Dr Madsen Pirie in reply to the Archbishop of Canterbury, sets out that Capitalism has lifted more people from poverty and hunger than any other force in history, including religion.
With so much bad news coming from the financial markets, it is becoming difficult to see the wood for the trees. In this think piece, ASI executive director Tom Clougherty identifies the main problems we face, explores their policy implications, and examines the bigger economic picture.
Around the World in 80 Ideas is just that - 80 policy ideas from many different countries, which have replaced state ownership and control with choice, competition, freedom and innovation. The whole world is represented - from the commercialization of the Coffee Board in Ghana, to the private use of government-owned land in China; from airline deregulation in the United States to private maths education in Japan; from contracting-out the management of government buildings in Britain to economic reforms in Estonia. And these good ideas cover all aspects of government and the economy, from welfare, through utility reform and transport, to economic policy, health and education.
In many countries the arts have been effectively nationalized. In the United Kingdom, for example, not one of the national opera, ballet or theatre companies turns a profit: they survive on taxpayer subsidies. Regional companies are even more dependent on handouts. On the continent of Europe, opera and ballet is even more reliant on state subsidy.
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.
Sale of the government's racehorse betting monopoly - the TOTE - cheap to a panel of racing interests would be a lucky windfall to wealthy owners but daylight robbery for the taxpayers who are supposed to own it, says Keith Boyfield. This ASI report led to a European Commission decision to block the government's cosy deal with the racing industry.
Austrian School economists gave us the ideas of marginal utility, opportunity cost, and the importance of time and ignorance in shaping human choices and the markets, prices and production systems that stem from them. 'Austrian' economics has revolutionised our understanding of what money is, why economic booms invariably turn to damaging busts, why government intervention in the economy is a mistake, the importance of time and information in economic decision-making, the crucial role of entrepreneurship, and how much economic policy is just plain wrong. Eamonn Butler explains these ideas in straightforward, non-technical language, making this Primer the ideal introduction for anyone who wants to understand the key insights of the Austrian School and their relevance and importance to our economic situation today. Now updated with an additional chapter on Contemporary Austrian thinking.
In this response to the Vickers report, financial experts Tim Ambler and Miles Saltiel argue that the report's findings fail to address the root causes of the financial crisis and would create another layer of bureaucracy. Instead, the government should allow the creation of new "Trust Banks" that would be safely run, reduce arguments for protection of riskier banks, and introduce new competition to the high street.
Free market theories have been under scrutiny lately, many believe it is what caused the credit crunch and thus, the recession. However, Dr Eamonn Butler, underlines that this is not the case and that the free market thinkers will not go down with out a fight.