Basel III requires an increase in the size of banks’ equity relative to their loans and a more formal assessment of risk, says Tim Ambler. Big companies will be able to shop around within the competitive international markets. However, in a situation where five big banks dominate the UK market, Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be hit both by the reduced availability of loans and by higher interest rates. Since SMEs drive the UK economy, the consequence of Basel III is negative for the UK.
Subversion has been subverted, says PJ Byrne. Mass media gives us a sanitized and dumbed-down mélange of culture. LulzSec was so popular precisely because it lacked the solemn pompousness of most "subversives", and it was beholden to nobody. What matters is not our bank balance but our internal liberty to think and act freely.
Are Private Military Contractors (PMCs) the villains of modern warfare? In this extended piece, Anna Moore argues that PMCs can play a vital – and valuable – role in making armies more flexible and streamlined, if properly used by governments. As in so many areas, private contractors can give states better results in key areas of public goods – if governments can avoid the oversight failures that have blighted PMCs' operations so far and strive for competition and transparency.
What drives 750,000 people to the point of ruining everyone else's day by striking? PJ Byrne reflects on the "anger deriving from a wounded sense of self-worth" that drives so many people to strike.
The "public benefit test" is a misguided attempt to force consolidation in the independent education market, argues James Croft.
Income inequality measures don't tell us much about poverty and, as this report argues, can actually mask declines in living standards of the poor. Furthermore, there is no good reason to use country-specific inequality measures as opposed to a global measure; if the latter is used, prioritites for poverty reduction shift dramatically. This report argues against the current fashion for using inequality as a measure of living standards, and argues that it may be hindering efforts to fight poverty.
In this report, five ex-regulators discuss their experiences and reflect on the successes and failures of the regulatory framework that followed the privatizations of the 1980s and 1990s. Regulation expert Tim Ambler concludes by discussing the future of regulation, and outlining the different paths that may be taken to reform the sector.
The government’s failure to stimulate free school supply has major implications for its overall programme of market expansion, argues James Croft.
In this groundbreaking report, James Croft argues that the crisis of school places can only be met by giving true freedom to Free Schools and allowing profit-making schools to operate within the Free Schools programme. In his study of profit-making school outcomes, he shows that schools charging fees on a par with the average state expenditure per pupil equal or exceed the performance of average independent schools. As the report shows, unlocking the power of profit within the Free Schools programme would be a revolution in schooling in England.
Many claims are made about the impact of voting systems on government fiscal policies, but what does the international evidence say? In this think piece, James Paton assesses the impact of coalition government and systems of proportional representation on government fiscal policies in five different countries, and discusses the implication of his findings for the US.