State-run prisons suffer from the familiar problems of other public-sector institutions that face no competition: inadequate supply, poor quality and high cost. All too often, prisons are schools for crime. Many of them suffer from serious problems associated with over-crowding, poor sanitation, violence, drugs and sexual assault. Prison warders have become a powerful vested interest, exerting undue influence over prison policy.
Do we need regulation, rule-books and new codes of practice to keep boardroom executives in check? Corporate-governance specialist Elaine Sternberg says not. The keys to getting on-the-ball, responsible management are competition and shareholder empowerment. Her punchy report takes on the regulationists and shows how to achieve good governance without politics.
Customers must be offered an alternative to the service which has been constantly interrupted by unofficial action, and which now threatens them with a total stoppage, argues Madsen Pirie.
Simon Read's report anticipated much of what Ron Sandler came up with in his official government review of long term savings. Read proposes that products rather than the advice process, should be regulated - as they are in every other market. He argues for a simplified and standard tax structure covering all sorts of savings and investments, and simpler products that will allow charging structures to be simplified and charges reduced.
Around the world - Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands - postal services have been liberalised and the public is getting better services at lower cost. Yet the UK - the pioneer of privatisation in the 1980s still lumbers along with a state-owned post office that is now losing large amounts of money. Ian Senior says it's time for the Post Office to embrace competition, develop new services, and start making money...and he identifies some precise opportunities to that end.
Are conspiracy theories a hallmark of the right? Or, asks Chris Snowdon, do th really big conspiracy theories go hand in hand with a grandiose statism?Read more...
The only booming sector in the UK seems to be the public sector. We've skimmed the Guardian's jobs pages and added up the cost of all those community awareness co-ordinators (30,000 of them each year, at nearly a billion quid in salaries). Our report, by Jonathan Woolham, shows exactly where your hard-earned tax money is going.
Published one year on from the part-nationalizations of Lloyds-HBOS and RBS, this report by John Redwood MP pins the blame for the financial crisis squarely on bad monetary policy from the Bank of England and misguided regulation and inadequate crisis management by the UK government . Redwood attacks the notion that the UK economy was well run in the period leading up to the crisis, and that its problems were imported from the US, making clear that while Britain's crisis may have had much in common with America's, it was in fact very much home grown. In addition to analyzing the financial crisis and its causes, Redwood also makes a series of recommendations for the future of the banking sector, as well the broader economic policies of the next government.
In this think piece, Terry Arthur explains why the Left and the Right are both wrong about crime and punishment. As he puts it, "All three of the main parties remain incorrigibly statist, and at this rate, almost any action will soon be classed as either banned or compulsory."