its top echelons have proved skilled and successful at protecting their restrictive practices through the assaults of various governments. But their monopoly restricts the numbers of those with access to this spurious qualification, and in effect sets up a pricing ring that raises the costs of the court system and prices many people out of access to justice.
"In an ideal economy, government would decide if it wished to encourage saving, the extent to which it wished to do so, and the measures most likely to bring positive results." No Limit explores our attitude to saving, arguing that "Tax concessions which encourage saving have not been planned as part of a systematic and rational approach."